Booing at Mandela memorial did SA a disservice - ANC

2013-12-10 22:00
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Johannesburg - Those who booed during the memorial service for former president Nelson Mandela on Tuesday did the country a disservice, said ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.

"Whatever the motivation for this behaviour, the behaviour still remains condemned," he said at the end of the memorial at the FNB Stadium in Soweto.

"Whoever was party to that did us, as a country, a disservice.

"It did the Madiba family, who are mourning, and also Mama Graça and Mama Winnie... a terrible disservice."

Mthembu said the memorial had not been the platform to air political views.

He said those who booed had let down all South Africans present at the memorial and watching on television.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa had to take control of the situation after disruptions by the crowd.

He called on them three times to be disciplined.

"We have visitors let's not embarrass ourselves. Behave," said Ramaphosa.

"He [Mandela] was a disciplined cadre and let us send him off in a disciplined way."

Zuma booed

Earlier, the crowd booed President Jacob Zuma every time his image was shown on the big screen, causing major public humiliation in front of other world leaders six months before the national elections.

The hostile reaction from the thousands-strong unruly crowd erupted as Zuma prepared to address the high-profile ceremony in Johannesburg's FNB Stadium bringing together leaders from around 90 countries.

Reuters reported that Zuma, who has ruled since 2009, had been hoping to get a boost from the wave of national emotion triggered by Mandela's death on Thursday, aged 95.

Zuma was booed when he first entered the crowded stadium, and again when he prepared to speak. In contrast, US President Barack Obama received a roaring ovation, and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe and UN chief Ban Ki-moon were also cheered.

Some in the crowd accompanied the boos for Zuma with thumbs-down gestures and rotating hand movements, the sign for a substitution in a soccer match.

"Mandela had a vision, Mandela lived that vision. But what Zuma speaks, he doesn't live," Funeka Gingcara-Sithole, 31, told Reuters.

"He should do the honourable thing and resign," she said.

Read more on:    anc  |  jackson mthembu  |  jacob zuma  |  nelson mandela  |  johannesburg

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