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Kathrada’s call for Zuma to step down echoed at his memorial service

The South African Communist Party’s Solly Mapaila called on African National Congress (ANC) leaders to choose South Africans over the Guptas.

Ahmed Kathrada's widow, Barbara Hogan, speaks to Cyril Ramaphosa during Ahmed Kathrada's funeral at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg on 29 March 2017. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada’s strong sentiments against President Jacob Zuma have again been echoed by speakers at his memorial service.

In a letter sent to the president a year ago, Kathrada suggested he resign.

At a memorial held at the Johannesburg City Hall for the late veteran on Saturday, his widow Barbra Hogan continued where he left off.

“And finally Mr President, if you had ears to hears and eyes to see, you would step down as Kathy required.”

The South African Communist Party’s Solly Mapaila called on African National Congress (ANC) leaders to choose South Africans over the Guptas.

“ANC at this moment, as well as the alliance movement as a whole have a choice to make, either President Zuma or the people of South Africa. The ANC must choose either the people of this country or the Guptas.”

The Gauteng ANC’s Brian Hlongwa attended the event despite the government’s attempts to postpone it.

“They might torture our bodies, break our bones but our souls are intact and our souls are not for sale.”

Those present at the memorial included recently axed ministers of Finance, Public Service and Tourism.

WATCH: Kathrada widow: Mr president, do you have eyes to see?

Hogan has again lambasted Zuma over his recent Cabinet reshuffle, telling the president that the country is not for sale.

She has accused Zuma of sacrificing everything that the country’s freedom fighters stood for.

Hogan added: “If you had ears to hear and eyes to see, you would not have appointed four Finance Ministers in less than three years. You would not have recalled one of our finest Finance Ministers.”

The former minister has also criticised President Zuma for not sacking the former Communications Minister Faith Muthmbi and the Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, who have both been criticised for their poor handling of crises in their departments.

Sacked Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, his former deputy Mcebisi Jonas and former Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom are among those attending.

In response to the ANC Youth League's condemnation of leaders who spoke at the funeral earlier this week, Mapaila said the funerals of struggle heroes are the right places to reflect.

“This is not to abuse funerals and memorial services of our leaders as it’s made to believe… It’s a platform to reflect on their example and lives.”

Presidency spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga said it’s wrong to claim that government moved to cancel the memorial.

“It’s publicly known that the president (Jacob Zuma) did not attend the funeral. He was not going to attend the memorial either. Respecting the wishes of the family, President Zuma was not involved in the planning of the memorial service and the cancellation thereof.

“Any impression created that the president cancelled or ordered the cancellation is not true.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)