Yesterday, some people were baffled by ANC chief of staff Fikile Mbalula’s appearance on late struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral programme.
According to City Press, Mbalula and the other leaders made it on to the programme only at the last minute, as the family of Madikizela-Mandela did not want ANC representatives speaking at the funeral.
A rift between the party, Madikizela-Mandela’s political home, and the late struggle icon has been cited as the reason behind the reluctance of her daughters, Zenani Mandela-Dlamini and Zindzi Mandela, to include ANC members on the programme.
EFF leader Julius Malema accused the ANC of leaving Madikizela-Mandela hanging, an accusation President Cyril Ramaphosa admitted was true during his delivery of the obituary. Ramaphosa apologised for the party’s neglect of Madikizela-Mandela.
Mbalula was followed by ANC chairperson Gwede Mantashe at the podium. The City Press reports that Mantashe’s address came after furtive negotiations that involved Madikizela-Mandela’s grandson, Zondwa Mandela.
The party was reportedly not happy when it initially seemed as if they would be excluded from the funeral programme.
And now that they’ve succeeded with sneaking on to the programme, former ANCYL president Mbalula must now deal with past and current members who are not happy with their former leader’s remarks in this speech that he stood there on behalf of the “young lions”.
The Sunday paper quotes the Youth League treasurer-general Reggie Nkabinde as bemoaning the exclusion of the league’s current leadership and being represented, instead, by someone who was no longer part of the league’s leadership.
Nkabinde said he regarded the ANC’s decision to put Mbalula up there as their representative as “the highest form of disrespect to the sitting leadership”.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe preferred to highlight the “unity” between the Madikizela-Mandela’s family and the ANC.