ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize has lashed out at the party’s Youth League supporters for heckling him and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan at a memorial service for late stalwart Ahmed Kathrada.
Gordhan was one of the main speakers at the service for Kathrada‚ held in Durban on Sunday.
But he struggled to get through his speech as ANC Youth League supporters booed him and sang songs in praise of President Jacob Zuma.
Gordhan was drowned out after he spoke about the need for “principled unity”‚ which did not rely on “money… on these brown bags that are moving out all over. That is not Kathrada’s ANC”.
Mkhize did not fare any better.
“The memorial service of Cde Ahmed Kathrada in KwaZulu-Natal was today marred by a heckling incident against me‚” the treasurer general said in a statement.
“At a personal level such [heckling] does not affect me. I have been through worse situations. I understand this in politics. For some people it’s their way to express themselves.
“ANC leadership has a huge task to embark on political education to teach our youth tolerance of different views. We also need to respect the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.”
The incident follows heightened tensions among the ruling party. The divisions were laid bare two weeks ago at Kathrada’s funeral‚ where leaders from the ANC‚ SA Communist Party and Cosatu lashed out at the current leadership.
Former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe read out a letter written a year ago by Kathrada‚ in which he called on Zuma to step down.
The presidency later announced that it had indefinitely postponed an official memorial for Kathrada‚ prompting the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the SACP’s Gauteng branch to step in.
Gordhan‚ who was recently fired by Zuma in a controversial cabinet reshuffle‚ has since angered Youth League members and other Zuma supporters with his outspokenness on corruption.