Rivonia trialist Denis Goldberg has smacked President Jacob Zuma, describing him as a failed leader.
It is worthy to note that the Rivonia Trial was a trial that took place in South Africa between 1963 and 1964, where ten leaders of the ANC were tried for 221 acts of sabotage designed to overthrow the apartheid system by “violent revolution” and for assisting an “armed invasion of the country by foreign troops”.
So, Goldberg, together with Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and six other MK guerrillas were tried from June 1963 to October 1964 in the Pretoria Supreme Court. He was the only white person sentenced in the Rivonia Trial and he spent 22 years in prison.
Speaking further before accepting the Human Rights Legacy Honour by ANC’s Gaby Shapiro branch on Tuesday night, Goldberg lamented that he felt betrayed by the man he had defended for many years. He decried the state of affairs in the country, describing it as a tragedy.
Goldberg asserted that “He (Zuma) has failed in his duty to lead. We are leaderless at a time when we need great leadership…It is a great tragedy.”
Pouring praises on the struggle icon, deputy Chairperson of the ANC’s Gaby Shapiro Branch, Veronica Simmers said that “Goldberg is one of those who really sacrificed his life with the other Rivonia Trialists for us to enjoy democracy in this country.”
82-year-old Goldberg was also praised for his selfless contribution towards the struggle for freedom in South Africa. He was also honoured for his unwavering, fearless fight for human rights.
Reacting, Goldberg expressed his gratitude for the award. He said,”The biggest thing in our struggle for human rights is to defend our democratic rights.”
The Rivonia trialist also enjoined South African youths to educate themselves and take the reins in turning the country around.
Goldberg reiterated that he would continue to be fair in and bold in his assertions. He further recalled that “For many years I have called for a renewal of the leadership of the ANC from top to bottom and over and over I’ve been asked do you mean President (Jacob) Zuma, and I said, from top to bottom.”
He said that “from the small village councillor to the bigger municipalities in the metropole to the provinces and to national government, there are very honest politicians, there are some who are not.
Meanwhile, the veteran has strengthened his call for President Zuma to step down. Speaking to News 24 on Wednesday, Goldberg said President Jacob Zuma must do what has to be done and step down.
The Rivonia trialist opined that protecting the country’s democracy requires new leadership, which is lacking.
“I think for some reason, I’m not sure what it is, he is now caught in a position which sometimes seems to be destroying the very thing he built and helped to build and that’s deeply tragic,” he told News24.