Mandela’s memory evoked at anti-Zuma rally

2017-04-27 13:30
Nelson Mandela with Zelda la Grange

Nelson Mandela with Zelda la Grange

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Pretoria - Having failed to implement Nelson Mandela’s vision, President Jacob Zuma must step down, the late president’s assistant Zelda La Grange, said at a freedom movement rally in Pretoria on Thursday.

“We want…a president that respects himself enough to step down when his people asked him to,” said La Grange at a gathering of various opposition political parties, as well as civil society and religious organisations at Caledonian stadium. 

“We want to say: ‘Mr President this is what we want…please do the dignified thing and listen to your people,” she said in calling for Zuma to leave office.

La Grange evoked the legacy of her former employer – one she described as being of respect, ethics and solidarity – suggesting Zuma had failed to live up to his predecessor’s example.

“Mr President, listen to us: follow the plan that Madiba and his people put together in 1994.”

La Grange led the crowd in a number of chants including: “Not in my name” and “claim back our power”.

Leaders should 'do the right thing'

La Grange’s address at the rally was followed shortly afterwards by Nelson Mandela’s granddaughter, Ndileka Mandela.

Wearing a pink T-shirt with her grandfather’s name on it, Mandela evoked the preamble of the Freedom Charter, which says that the people shall govern, as a reminder that the government leaders could be criticised.

“The people have the right to call their government to account.  We are today calling the government to account.”

In particular, said Mandela, when it came to a proposed parliamentary vote towards a motion of no confidence in Zuma, “We want our leaders, that we elected from our communities, to do the right thing,” she said.

“Before [in 1994] we sang together, we bled together and we marched together and we are still marching together to call our government into order.”

Mandela later told News24 that if her grandfather was alive, he would have said that if the ANC did to people what the apartheid government did to them, then they must do to the ANC what the people did to the apartheid government. 

"It saddens me that we had to come here to defend our people when we stand on the shoulders of giants who stood for is sad. But what makes me happy is that again, we are united as one to defend our democracy despite the sadness that's accompanying it."

Freedom Day commemorates the country's first post-apartheid elections held in 1994. This year signals 23 years of South Africa's democracy.

Read more on:    zelda la grange  |  ndileka mandela  |  pretoria

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