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Ramaphosa heaps praise on Winnie, condemns critics

Ramaphosa has condemned those who criticise Winnie Madikizela-Mandela “even in death”.

The South African flag hangs at half mast for Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Port Elizabeth.
The South African flag hangs at half mast for Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Port Elizabeth.
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned those who criticise Winnie Madikizela-Mandela “even in death”.

“There are some within our borders and beyond who have sought to demonise her character by referring to what they deem to be massive excesses on her praxis of the revolutionary struggle against apartheid,” he said.

Ramaphosa spoke at the Mphuthumi Mafumbata Stadium in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape yesterday.

He said Madikizela-Mandela hated corruption and state capture.

“If there was anything Winnie hated‚ [it] was corruption and this demon that has come into our midst now called state corruption and state capture,” Ramaphosa said.

He said South Africans should have the great courage Madikizela-Mandela had. “As Winnie served our people‚ she did not serve her own family.

“She did not serve any other interests. She only knew to serve the people of South Africa and that is what she was committed to.”

Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela’s lifelong task was to renew and strengthen the ANC.

Throughout her life as a political activist‚ she did not conform to the politics of sexist gender roles.
Ramaphosa

He said the party would continue with its land reform programme to “correct the original sin of the violent dispossession of our people’s land and its wealth”.

“Winnie will only rest in peace if we restore the dignity of our people by ensuring that they have an equal claim to the land of the forebears and their birth,” Ramaphosa said.

“I want to ensure all that this we will not retreat from.”

Ramaphosa praised Madikizela-Mandela as a symbol of female emancipation.

“Throughout her life as a political activist‚ she did not conform to the politics of sexist gender roles,” he said.

“She did not see women as being inferior to men by any measure at all.”

Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela never succumbed to the apartheid government’s torture‚ imprisonment and banishment.

“She emerged out of every situation meant to break her even stronger and more powerful‚ more courageous and much more determined‚” he said.

“Not once did she succumb to that persistent inner voice that in fear of pain and loneliness offers the unsolicited advice that one must hang up their boots and live to fight another day.”

Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela earned the title “Mother of the Nation’’ on the streets and in the trenches in the struggle against apartheid.

“It was not a title that was given to her in a boardroom or at some meeting,” he said.

Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela related to the impetuousness of the youth.

“She identified with the radicalism and impetuousness of the youth more than with the conservatism associated with many of her age,” he said.

The memorial service was attended by leaders of political parties including the DA‚ UDM, IFP, AIC‚ EFF and COPE.

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