President Jacob Zuma on Saturday launched a scathing attack on those using funerals and memorial services to attack “fellow comrades”‚ saying it bordered on “terrible and dangerous” politics.
Speaking at the tombstone unveiling of the late minister in the presidency Collins Chabane in Ka-Xikundu Village outside Malamlele in Limpopo‚ Zuma said: “I’m happy comrades that you have not used the name of Collins to fight your factional battles.
“There is a new culture that we must persuade one another not to do…to use a funeral and a memorial to fight our political battles. It is wrong. It will never be right‚ no matter how you feel. You can’t use a comrade when he can no longer talk for himself.”
This was in reference to speeches at the funeral and various memorials for ANC stalwart Ahmed Kathrada.
Former President Kgalema Motlhante‚ speaking at Kathrada’s funeral last week‚ fired the first salvo‚ referencing a letter that Kathrada wrote a year ago calling for Zuma to step down.
Kathrada’s partner‚ Barbara Hogan also called for Zuma to step down at one of the memorials.
Said Zuma: “I’m happy here that not a single one did so…. They were lucky in other places because I was not there‚” Zuma said to loud laughter.
Speaking about Chabane‚ Zuma described him as a “ natural disciplined cadre of the movement”.
“He understood the values of the ANC. He was on the ANC NEC from the beginning until he died. You would never find him in any kind of tensions. He was indeed a unique cadre‚” Zuma added.
Other dignitaries that were present at the funeral included ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize‚ new MP Brian Molefe‚ Minister of Public Service and Administration Faith Muthambi and Limpopo premier Stan Tabata.