Foundation 'shocked and saddened' by postponement of Kathrada memorial

2017-03-31 21:56

Johannesburg – The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the SACP will hold a joint memorial for struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada on Saturday at the Johannesburg City Hall at 14:00, they said on Friday evening in Houghton, Johannesburg.

The foundation and the party were addressing the indefinite postponement of Ahmed Kathrada's state memorial service which was due to take place on Saturday morning, as well as the Cabinet reshuffle that was announced in the early hours of Friday morning by President Jacob Zuma.

CEO of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation Neeshan Balton said the postponement of the memorial by the state was made known to then through a one-liner. Balton said the postponement was totally unacceptable and deprived South Africans, as well as the state, of a chance to pay tribute to Kathrada's memory.

"We are shocked and deeply saddened by the announcement that the memorial has been postponed indefinitely. There was no consultation with Barbara Hogan, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, or the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation," he said.

In a scathing address, Barbara Hogan said that the abrupt decision was a sign that the "inept president who has clearly gone rogue" chose to pursue his personal interest. 

"The president is willing to push ahead with his agenda of following his own self-interest at the expense of the interests of the country. Our country is not for sale. Could they not have held off with their deeds?" asked an angry Hogan.

Barbara Hogan during the press conference. (Cornel van Heerden, Netwerk24)

Hope for consultation

"We can't stop government from doing whatever it wants, but we will be proceeding with our own memorial service," said Balton.

He also mentioned that the foundation was open to working with the state to hold a memorial service for Kathrada.

"Should it come at some point that the government wants to do something with us, we hope that they will consult with us, and should we find that what they are proposing is acceptable, we might do it," he said.

The briefing comes a year after Kathrada wrote a letter to President Jacob Zuma asking him to step down.  

The letter was apparently penned after "Mr K", as his wife affectionately called him, felt compelled to speak out about what he felt was wrong with the ANC.

Kathrada died on Tuesday morning, and his funeral service was held at West Park cemetery in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Read more on:    anc  |  barbara hogan  |  ahmed kathrada  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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