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#WinnieMandela: I have lost a dear friend, says De Lille

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille was invited to speak at the EFF's memorial service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and was welcomed as a special colleague.

Advocate Dali Mpofu welcomes Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille during the memorial service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela held by the EFF in Brandfort. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

BRANDFORT - Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has addressed the crowds gathered to remember Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in the town she was banished to in the late 70s.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is holding a memorial service for the late Mama Winnie in Brandfort.

Hundreds have gathered in the small Free State town.

The tent set up opposite the house where Madikizela-Mandela was banished to in the late 70s is overflowing with red T-shirts with the memorial service underway.

De Lille was invited to speak at the EFF's memorial service for Madikizela-Mandela and was welcomed as a special colleague.

In his welcome to De Lille, the EFF’s Dali Mpofu chanted “Hands Off De Lille”.

The mayor spoke about what she learnt from Madikizela-Mandela.

“Politics is not for sissies… when you’re in politics there are no rules for men or women, there are just rules. She played by the rules and played the game better than most of them.”

De Lille recalled the last time she spoke to Madikizela-Mandela in December and ended by saying she’s lost a dear friend.

“Hamba kahle my sister, mother and flower of the nation.”

De Lille says it was with the late struggle icon in the 2000s under then-president Thabo Mbeki that she marched in Durban to demand anti-retroviral drugs be provided for those suffering from HIV.

She remembers confronting Mbeki about his decisions.

“Who believed that HIV and Aids did not exist. You say ARVs are toxic… why are they not for some of the MPs but they’re toxic for the poor?”

There have been prayers and various musical acts as the programme continue, led by Mpofu.

Mpofu says today is about unity and all political parties are welcome.

EFF leader Julius Malema also spoke on Wednesday afternoon.

“I speak of Mama Winnie… such people do not die, they live eternally because their seeds always survive the toughest of conditions. The seeds of a tree grew, even in concrete, they are indestructible.”

WATCH: EFF memorial service for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

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