Holomisa hits out at Winnie hypocrites
TODAY South Africans say a final farewell to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela but even at her funeral the mother of the nation remains a controversial figure.
Over the last two weeks, Madikizela-Mandela has been variously depicted as a Struggle heroine, a murderer, or a woman snubbed by the very organisation she was fighting for.
For some of the mourners who will be gathered at her graveside, this is a sore point that stretches back over a quarter of century.
“They were hypocrites of the highest order,” said the leader of the United Democratic Movement, Bantu Holomisa. He was referring to members of the anti-apartheid Mass Democratic Movement and the ANC, who he felt abandoned Madikizela-Mandela in her time of need.
These hypocrites, he said, were now praising her as a heroine and attending her funeral.
The snubbing began, Holomisa said, with the kidnapping and killing of teen activist Stompie Seipei in the 1980s. Madikizela-Mandela received a six-year jail sentence, which she successfully appealed and it was reduced to a R15 000 fine and suspended sentence.
Holomisa said nobody was willing to pay her fine. He paid the fine. Later, when she served in the first ANC government she was axed from the cabinet for having gone to Ghana without authorisation. But, according to Holomisa, the real reason was that she was seen as populist and the leadership in her husband’s administration saw her views as dangerous and sought a reason to axe her. He declined to name these people.
“She led from the front. She was always there among the people,” said Holomisa. “With what has come up about StratCom, (the apartheid government’s media campaign) I feel I made the right decision.”
Madikizela-Mandela’s death on April 2 has also unearthed apartheid skeletons. Claims emerged this week that she was the victim of a Strat- Com smear campaign to discredit her. Information also resurfaced of 40 journalists who allegedly were working or supplied information to the apartheid state. The EFF have controversially threatened to release the names of these journalists.
Another politician who believes Madikizela- Mandela was hard done by, by the ANC, is EFF leader Julius Malema. Earlier this week, during a memorial service for Madikizela-Mandela in Brandfort, in the Free State, he accused the ANC of using her as a wheelbarrow “that you would leave and come back from exile and use her and push her”.
Today, Malema is due to pay a special tribute to Madikizela-Mandela, in accordance with her burial wishes.
Her state funeral will be the biggest since that of her ex-husband four-and-half years ago. There is to be a 21-gun salute and a host of dignitaries have been billed to address the thousands of mourners expected at Orlando Stadium.
Crowds are to form a guard of honour along the roads leading from the stadium to the cemetery.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is to deliver the eulogy before her body is taken to Calgro M3 Fourways Memorial Park Cemetery, where she will be buried alongside her family members.
Only dignitaries are to be allowed in the cemetery, other mourners will watch the burial on big screens.
Malema’s relationship with Madikizela-Mandela dates back to when he was the leader of Cosas.
A special tribute to the Struggle icon is also to be delivered by her daughters Zenani and Zindzi as well as her grand- and great-grandchildren.
President of Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso – one of the three heads of state who will be at funeral – will also deliver a tribute message.
Namibian President Hage Geingob and Prime Minister of Madagascar Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana are among the leaders and government representatives from African countries who will attend the funeral.
‘She was seen as a populist and the
leadership saw her views as dangerous.’
Mourners carry the coffin of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Orlando West, Soweto, yesterday. A special tribute to the Struggle icon is to be delivered by her daughters Zenani and Zindzi at her funeral today.