Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize experienced interruptions during the Kathrada Durban Memorial service on Sunday.
The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has expressed concern over the Kwa-Zulu Natal ANC Youth League’s display of intolerance at a memorial service held for anti-apartheid struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada in Durban on Sunday.
The service hosted by the Active Citizens Movement (ACM), a forum initiated by anti-apartheid activists aimed at strengthening democracy.The event was supported by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.
Gordhan started his address with a request for a moment of silence for Chris Hani and Ahmed Kathrada.
Last week Friday, the Active Citizen Movement took the ANC Youth League to court in an attempt to prevent them from attending Kathrada’s memorial.
However, they were granted permission to attend on condition that they do not disrupt the service.
At one point he stopped speaking as chants of “Zuma! Zuma!” rang out from a group dressed in ANC t-shirts. ANC KZN provincial chair Sihle Zikalala was forced to intervene and ask the disrupters to sit down.
“You must go out or you must be disciplined‚” Zikalala said.
He said police were not needed “yet” when a small group of police officers wanted to move into the hall.
He asked journalists to ignore the group‚ as their presence was apparently egging the group on.
At the same time, the ANC has called on its leaders to dismantle factions within the organisation which are tearing it apart and urgently work to build unity.
The statement comes after Mkhize was heckled by ANC Youth League members in KwaZulu-Natal while addressing the memorial service for Kathrada.
Mkhize has called the youth league’s behaviour unacceptable and embarrassing and says they need to be educated politically. He’s also apologised to all in attendance.
ANC spokesperson Khusela Sangoni says: “Memorial services and funerals are not the place where comrades should be expressing faction tendencies but rather use the solemn occasion to really memorise the memory of those who sacrificed so much for our country.”
Kathrada Foundation denounces intolerance displayed by ANCYL at memorial
The Foundation’s Executive Director, Neeshan Balton said that the KZN youth league’s conduct was disrespectful to the memory of Kathrada. “Youth league members openly disregarded the Court order preventing them from disrupting proceedings following the urgent interdict sought by the ACM.”
“Disrupting the ANC Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize and former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s speeches simply points to the intolerance of youth league members. Drowning out people’s views simply because you may differ with them is reflective of undemocratic behaviour,” he added.
Balton stated that even religious leaders had been rendering speeches with political content at the various events in honour of Kathrada.
He also addressed questions about why so many memorials services were being held for the stalwart. “The Foundation has only organised one memorial service for Kathrada, which was held in conjunction with the South African Communist Party in Johannesburg. All other memorials have been hosted by various other organisations, who have taken it upon themselves to initiate the events. We have had several other requests from organisations to host similar programmes, and we are open to supporting these provided they are in keeping with Kathrada’s values and legacy. The Foundation would not want to place a limitation on the number of tributes that others want to initiate in honour of Kathrada.”
Balton noted that that in the coming months, the Foundation would be printing and distributing copies of a booklet on Kathrada, hosting reflective events on his life and legacy in various provinces and publishing a school workbook that goes together with a DVD on his life, aimed at young people.
“The Foundation will be preserving and promoting his legacy as an activist for social change and his lifelong commitment to a non-racial, non-sexist and truly democratic South Africa,” Balton said.