We have lost a fearless freedom fighter, a brave leader and loving mother - Deputy Chief Justice

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has challenged South Africans, particularly those in government, to fight corruption in honour of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's legacy.

He was speaking at a memorial service held at Constitution Hill, in Johannesburg, for Madikizela-Mandela, who died on April 2.

The Deputy Chief Justice added that Mam' Winnie would tell struggle stalwarts in heaven that levels of corruption were high.

"She will be reporting to many stalwarts of our struggle about what is going on in this country. While we have made advances in many respects, she will not have a very good report to give about what we are doing."

"She will not give a very good report about us because she will tell them the level of corruption in this country has reached proportions that no one could ever have imagined before. And she will say this is not the kind of country that we sacrificed for," Zondo said at a memorial service held at Constitution Hill on Monday.

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He added that Madikizela-Mandela would also have to tell stalwarts about the number of crimes committed against women and children.

"She will not have a very good report to give because we men are raping children, because we men are raping our grandmothers, because we men do not respect the rights of children," he said.

Zondo also said politics of the stomach was at the heart of corruption.

"Corruption in our country is deepening because we are fearful. If I’m a member of Parliament and I need to hold the executive accountable, I am scared because I still want to rise in the party. I still want to be deputy minister, I still want to be a minister, and I’m not going to play my oversight role because in that way, I’m going to limit my career prospects."

"Corruption remains a serious cancer in our society and unless we demonstrate fearlessness in relation to dealing with it, many other stalwarts who are still among us will [give bad reports about us when they die]," Zondo said.

He praised Madikizela-Mandela for being a fearless struggle hero and a compassionate community leader.

"Mam' Winnie's loss is not just a loss to the families of Mandela and Madikizela. It is a loss to all of us. We as a nation, have lost a fearless freedom fighter, a brave leader, and yet a loving parent, a loving mother, and a loving grandmother. Indeed, we have lost a caring community leader," he said.

"For many years, when many leaders were in prison or exile, Mam' Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was one of those who gave us in the country a beacon of hope, she was one of those who made sure the struggle continues."

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