Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba took to Twitter on Sunday to commend the family of the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela for insisting that EFF leader Julius Malema be allowed to speak at her funeral.
Malema had used his opportunity to lambaste those in the ANC and United Democratic Front that he felt had betrayed Mama Winnie. Her daughter Zenani also had harsh words for those she called “hypocrites” who had once betrayed her mother but were paying tribute to her after her death.
Reports emerged on Sunday that some in the ANC were unhappy that Malema was being given such a big platform at Orlando Stadium, but the Mandela family did not heed those complaints as Malema and Mama Winnie had famously been very close.
Mashaba, who himself wad held up by the ANC as a paragon of black success for his business record before he joined the Democratic Alliance, said that he had been denied a chance to bid his friend Ronnie Mamoepa farewell at his funeral.
Mamoepa passed away at age 56 last year after a long illness while still working as then deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson. He was a former political prisoner and former member of the Gauteng provincial legislature.
The Joburg mayor said that he had personal respect now for Madikizela-Mandela’s family “for insisting on @Julius_S_Malema to speak at her Funeral, Despite serious misgivings from certain quarters”.
“The same forces denied me an opportunity to bid farewell to my brother Ronnie Mamoepa.”
My personal deepest respect to Mama Winnie Mandela’ family for insisting on @Julius_S_Malema to speak at her Funeral, Despite serious misgivings from certain quarters. The same forces denied me an opportunity to bid farewell to my brother Ronnie Mamoepa
— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) April 15, 2018
Mashaba was not clear on who these “forces” were.
While some then criticised Mashaba for trying to steal the limelight and have himself be seen in a similar light to Malema, others confirmed on Twitter that Mashaba and Mamoepa had indeed been friends.
“I tell you he was closer to him than any of those who spoke. The family was given an ultimatum to distance itself from him or they won’t get support from comrades. It was heart rending even from those who know of their closeness,” wrote Kgala Ramusi.