Verena Funeral: Baleka Mbete’s hasty defence, diehard support, unalloyed loyalty and absolute confidence in President Jacob Zuma have continued to baffle South Africans.
Zuma, on a very good number of occasions, has experienced hell, resentment, indignity and humiliation as a result of his widely-perceived failed government.
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He has often been rescued by his loyalists ‘everywhere’ – in Parliament, cabinet, provincial structures, the ANC youth league and women wing. At some points, however, he was abandoned to face the music alone.
Recall that President Jacob Zuma expressed bitterness and showed off anger against some of ANC top members, earlier this year, for leaving him in the cold. In fact, he reportedly vowed to rather trust a stone than to trust any of them.
Zuma poured out this grievance after most ANC leaders spoke out against him during Ahmed Kathrada’s funeral. Former ANC leader Motlanthe Kgelame led the crop of Zuma’s critics at the occasion, where he also read a letter by Kathrada, pleading with the president to step down.
Nevertheless, among Zuma’s female supporters, Baleka Mbete, who is also ANC chairperson appears to have remained consistent in drawing her sword against Zuma’s detractors.
Believe it or not, Mbete has gone way too far to the top in protecting Zuma – anywhere, anytime – and there’s no tendency that she might be giving up anytime soon. Not even now that his political career is about to hit the rock.
Within and outside Parliament, the National Assembly speaker had proved severally that protecting the president matters to her than protecting the constitution of the land, even when court rulings found Zuma guilty.
Last Saturday, a funeral was held for twenty pupils who burnt beyond recognition while returning from school in Gauteng.
A bus conveying the pupils had a collision with a truck on the R25 road in Verena, leading to the death of the driver also.
The Verena funeral was attended by prominent South Africans, wellwishers, pupils and ANC big shots, including Baleka Mbete.
Of course, the grieving crowd won’t have asked anything more but consoling speeches from throngs of government speakers who spoke in turns but when it got to Mbete’s turn she used the occasion to throw shades at anti-Zuma protesters.
Speaking in isiZulu, she told the mourners that the ruling party would not disappoint Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela, adding that children should not criticize their families in the streets.
“Even if they toyi-toyi, even if they know how to do demonstrations, we don’t pay attention to them because all they say is just noise,” she said.
However, Mbete’s sentiment didn’t go down well with most citizens, who hurriedly took to the social media to criticize her.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi responded to Mbete’s speech by expressing disappointment that values Zuma and has continued to desperately save him at all times.
“Baleka uses the Verena funeral of children to defend Zuma and basically speak absolute nonsense about protests. It’s the most disgusting ANC campaign,” EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu added.
Others also vilified her on Twitter shortly after her speech.
— Zico Smith (@ZicoAbel) May 6, 2017
— Barney Mthombothi (@mthombothi) May 6, 2017
Baleka Mbete is quite a disgusting, shameless woman. #VerenaFuneral
— Alban O. (@PILLAY_CGLM) May 7, 2017
— Alien (@SAalienate) May 7, 2017