South Africa 17.4.2018 05:05 am

I never betrayed Winnie, says Sydney Mufamadi

Former safety and security Minister Sydney Mufamadi during a press conference held in Parktown, 16 April 2018. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Former safety and security Minister Sydney Mufamadi during a press conference held in Parktown, 16 April 2018. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Mufamadi said if he had betrayed her, why would he have personally nominated Madikizela-Mandela for a national order award?

Former cabinet minister Sydney Mufamadi was credible in his explanation on why the ANC and its former internal wing, the United Democratic Front, took a stand against the former Mandela Football Club and why they wanted Winnie Madikizela-Mandela to ditch it, says Nomboniso Gasa, independent commentator and gender activist.

“Mufamadi exercised credible leadership, was methodical, measured and credible in handling the issue. We need leaders who are credible at this time of our history,” Gasa said.

Mufamadi called a media briefing to respond to Pascal Lamche’s documentary Winnie, which was broadcast on eNCA.

The documentary claimed the ANC and Mandela had distanced themselves from the “Mother of the Nation”.

Mufamadi confirmed they had counselled Madikizela-Mandela against keeping the football club and that the department had given the documentary a go-ahead, although he was denied the right of reply by its producers.

He did not want to appear as though he had something to hide.

The documentary looked at how the ANC, the government, and some journalists allegedly conspired, using propaganda to politically weaken Madikizela-Mandela.

According to Mufamadi, the documentary was one-sided – a point that was echoed by Gasa. She expressed disappointment at the lack of proper research in the documentary.

She said that Lamche’s claim that there was insufficient funding was nonsensical, as that was an indefensible reason to tarnish the images of individuals mentioned in the film.

Mufamadi rejected the claim that he initiated the investigation into youth activist Stompie Seipei’s death. He said, instead, it was then Democratic Party leader Tony Leon who asked for the reopening of the probe.

Mufamadi said if he had betrayed her, why would he have personally nominated Madikizela-Mandela for a national order award, bestowed on her by former president Jacob Zuma in 2017.

“You don’t destroy someone and nominate her for a national award. It’s an absurdity,” he said.

In an apparent reference to Julius Malema’s statement at Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral, Mufamadi said the allegations that the UDM and ANC distanced themselves from Winnie could have sparked a civil war.

“You could have set the country on fire over nothing.”

He and other comrades were recruited by the 1967 generation of Madikizela-Mandela into the ANC.

“The Winnie generation taught us politics; they gave us listening skills. We will never disown a single element of Winnie’s legacy.

“Those who claimed that the ANC or UDF disowned her did so to tarnish the movement’s image and to give an impression that she belonged to an organisation that was intrinsically flawed.”

Mufamadi, who formerly led the ANC’s peace committee, said he gave evidence to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to show that there was no evidence linking Madikizela-Mandela to Seipei’s death.

They wanted Madikizela-Mandela out of the football club because they were aware that there were many in the team who served other interests.

Recently, former police commissioner George Fivaz said their investigation found no evidence linking Nelson Mandela’s former wife to the murder of Seipei.

But the former police boss at the weekend came under sharp criticism from the Mandela family and Mufamadi, for only revealing the truth after her death.

Gasa said it was important for Mufamadi to clarify the whole issue around the UDM’s and ANC’s stance, and why they decided to counsel Madikizela-Mandela from keeping the club.

“Mufamadi was very brave to explain that ‘this is what we did and these are the reasons for our stance’.

“He said clearly that he did not call the press conference to defend anything, as he had nothing to defend. His narrative made sense,” she said.

Also read: Malema: ‘Let’s say Winnie was sleeping with young kids…’

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