Barbara Hogan‚ political activist and partner of former minister struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada‚ said on Friday that President Jacob Zuma had gone rogue.
She referred to the Cabinet reshuffle as a “dastardly deed done in a dark corner of the country” and that she was incredibly angered.
“If this was a presidency that was listening to the sentiments of this country‚ the funeral service of Mr Kathrada alone would have alerted them to the high emotions‚” she said. “The president is completely willing to push ahead with his own postal agenda.
“Surely they could have held off‚ just a while‚ out of respect for Kathrada‚” said Hogan‚ referring to the timing of the reshuffle‚ just a day after Kathrada’s funeral.
The Kathrada Foundation and Nelson Mandela Foundation jointly called an urgent press briefing to address the cancellation of an official memorial service for Kathrada‚ which was to have been held on Saturday at the University of Johannesburg but was cancelled by the presidency‚ with no explanation given.
The foundations said the memorial will go ahead‚ organised by the foundations and other parties including the SACP
It will be held at the Johannesburg City Hall at 2pm on Satureday. Axed finance minister Pravin Gordhan will be speaking at the memorial.
“We welcomed a commemoration service hosted by the Presidency‚ because that is what is befitting one of the giants of our country‚” said Hogan.
“But last night‚ when news began to filter through about the dastardly deeds being done in dark corners of this country‚ many of us in the family began to have doubts whether we would a commemoration under the auspices of a president‚ who has clearly gone rogue.”
“It means‚ quite simply‚ that the president is not applying his mind about one of the most critical decisions about who is going to lead our country‚” she continued. “Surely that is an indictment of the president‚ when his own party is rejecting him. His own party rejects what he has done‚” she said‚ referring to comments by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and ANC secretary general‚ Gwede Mantashe.
She called it a defining moment in our history.
Zuma was notably absent from Kathrada’s funeral on Wednesday – at the behest of the family‚ the Presidency said.
Hogan expressed the need for a “broad political coalition” to force Zuma to step down.
Neeshan Bolton‚ director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation‚ echoed the call Kathrada made a year ago to the day in his open letter to Zuma‚ and also asked him to step down.
“We call on the ministers and leaders of the ANC who care about the future of democracy and the Constitution to speak up and call on the president‚ in the best interests of the country‚ to step down‚” Balton said.
“We call on all members of Parliament to unite and support a motion of no confidence.”
Hogan said the people of South Africa should put pressure on their ANC ward councillors‚ MPLs and MPs‚ to ask them what they would do‚ as they had sworn an oath.
“When we are in as grave a situation as we are in today‚ the Constitution‚” she said‚ holding up a copy of the Constitution‚ “this Constitution must take precedence over any lingering notion that party loyalty is above anything‚” said Hogan.
“This is the moment‚ when ANC MPs need to look into themselves and ask: ‘What is the Constitutional duty that is imposed on us?’
“I call on everyone here‚ not to remain silent‚ not to sit on the fence. The country needs to be taken back‚” Hogan said.
“A country united is never divided. And this country is not for sale‚” she concluded.