President to honour PMB’s role in ANC

2012-04-18 00:00

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma will be visiting Mountain Rise Cemetery in Pietermaritzburg tomorrow to lay a wreath on the grave of the ANC’s fourth president, Josiah Gumede.

Gumede was a long-time resident of Pietermaritzburg, whose home, until the family was evicted by the Group Areas Act, was in New Scotland Road, off College Road.

His son Archie Gumede was a prominent lawyer and anti-apartheid activist who was a leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF).

The visit to the grave aims to honour Gumede and mark the city’s unique place in the ANC’s history. It is also the start of a five-day programme when the ANC centenary flame will be in the Moses Mabhida region.

Yesterday, the ANC’s regional secretary, Supa Zuma, listed the scheduled stopovers for the flame that will ensure it is taken to 16 districts within the region. He said a motorcade, “one of the biggest you’ve ever seen in this region”, would accompany the flame, adding that vehicles have already been kitted out with ANC colours. There will be also mini-rallies, visits to the homes of struggle heroes and prayer meetings at sites of apartheid era violence.

Chairperson Alpha Shelembe acknowledged that the programme was going to be expensive.

He said it was too early to tell how much it was all going to cost. However, he added that the region would bear the costs and that no money would be taken from municipalities or government offices. “This is an ANC event and we are paying for it,” he said.

Shelembe said the occasion would also be used to build unity in the once divided region.

After the 2011 local government elections, activists who were dissatisfied with the way candidates were chosen, held a sit-in at the ANC offices.

A report on this strife prepared by Minister of Home Affairs and ANC national executive member, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is yet to be tabled.

Shelembe said the region had moved on and that there was a programme underway to build unity.

He said everyone, including the local ANC dissenters, were being invited to be part of the centenary flame celebration. He said the region had adopted a programme to work on unity and cohesion. Sub-regional structures had been convened with a view to unite members.

The regional executive committee is also in the process of meeting with the ANC caucuses of all municipalities in the district as well as former leaders and activists of the liberation movement to talk about unity.

They will be promoting the view that stability in councils will enhance service delivery. Zuma said that branches would conduct door to door visits and would be going around with loudhailers inviting communities to be part of the ANC centenary celebration.

• nalini@witness.co.za

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