Mbalula defends Zuma on Marikana report

2015-06-26 13:33

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Johannesburg - Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula defended President Jacob Zuma on Friday against those who criticised him about the Marikana report.

Mbalula was speaking at the ANC's 60-year commemoration of the Freedom Charter at Walter Sisiulu Square in Kliptown, Soweto.

"On this occasion of the celebration of 60 years of the Freedom Charter, president, members of the ANC, our revolution is under attack," he said to shouts of yes from the crowd.

"It's not an attack on President Zuma - it is an attack on our revolution."

He said the African National Congress could not sit back and take this attack.

Mbalula was speaking at the commemoration on behalf of the ANC Youth League's co-ordinating committee.

Zuma released the long-awaited Marikana report to the public on Thursday evening.

The report exonerated his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa and the executive from any involvement in the shooting on August 16 2012, which killed 36 people.

'Forward with the revolution'

Speaking in Xhosa, Mbalula said those who were criticising Zuma about the contents of the report were wrong, as it was not the president's findings but that of the commission's, chaired by retired judge Ian Farlam.

He said, instead of people congratulating Zuma for releasing the report early, detractors only criticised. 

"Defend our revolution. Forward with the revolution, long live the Freedom Charter," he said to loud cheers from the crowd.

The ANC's top six officials sat on the stage in the tent. They were joined by ANC stalwarts Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada.

Many ministers and ANC national executive committee members also attended the event.

They included Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Deputy Agriculture Minister Bheki Cele, ANC NEC member Tony Yengeni, Small Business Minister Lindiwe Zulu and SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande.

The Cuban Five were also in attendance and received a warm welcome.

Zuma arrived just after noon on Friday and was greeted by cheers from ANC members and supporters, as was Ramaphosa.

Zuma is expected to give the keynote address at the commemoration.

ANC Freedom Charter event

The gathered crowd at Walter Sisulu Square. (Genevieve Quintal, News24)

'Men and women who dared to dream'

ANC Gauteng chairperson Paul Mashatile welcomed everyone to Kliptown.

"Sixty years ago, 3 000 men and women from all walks of life... descended on this place where we are gathered today," he said.

"These brave men and women who travelled to Kliptown had in their possession pieces of paper with wishes and aspirations... for a better South Africa."

He said the heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle could not be forgotten.

"Their patriotism and fearlessness have and continue to inspire us. These were men and women who dared to dream."

Mashatile acknowledged that although much had been done since the dawn of democracy in 1994, more needed to be done.

Read more on:    anc  |  fikile mbalula  |  paul mashatile  |  johannesburg  |  politics  |  marikana inquiry

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