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ANC premier show­ers praise on North Korean leader, slams ‘im­pe­ri­al­ists’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - MAR­I­ANNE MERTEN

LIM­POPO may be half a world away from North Korea, but re­elected ANC provin­cial chair­man and premier Cas­sel Mathale turned out to be a fan of the late au­to­crat Kim Jong-il, who died this week of heart fail­ure at the age of 69.

“As we join the North Kore­ans in their grief, we must be mo­ti­vated by their ca­pac­ity and tenac­ity to re­sist Western dom­i­na­tion. May the soul of Chair­man Kim Jong-il rest in peace,” Mathale told del­e­gates at the end of the ANC Lim­popo con­fer­ence this week.

“Un­der his lead­er­ship the peo­ple of North Korea con­tin­ued to demon­strate a great amount of re­mark­able re­silience mo­ti­vated by their his­tory of strug­gle and suf­fer­ing”, said Mathale, slam­ming “im­pe­ri­al­ist forces” that sought to ex­ploit the death “to in­fil­trate North Korea and its mar­ket”.

“It is re­gret­table, but not sur­pris­ing that the Western states are con­tin­u­ing to em­ploy their ex­pan­sion­ist poli­cies even at a time when the Kore­ans of the North are mourn­ing. We must be proud of the fact that in our African cul­ture we are re­quired and ex­pected to re­spect peo­ple who are mourn­ing re­gard­less of re­la­tions or in­ter­ests,” Mathale said.

Nam­ing China and North Korea as among the few coun­tries which as­sisted in the train­ing of Umkhonto we Sizwe, he said “North Korea was there when many na­tions that claimed to be cham­pi­ons of free­dom and democ­racy were deny­ing our peo­ple the right to self de­ter­mi­na­tion”.

Zim­babwe’s rul­ing Zanu-pf party also mourned Kim JongIl’s death, while Zapu and the two Move­ment for Demo­cratic Change groups wel­comed the news.

Zanu-pf ad­min­is­tra­tive sec­re­tary Didy­mus Mu­tasa said the party re­mained “grate­ful” the dead leader helped train Zim­babwe’s elite Fifth Bri­gade and there was noth­ing to be ashamed of by this as­so­ci­a­tion. The Fifth Bri­gade, on Mu­gabe’s or­ders, killed thou­sands of op­po­si­tion Zapu sup­port­ers. – Additional reporting Peta Thorny­croft, Independent For­eign Ser­vice

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