Heckling at Kathrada memorial 'unacceptable' - Mkhize

2017-04-09 21:49
A woman holds a placard as ANCYL members shout slogans in support of President Jacob Zuma at the Ahmed Kathrada memorial in Durban. (Matthew Kay, AFP)

A woman holds a placard as ANCYL members shout slogans in support of President Jacob Zuma at the Ahmed Kathrada memorial in Durban. (Matthew Kay, AFP)

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KwaZulu-Natal - ANC Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize said heckling by the party’s Youth League at the memorial service in Durban for struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada on Sunday marred the ceremony, adding that their behaviour was “unacceptable”.

“At a personal level such heckling does not affect me. I have been through worse situations and understand this in politics. For some people it's their way to express themselves,” he said in a statement.

“It is clear that the ANC leadership has a huge task to embark on political education  to teach our youth tolerance of different  views and respect for the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom."

He nevertheless described the service as a “beautiful representation of the non-racial and non-sexist credentials of the ANC from the youth to senior citizens many of whom have known struggle credentials”.

“On behalf of the ANC we wish to apologise to those who were invited, for the embarrassment and inconvenience caused. The behaviour remains unacceptable now as it has always been when it happened to other leaders in the organisation as it erodes the respect for the ANC.”

He said it was a challenge the party’s leadership had to address.

“There is need for leadership to dismantle factions which are tearing the organisation apart and urgently work to rebuild unity and deal with differences which play out in the open. We call on all comrades to avoid using such solemn occasions to exacerbate tensions and embarrass the ANC.”

Police

There was a strong police presence at the event after a court decision ruled that the ANCYL would be able to attend the memorial. The conditions of them attending included not inciting violence, intimidation or causing any disruptions.

News24 earlier reported that Youth League members bustled into Sastri College where large numbers of people attended the proceedings.

Members of the youth league brandished T-shirts with President Jacob Zuma’s face on and placards in support of the Cabinet reshuffle.

Kathrada openly criticised Zuma’s leadership, even posthumously barring him from attending his memorial.  

Once proceedings began, the youth league interrupted speakers whenever the subject matter remotely touched on corruption or challenges in government.

Gordhan, one of the main speakers at the event, barely got a word in before the youth league began chanting “Zuma”. Gordhan was also booed whenever he was mentioned in speeches.

ANC provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala as well as ANCYL provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo had to be brought in to calm the rowdy youth league when Gordhan attempted his keynote address.

Read more on:    pravin gordhan  |  ahmed kathrada  |  zweli mkhize  |  durban  |  politics 2017

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