Angered by President Jacob Zuma’s words to the late stalwart, the Ahmed Kathrada family and foundation calls on the President to apologize.
The family was lashing out at Zuma over his comments suggesting that the late stalwart was being persuaded to write a letter urging him to step down as South Africa’s President.
Kathrada died in March this year but prior to his death, he wrote a letter to Jacob Zuma calling him to submit to the calls of the people and resign as president.
The letter caused a huge stir earlier this year when it was read during his funeral‚ which Zuma did not attend.
The anti-apartheid activist reportedly castigated himself for ‘not speaking out’ on various aspects of the president’s public life, including Nkandla, his association with the Gupta family, among other concerns. He said he had thought the ‘NEC would have dealt with this as the collective leadership of the ANC’.
However, Jacob Zuma said during his final address as ANC president at the weekend, that he didn’t believe Kathrada wrote the letter himself.
“Comrade Kathrada‚ in his day‚ would not write such a letter to me. When he’s old‚ he now gets into writing letters. Why? I think I know why. Even the language … Bear in mind‚ I worked as an intelligence (operative). I can read what others can’t read in a letter‚ even who possibly influenced this letter. People were very much unfair to influence comrades who are advanced in age.”
Meanwhile, the Kathrada foundation reminded Zuma that Kathrada’s views were widely held‚ pointing out that leading figures like Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu had also called for his resignation.
“To hint that Kathrada was an old senile man‚ who was prone to being manipulated‚ is nothing short of an insult to the struggle icon’s lifelong activism‚” the foundation said in a statement.
“President Zuma’s statements are also deeply hurtful to the struggle stalwart’s family‚ and the staff‚ the Board and management of the Foundation who worked with Kathrada – activists who have always served and acted with the highest degree of integrity‚ and with great deference to the stalwart. While Kathrada would often seek advice from those around him‚ he ultimately made his own decisions‚ which were respected,” the foundation stated.
Balton says if the president had his doubts, he should have approached Kathrada while he was still alive