Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan will be a speaker at memorial services for Ahmed Kathrada across the country‚ despite heavy criticism from ANC colleagues about using such platforms to speak out against President Jacob Zuma’s government.
Gordhan’s presence at Kathrada memorials will be seen as a dig at the current ANC establishment‚ given that Kathrada was one of Zuma’s most vocal critics.
Kathrada‚ Nelson Mandela’s close comrade and fellow Robben Island prisoner‚ last year sparked a public ANC revolt against Zuma when he wrote an open letter calling on the president to resign.
Gordhan is due to speak at a Kathrada memorial at the Greek Hall in Tshwane on Wednesday night‚ at St George’s Cathredal in Cape Town on Thursday and at Sastri College in Durban on Sunday‚ the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said.
Gordhan last Saturday used the podium at the Johannesburg memorial for the stalwart to say that he was “unashamedly mobilising” against leaders driven by greed.
The Johannesburg memorial was organised by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation‚ the Gauteng branch SA Communist Party and the provincial ANC after the presidency indefinitely postponed a special official funeral for Kathrada.
A family funeral earlier last week had turned into an anti-Zuma rally. Gordhan said it was “spiteful” to postpone the official event‚ which Zuma said he had decided to skip‚ at the request of Kathrada’s family.
Gordhan spoke at the Johannesburg memorial for Kathrada a day after he was sacked by Zuma during a cabinet reshuffle. Zuma had also forced Gordhan to return from a road show‚ where he had planned to brief the investment community on the country.
The cabinet changes sparked criticism from ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa‚ who said the party’s top six were not consulted about the proposed shake-up.
Mantashe said it was clear that Zuma’s list had been compiled “elsewhere”‚ while Ramaphosa criticised the use of a dubious intelligence report to sack Gordhan.
In response‚ Zuma’s allies have lashed out at those who speak out publicly about internal ANC disputes.
“Funerals are a place where we mourn and not make celebrities out of those who are not happy‚” water and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane told an ANC Youth League rally on Tuesday.