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'Umshini wami' tops Red's hit-list

By unknown | Sep 05, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Eric Naki and Canaan Mdletshe

Eric Naki and Canaan Mdletshe

ANC national chairman Mosiuoa Lekota has opened a can of worms by criticising the party's deputy president Jacob Zuma for singing an apartheid-era freedom song Umshini wami.

Lekota's swipe at the ANC deputy president did not go down well with Zuma supporters in the SACP and the Young Communist League (YCL) in KwaZulu-Natal.

The two organisations came out with guns blazing in support of their hero, Zuma, saying Lekota's conduct is "opportunistic" and that he must withdraw his statement and apologise to Zuma.

SACP national spokesman Malesela Maleka found Lekota's remarks "extremely unfortunate" coming as they did from the ANC national chairman.

"The SACP is not merely concerned about this distasteful remark, simply because it is clearly directed at the ANC deputy president, Comrade Jacob Zuma.

"It is also an affront to the collective memory of millions of our people who participated in the struggle against apartheid," said Maleka.

Maleka said liberation songs continue to be sung and inspired people in ongoing worker and mass struggles, deepened the national democratic revolution, helped press for faster delivery of services, and were relevant at commemorative and celebratory occasions in honour of the struggle and its heroes and heroines.

He said songs such as Umshini wamiand others are part of the collective memory of the struggle. They continue to play an important mobilisational role in the ongoing class and other struggles.

"For a leader of the stature of a national chairperson of our ANC, the SACP calls upon comrade Lekota to admit that he seriously erred. He should therefore, in all humility, simply withdraw these remarks and offer an apology.

"The SACP is of the view that we need maximum unity of the ANC and its allies, and focus all our energies towards ensuring a successful 52nd national conference in Limpopo.

"We should not allow whatever individual irritations to cause further stresses within our movement, thus diverting us from this all-important task in front of us," said Maleka

Siyabonga Nene, YCL Umgungundlovu secretary, said Lekota must withdraw the statement and apologise to Zuma and the ANC.

"It is deplorable and regrettable that a person of his calibre could utter such a statement. Our view is that what he said is nothing [other than] a clear attack on Zuma," said Nene.

ANC spokesman Smuts Ngonyama said that he did not think Lekota was attacking Zuma.


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