Mashaba praises Winnie’s family

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba
Image: Sunday Times

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba praised the family of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela yesterday for giving Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema his turn on the podium‚ but said he was not afforded the same opportunity when Ronnie Mamoepa died.

Mamoepa was an ANC member and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman.

“My personal deepest respect to Mama Winnie Mandela’s family for insisting on Julius Malema speaking at her funeral‚ despite serious misgivings from certain quarters‚” Mashaba tweeted.

“The same forces denied me an opportunity to bid farewell to my brother Ronnie Mamoepa.”

Prompted on Twitter to elaborate, Mashaba said he had been on the funeral programme to speak at Mamoepa’s funeral but was suddenly removed.

Mashaba said in July last year that Mamoepa was someone who‚ over the past two decades‚ had become more than just a partner and friend to him‚ but a brother and a confidant.
He said at the time: “It was Ronnie’s integrity that struck me the most. He was one of the few human beings who truly had integrity.”

Mamoepa‚ a former political prisoner and member of the Gauteng provincial legislature‚ died in July after an illness.

Following his death‚ the Presidency described him as a “highly regarded and accomplished public servant and veteran communicator who served the African National Congress and departments in government with distinction”.

Mamoepa was given a provincial funeral. Among those who spoke at his funeral were former deputy chief justice Judge Dikgang Moseneke‚ MP Paul Mashatile‚ National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete and Ramaphosa‚ who was the deputy president at the time.

The ANC denied yesterday that it had blocked Mashaba from speaking at Mamoepa’s funeral.

“The ANC would never bar anyone from participating or even speaking at a funeral if and when the family so wishes‚” spokesman Pule Mabe said.

“The ANC has always displayed the highest levels of political tolerance, including allowing families space to preserve their own cultures, as well as conducting these activities in a manner that they too find befitting‚ consulting and working with them closely.”