Hani takes on Sisulu

Chris Hani’s widow Lim­pho wants Lindiwe Sisulu to apol­o­gise for say­ing that her hus­band was ex­pelled for a mis­de­meanour

CityPress - - News - SETUMO STONE setumo.stone@city­press.co.za

Lim­pho Hani has ac­cused ANC pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Lindiwe Sisulu of ly­ing about her slain hus­band’s ex­pul­sion from the ANC. “Peo­ple should not lie about the dead be­cause they are not here to speak for them­selves,” a tear­ful Hani told City Press this week.

The two women are cor­re­spond­ing with one an­other through their lawyers. Hani wants a writ­ten apol­ogy, fail­ing which she will con­sider le­gal ac­tion.

Sisulu has de­nied that her state­ment was false.

In an in­ter­view with City Press in July, Sisulu said: “Chris Hani was ex­pelled from the ANC and, af­ter a while, af­ter the party felt that he had suf­fi­ciently atoned for his mis­de­meanour, he was brought back”.

The SA Com­mu­nist Party leader’s widow is ag­grieved be­cause Sisulu’s re­marks are “un­truth­ful and false”.

Hani “never com­mit­ted and/or was found guilty of any of­fence of mis­de­meanour by the ANC and/or any other fo­rum”.

She said she had pre­vi­ously had to cor­rect a sim­i­lar mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Hani’s legacy, made in a play per­formed at The Mar­ket the­atre.

Hani wrote to Sisulu through her lawyers Mo­rathi & Mataka At­tor­neys on July 25, giv­ing her 14 days to re­tract her re­mark.

“Fur­ther that an apol­ogy to Lim­pho Hani be made in the same newspaper as the re­trac­tion.”

On Au­gust 1, Sisulu’s lawyers, Har­ris Nu­pen Mole­batsi At­tor­neys, promised to pri­ori­tise the mat­ter and asked Sisulu for fur­ther in­struc­tions.

On Au­gust 28, Sisulu’s lawyers replied that she de­nied her state­ment was “un­truth­ful and false”. She had con­sid­ered Chris Hani a close fam­ily friend and men­tor, and held him in high re­gard. She had only the great­est re­spect for the fam­ily and Chris Hani’s ex­tra­or­di­nary legacy, she said.

“It ap­pears from your let­ter that our client’s state­ment was taken out of con­text as the state­ment was sim­ply in­tended to high­light his com­mit­ment to­wards build­ing a cul­ture of in­ter­nal crit­i­cism in the ANC and not de­fame his legacy,” Sisulu’s lawyers told Hani.

Sisulu sat for the in­ter­view at OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port. A few hours ear­lier, she was at Wal­ter Sisulu Square in Klip­town to an­nounce her cam­paign to be­come the next ANC pres­i­dent at the party’s elec­tive con­fer­ence in De­cem­ber.

“To put our client’s state­ment into con­text, it is com­mon his­tor­i­cal knowl­edge that on or about 1969, Chris Hani and six other com­mis­sars and com­man­ders of Umkhonto weSizwe, the ANC’s mil­i­tary wing, signed what be­came known as the Hani Mem­o­ran­dum,” Sisulu’s lawyers wrote.

“The doc­u­ment crit­i­cised the lead­er­ship of the ANC [and], as a re­sult of the pub­li­ca­tion of this mem­o­ran­dum, Chris Hani was ex­pelled from the ANC, but was later re­in­stated af­ter the Moro­goro Con­fer­ence.”

This took place in Tan­za­nia from April 25 to May 1 1969 to dis­cuss the state of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“Chris Hani was in fact ex­pelled from the ANC as a re­sult of the pub­li­ca­tion of the Hani Mem­o­ran­dum.”

Her state­ment was “true and not defam­a­tory of Chris Hani’s legacy”. Sisulu said that, as a close Hani fam­ily friend, she was “taken aback that this mat­ter was not di­rectly raised with her”. She of­fered to meet Hani.

In fol­low-up cor­re­spon­dence dated Au­gust 29, Hani said she wel­comed the ges­ture, but did not “ap­pre­ci­ate the ne­ces­sity of the said meet­ing, when a sim­ple but writ­ten apol­ogy can be for­warded”.

She con­firmed the ex­is­tence of the Hani Mem­o­ran­dum. Pub­lished in early 1969, Hani and his col­leagues com­plain in the doc­u­ment that it was un­fair for the chil­dren of se­nior ANC lead­ers to be taken to good schools in Europe, while oth­ers were left to face bul­lets in the strug­gle against apartheid.

Sisulu is the daugh­ter of late ANC icon Wal­ter Sisulu. Hani noted that Sisulu did not deny mak­ing the re­mark and gave her un­til Septem­ber 5 to ad­here to her de­mand or face “sum­mons with­out no­tice”. Sisulu re­sponded that she had not made any ad­mis­sion about the ac­cu­racy of the City Press ar­ti­cle.

She said it was un­clear why Hani spoke of an “of­fence of mis­de­meanour” as the ar­ti­cle made no ref­er­ence to the ANC or any fo­rum find­ing Chris Hani guilty of wrong­do­ing.

Sisulu’s lawyers said they would take in­struc­tions on the re­quest for an apol­ogy.

Har­ris Nu­pen Mole­batsi said it was un­help­ful to con­tinue to set dead­lines for Sisulu, who, as min­is­ter of hu­man set­tle­ments, is “ex­traor­di­nar­ily busy”.

“As such, her avail­abil­ity to con­sult and to pro­vide in­struc­tions on these is­sues is lim­ited.”

The lawyers said Hani’s tone was com­bat­ive and in com­plete dis­re­gard of Sisulu’s “con­cil­ia­tory ap­proach”.

This week, Mo­rathi & Mataka At­tor­neys wrote to City Press seek­ing to con­firm the quote in the July story. City Press stands by the story.

PHOTO: THEANA BREUGEM

Lim­pho Hani

PHOTO: TEBOGO LETSIE

Lindiwe Sisulu

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