WINNIE’S RIFT FU­NERAL

Her fam­ily was against an ANC speaker, but let Fik­ile Mbalula give a speech. He said he was rep­re­sent­ing the ‘young lions’, much to the ANCYL’s dis­plea­sure

CityPress - - Front Page - S’THEM­BILE CELE and HLENGIWE NHLABATHI news@city­press.co.za

The ANC had to fight for space on the pro­gramme of Winnie Madik­izela-Man­dela’s fu­neral, which be­came a plat­form to shame the party for turn­ing its back on her.

City Press un­der­stands that the Madik­ize­la­Man­dela fam­ily was op­posed to ANC speak­ers and made an eleventh-hour com­pro­mise to give space to the gov­ern­ing party, the po­lit­i­cal home of the late stal­wart and MP.

ANC in­sid­ers de­scribed a “clear rift” be­tween the party and the Madik­izela-Man­dela fam­ily.

Ac­cord­ing to the pro­gramme is­sued on Fri­day evening, former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) pres­i­dent and cur­rent ANC elec­tions head Fik­ile Mbalula was the des­ig­nated speaker for the party. How­ever, dur­ing his ad­dress, Mbalula said he was speak­ing on be­half of the “young lions”.

This an­gered both cur­rent and former youth league lead­ers, who ques­tioned why he was made their spokesper­son.

Shortly af­ter Mbalula spoke, ANC chair­per­son Gwede Man­tashe gave a sur­prise ad­dress to mourn­ers at Or­lando Sta­dium yes­ter­day. Man­tashe em­pha­sised that a fu­neral was an oc­ca­sion to mourn, not to air dif­fer­ences.

City Press un­der­stands that Man­tashe’s con­tri­bu­tion was the re­sult of last minute, be­hind the scenes ne­go­ti­a­tions al­legedly spear­headed by the Madik­izela-Man­dela’s grand­son Zondwa Man­dela.

In­sid­ers said the ANC ve­he­mently ob­jected to what was to be the com­plete re­moval of the or­gan­i­sa­tion from the pro­gramme yes­ter­day morn­ing.

ANCYL trea­surer-gen­eral Reg­gie Nk­abinde has come out swing­ing against the sidelin­ing of the league’s cur­rent lead­er­ship in favour of Mbalula. He said the ANCYL’s cur­rent dis­mal state was the re­sult of the in­ter­fer­ence of the mother body.

“What the ANC did to­day, I re­gard it as the high­est form of dis­re­spect to the sit­ting lead­er­ship,” Nk­abinde told City Press. “The ANC must take the re­spon­si­bil­ity of what is hap­pen­ing in the youth league. This is the kind of prod­uct that the league will al­ways pro­duce if el­ders con­tinue to sit around the ta­ble and dic­tate who should lead the ANCYL. To­day we are a joke in so­ci­ety be­cause of the very same ANC lead­ers who de­ter­mined who should lead this or­gan­i­sa­tion,” Nk­abinde said. He was re­fer­ring to the league’s last con­fer­ence, at which lit­tle-known Collen Maine was elected its pres­i­dent.

Maine this week praised Madik­izela-Man­dela for re­sist­ing “cap­ture” by the Gupta fam­ily. He ad­mit­ted that North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo had taken him to see the wealthy In­dian busi­ness fam­ily.

ANC spokesper­son Pule Mabe in­sisted they forged a united front with the Madik­izela-Man­dela fam­ily.

“A united front was con­sis­tently main­tained by all. We would like to thank the peo­ple of Soweto for wel­com­ing both lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional guests who vis­ited mama’s home to con­vey their words of con­do­lences. This had been a dif­fi­cult mourn­ing pe­riod be­cause of Mama Winnie’s hu­mane per­son­al­ity, whom we have to come de­clare as the Mother of the Na­tion,” said Mabe.

He said they had done all they could to en­sure that ANC struc­tures tasked with at­tend­ing to fu­neral lo­gis­tics did their best to en­sure the event went off with­out a hitch.

Man­dela fam­ily spokesper­son Vic­tor Dlamini would not re­spond to any of the ques­tions City Press posed. He said changes to the pro­gramme were im­ma­te­rial and he was not in­ter­ested in the al­leged rift. He did not speak for the ANC, he said.

Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers’ leader and former ANCYL pres­i­dent Julius Malema, who was close to Madik­izela-Man­dela, was piv­otal to the plan­ning of yes­ter­day’s event. In­sid­ers said he played an im­por­tant role in the fi­nal de­ci­sion mak­ing, along with Madik­izela-Man­dela’s daugh­ters Zindzi and Ze­nani.

Malema at­tacked the ANC for fail­ing the wo­man who he said kept the spirit of re­sis­tance alive while other lead­ers were jailed or ex­iled dur­ing the apartheid regime’s reign of ter­ror.

Malema stopped short of nam­ing those he said had shown dis­dain for Madik­izela-Man­dela’s lead­er­ship. He called them “be­tray­ers” and “sell­outs”.

“Equally so, Mama, some of those who sold you out to the regime are here. And what is funny, Mama, is that they are cry­ing the loud­est, more than those of us who cared for you,” Malema shouted.

“Mama, Mama the UDF (United Demo­cratic Front) ca­bal is here. The ca­bal that re­jected you and dis­owned you and sent you to the bru­tal apartheid regime is here. When they called a press con­fer­ence, they said in that press con­fer­ence you are not part of them. They are here to­day.”

In a veiled ref­er­ence to fel­low pro­gramme di­rec­tor No­siviwe MapisaNqakula, Malema lashed out at those who re­signed from the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC), in protest against Madik­ize­la­Man­dela’s elec­tion as pres­i­dent in the early 1990s.

“Mama Nomzamo, Mama Nomzamo, all those who re­signed from the NEC of the women’s league, be­cause they said they can­not be led by a crim­i­nal, they are here. Some of them are play­ing prom­i­nent roles in your fu­neral, in a fu­neral of a per­son they called a crim­i­nal, in a fu­neral of a per­son they were ready to hu­mil­i­ate.”

Women who re­signed from the NEC at the time in­cluded Ade­laide Tambo, Baleka Mbete and Mapisa-Nqakula.

“We men­tion these few in­ci­dents just to make them aware that we know what they did to you. They must never think we have for­got­ten what they did to you. We see you in your beau­ti­ful suits, be­tray­ers, sell­outs, we see you,” Malema said to deaf­en­ing ap­plause.

ANCWL pres­i­dent Batha­bile Dlamini used her trib­ute to con­fess that the cur­rent lead­er­ship failed to rally be­hind Madik­ize­la­Man­dela in the face of op­pres­sion from the pa­tri­archy in the party.

In a no-holds-barred trib­ute to her mother, Ze­nani Man­dela-Dlamini spoke about a cam­paign which sought to dis­credit her mother. She ques­tioned the tim­ing of those who waited un­til her mother’s death to pro­vide ev­i­dence back­ing up false claims about her.

“When you read pop­u­lar his­tory about the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle, you can be for­given for think­ing that it was a man’s strug­gle, and a man’s tri­umph.

“Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. My mother is one of the many women who rose against pa­tri­archy, prejudice and the might of a nu­clear-armed state to bring about the peace and democ­racy we en­joy to­day,” a teary-eyed Man­dela-Dlamini said.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa opened up about see­ing Madik­izela-Man­dela’s daugh­ters the day af­ter her death. Their tears re­vealed their mother’s wounds, he said.

He spoke about the stal­wart’s iso­la­tion in the ab­sence of other lead­ers, par­tic­u­larly men, who merely snatched the ba­ton from her.

“The men took over again and the women were rel­e­gated to a sup­port­ing role. Mam’ Winnie pro­vided lead­er­ship at the most dif­fi­cult pe­ri­ods and sought no re­ward,” Ramaphosa said.

“She had been left to tend her wounds on her own for most of her life. Left alone to fend for her­self only caused her more pain. But she touched our wounds all the time.”

PHOTO: FELIX DLANGAMANDLA

EVEN IN DEATH, SHE IN­SPIRES The body of Winnie Madik­izela-Man­dela ar­rives at Or­lando Sta­dium in Soweto yes­ter­day. She was laid to rest at Four­ways Me­mo­rial Park

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