Madikizela-Mandela hated the 'demon' called state capture - Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Soweto during an ANC drive for voter registration (Photo: Gallo Images)
Cyril Ramaphosa and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Soweto during an ANC drive for voter registration (Photo: Gallo Images)

Struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela hated corruption and state capture, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

"If there was anything that uMam' Winnie hated, it was corruption and this demon that [is in] our midst now called state capture", Ramaphosa said as he delivered a eulogy at a memorial service for the stalwart in Mbizana, Eastern Cape, where she was born.

The 81-year-old died at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg on April 2.

"She served the interests of our people. She didn't serve her own family and any other interests. All she ever knew was to only serve the people of South Africa and that is what she was committed to," Ramaphosa said.

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During Madikizela-Mandela's struggle against the apartheid government, her actions were at all times informed by [her] commitment to enhance the capacity of the ANC to fight effectively against apartheid and "eliminate anything that threatened to weaken that capacity".

"Learning from her and in respect of the current context, we have mobilised our democratic forces to do everything that is possible to enhance our capacity to fight effectively against poverty, unemployment and inequality. As well as to eliminate anything that threatens to weaken that capacity, including selfish acts of grand corruption and state capture," he said.

Ramaphosa also took a jibe at those "within our borders and beyond" who tried to "demonise" her character, even after her death.  

He said Madikizela-Mandela, who was former president Nelson Mandela's ex-wife, had endured a lot of pain, humiliation and suffering during her struggle with the apartheid government.

"The apartheid regime sought to break her spirit by constantly tormenting her family, detaining her without trial and imposing on her a long-distance relationship with her husband and children. But her spirit was never broken and she never betrayed the struggle and her people," he said.

Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela would only rest in peace when the ANC achieved what she had fought for.

He revealed that the late icon was jubilant when the newly-elected ANC's top six visited her, which was the first time in the history of the party that the top six had done so.

The president said Madikizela-Mandela was happy about some of the resolutions taken at the ANC's 54th elective conference.

She was particularly happy about the resolutions that formed the backbone of the party's programme of radical socio-economic transformation, "particularly the one that deals with the expropriation of land without compensation".

"We're determined to correct the original sin of the violent dispossession of our people's land and its worth.

"We're cognisant of the fact that uMam' Winnie will only rest in peace if we restore the dignity of our people by ensuring that, yes, they have an equal claim to the land of their forebears and their birth and I want to assure everyone that we will not retreat," he warned.

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

He encouraged young women to take the baton from Madikizela-Mandela and emulate what she had fought for.

Ramaphosa added that Madikizela-Mandela wanted the ANC to be united at all times.

"We must work to renew this movement and unite the ANC and yes, to transform the country that she so loved," he added.

Among the dignitaries who attended the service were ANC national executive members Senzo Mchunu, Ronald Lamola and Bheki Cele, who is also the Minister of Police.

Opposition parties and religious and traditional leaders also attended.

Family spokesperson Thembelani Madikizela said the fallen icon had taught her family to be courageous and fearless.

He said Madikizela-Mandela constantly visited her family in Mbizana even though they lived in Johannesburg.

"She would always insist to be informed when the family planned on having traditional ceremonies in order to give us her blessings," he said.

Madikizela-Mandela is to be buried on April 14.

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