ANC admits failure at Tatane funeral

2011-04-23 17:40

The funeral of Andries Tatane yesterday was nearly hijacked as an election campaigning platform by people from different political parties who tried to put up banners and chant slogans during the proceedings.

Tatane, who died at the hands of police during a service delivery protest, was buried at Ficksburg Cemetery.

Hundreds of mourners dressed in T-shirts bearing Tatane’s photograph braved the rain, singing as they led the procession to the cemetery on the northern outskirts of the town.

Tatane died of a gunshot wound to his chest, according to a post-mortem conducted by a state pathologist.

Eight police officers have been arrested in connection with his death.

They are expected to appear in the Ficksburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday for a formal bail application.

Yesterday’s service, held in a marquee at the rundown Meqheleng Stadium, was attended by political leaders including Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota, National Freedom Party leader Zanele Magwaza-Msibi, ANC provincial secretary Sibongile Besani, DA MP Wilmot James, Free State cooperative governance MEC Mamiki Qabathe and various religious leaders.

Lekota told the more than 1 000 mourners that someone should be held accountable for Tatane’s brutal death. He called for the elimination of the bucket system in Meqheleng and for better service delivery.“Otherwise the people of this country will change the government of this country (if there is no service delivery).

This thing that the governing party will rule forever will not happen,” he said to thunderous applause.Besani said the ANC was embarrassed by the manner in which Tatane died and by the poor state of service delivery in the township.“This Andries Tatane moment has called us to order as the ANC.

It has called us to order to provide a better life for all,” Besani said.Qabathe was booed by a section of the crowd when she condemned the burning of council buildings by youths during protests that erupted after Tatane’s death.

She said the department would rebuild the library.Molefi Nonyane, the man who held Tatane in his arms as he lay dying after he was shot, said Tatane had been deeply troubled by the lack of service delivery in the township.

“In his heart he was troubled because of the problems here, but his body was healthy. We were all troubled by this poor service delivery,” Nonyane said.

He refused to grant City Press an interview.

Mothusi Lepheana of the South African Human Rights Commission in Free State, who described Tatane’s death as a waste, said the commission would monitor the investigation into Tatane’s death “each and every step of the way”.

He said the commission would take “certain legal steps to assist the family to restore Tatane’s dignity”.

Lepheana told City Press the commission was in discussions with the Tatane family about bringing a civil lawsuit against those liable for the violation of his rights and his death.

Lepheana said the commission had received a complaint from the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution which it would also investigate.

Tatane’s sister, Seipati, said the family would wait for the conclusion of the court case before it decided whether to institute a civil claim.

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