Govt goes on the defensive over Kathrada memorial furore
Graeme Hosken | 2017-04-05 15:32:45.0
Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan speaking during Ahmed Kathrada’s memorial at the Johannesburg City Hall. File photo.
Image by: PHILL MAGAKOE
The Presidency has gone on the defensive in an attempt to set the record straight on the furore surrounding the memorial for ANC struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada.
The move is seen as an attempt to distance President Jacob Zuma from any involvement in the mess.
In a statement issued earlier on Wednesday‚ the Presidency said it had noted “conflicting” media reports and social media commentary on the events surrounding the request for a postponement of Kathrada’s official memorial.
The memorial was to have taken place last Saturday‚ but was cancelled‚ without the family being informed.
In their statement the Presidency said: “We wish to place it on record that Deputy President Ramaphosa did not cancel the memorial service but requested a postponement”.
“The facts are that Ramaphosa had been tasked by President Jacob Zuma to lead the government delegation and address the memorial event. Earlier in the week‚ Ramaphosa had led the government delegation to Kathrada’s funeral as delegated by the President.
“Government’s participation in the funeral and at official memorial service was coordinated by the Inter-Ministerial Committee responsible for state and official funerals.”
The Presidency added that on the eve of the memorial‚ Ramaphosa was of the view that inadequate preparations had been made to enable a successful official memorial service‚ and that “in view of political developments in the country‚ a postponement was required to afford South Africans an opportunity to honour Kathrada with the requisite honour and dignity”.
“Based on this assessment‚ Ramaphosa requested the Director-General in The Presidency to convey to the Inter-Ministerial Committee Ramaphosa’s suggestion.”
It said based on Ramaphosa’s recommendations‚ the memorial was postponed.
“The Presidency then communicated the proposal for a postponement to the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation. Zuma was not involved in these processes.”
The Presidency said government was committed to honouring Kathrada‚ “at an appropriate time in consultation with the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the family”.
“We regret all the confusion‚ hurt and confusion that has been caused by this postponement.”
– TMG Digital/The Times