Mama Winnie bandaged our wounds and we did not do the same for her - Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral in Orlando Stadium on Saturday. (GCIS)
President Cyril Ramaphosa at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral in Orlando Stadium on Saturday. (GCIS)

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's memory must be honoured by a pledge "that we will dedicate all our resources, all our efforts, all our energy to the empowerment of the poor and vulnerable", President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

He was delivering the eulogy at Madikizela-Mandela's state funeral service in the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

Diverting from his prepared speech, Ramaphosa said at the celebration of her 80th birthday in September 2016, she invited him and EFF leader Julius Malema to visit the widows of the mineworkers slain in the Marikana massacre of 2012. They could never go because of her illness.

"I will be guided by your spirit," he said and added that he knows Malema would join him. Malema was smiling broadly as he said this.

During his fiery speech, Malema said: "Mama, the widows of Marikana are still in tears. What do I tell them, what about those who killed their husbands for selfish gains? What do we do with them? Give us a sign Mama."

Malema did not name Ramaphosa in his speech, but Ramaphosa was a non-executive director for the mining company Lonmin at the time of the strike and called for "concomitant action" to be taken against the miners in an e-mail to then minister of police Nathi Mthethwa and then minister of mineral resources, Susan Shabangu.

In his eulogy, Ramaphosa also announced that as ANC president he will propose to the ANC National Executive Committee to bestow the ANC's highest honour on Madikizela-Mandela posthumously.

Mourners at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral in Orlando Stadium on Saturday. (Jan Borman, News24) 

 

He told how he visited the Madikizela-Mandela residence last Tuesday, the day after she died, with the rest of the ANC top six. 

"Zenani Mandela, reflecting on her mother’s life and overcome by emotion, said: 'My mother suffered. She had a very difficult life'," Ramaphosa said.

"Then she burst into tears."

Ramaphosa said her statement and tears remained with him since.

"Zenani’s tears revealed Mam’ Winnie’s wounds.

"She bandaged our wounds. We did not do the same for her," Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa likened her to the women in the biblical tale who tended to Jesus's tomb after the men ran away, only to return when it was safe again and then relegating women to a supporting role again. 

Ramaphosa said he spoke to Madikizela-Mandela shortly before her death about her concerns and wishes. 

Mourners at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral in Orlando Stadium on Saturday. (Jan Borman, News24) 

 

He said she spoke of her deep desire for unity and the renewal not only of the movement that she loved dearly, but of the nation.

"She wanted us to honour the commitment in the Freedom Charter that the people should share in the country’s wealth and that the land should be shared amongst those who work it and be returned," he said. 
 
"She spoke of many thoughts she had about how the revolutionary ideals and morality of her movement should be restored and not be undermined by corruption and self-enrichment."

He said, in the same manner, Madikizela-Mandela's death united the country in sorrow, it should unite the country in a common purpose.  

"Let us honour her memory by pledging here that we will dedicate all our resources, all our efforts, all our energy to the empowerment of the poor and vulnerable," he said.

"Let us honour her memory by pledging here that we will not betray the trust of her people. We will not squander or steal their resources, and that we will serve them diligently and selflessly."

After Ramaphosa's eulogy, there was a religious service, whereafter the hearse started making its way to Madikizela-Mandela's final resting place, the Fourways Memorial Park, in pouring rain.

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