Hani commemoration marred by boos and rain

2017-04-10 18:14
President Jacob Zuma and Limpho Hani at the wreath-laying ceremony in Ekurhuleni. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

President Jacob Zuma and Limpho Hani at the wreath-laying ceremony in Ekurhuleni. (Felix Dlangamandla, Netwerk24)

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Ekurhuleni - An event held to mark the anniversary of the assassination of struggle icon Chris Hani twenty-four years after he was gunned down was marred by boos from the crowd and bad weather.

The crowd booed the South African Communist Party's deputy general-secretary several times. Solly Mapaila was booed by supporters during a wreath-laying ceremony and again when he tried to deliver a message of support to the Hani family.

"We noted that there were some few elements, not from this region, who were misbehaving, they were assisted by the rain," said Ekurhuleni mayor and ANC chairperson Mzwandile Masina.

He condemned the incident and said the movement's leadership would deal with those responsible.

The programme for the day, which kicked off more than an hour late was adjusted, with President Jacob Zuma delivering his speech after Hani's widow, Limpho Hani, and then making a quick getaway before addresses by alliance partners.

Initially Zuma, in line with protocol, was meant to be the last speaker of the gathering.

Anti-Zuma marches 'racist'

Zuma used the opportunity to defend his radical economic transformation stance, which he told those in attendance he would focus on throughout the remainder of his term.

The president also criticised marches held across the country last week calling for him to step down. He labelled some of the demonstrations as "racist".

"Racists no longer fear being caught or exposed," he said.

Limpho, who spoke before the president's address, defended Zuma, telling the audience that he was there for her when one of her daughters battled a cocaine addiction; she also said Zuma was the last ANC member to see her husband alive.

"I was able to go through this long journey because comrade Zuma became a brother to me, a father to my child," she said.

Mapaila, who had earlier expressed shock at a decision by the ANC to have newly-appointed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba deliver a lecture on the former uMkhonto weSizwe chief of staff, was unable to address the gathering after he was drowned out by heavy rainfall and the booing crowd.

Earlier on Monday he told journalists that, based on the Hani Memorandum, he believed the anti-apartheid hero would have been saddened by the party's selection.

"Normally the person who gives the memorial lecture is selected by the ANC at its headquarters in consultation with the SACP and the Hani family," said Mapaila.

Addressing the booing incident, Mapaila said it was unfortunate but not unexpected.

"We were aware about that, knew the people who were trying to plan it, we know where they came from," he said.

Read more on:    sacp  |  anc  |  jacob zuma  |  solly mapaila  |  politics

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