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ANC Youth League president Julius Malema has used former public works MEC Pandelani Ramagoma's funeral to call for unity in the party.
Ramagoma, famously known as "Sparks", was laid to rest at Vondwe cemetery outside Thohoyandou in Limpopo on Saturday. He died, together with his driver Richard Netshandama, on Monday last week in a car accident near Bandelierkop and Louis Trichardt.
Malema told mourners that the ANC and Limpopo premier Cassell Mathale were under attack from opportunists on a campaign to divide the party.
He also slammed members fighting for position and dividing the ANC.
More than 2000 mourners joined the bereaved Ramagoma family as they struggled to accept the loss of their loved one, who was described by many as a dedicated communist who played a role in transformation of the government.
Malema said the party and Mathale were under siege from "spoilers and opportunists" while trying to focus on service delivery.
It appears that the party leaders, who were united towards the provincial conference, did not have common ground as a rift has allegedly emerged within the party.
Malema appealed for the party to be united in honour of the spirit of Ramagoma and advised Mathale not to retreat from threats by opportunists.
He said the province was not at peace from the reactionary forces who were out to disrupt the party.
"When everybody is concentrating on building a strong ANC the spoilers are emerging, the spoilers are disrupting peace under the leadership of Mathale. Opportunists are emerging claiming that they deserve this, not that," Malema said.
"We don't owe them anything, nor does Mathale owe them anything. Whatever criticism they hurl at Mathale, as long as it is not justifiable, the premier must not retreat."
With the relationship between Malema and provincial Youth League leader Lehlogonolo Masoga reportedly sour, Malema said spoilers should stop using Masoga's name to divide the party.
Malema paid tribute to Ramagoma and asked the ANC leadership to continue to visit Ramagoma's family.
He slammed those who forget about freedom fighters who had left their families and dedicated their lives to the party.
"You must make sure that Ramagoma's family is taken care of," Malema said.
Meanwhile, Young Communist secretary Buti Manamela paid his last respects to Ramagoma by calling for a solution to the crisis affecting the people of Moutse.
Manamela said Ramagoma died wanting to see the problems of Moutse resolved and it would be an honour for him to have them solved.
SACP secretary Blade Nzimande said they would revive the financial sector campaign in honour of Ramagoma as the majority of people continue to lose their jobs and be blacklisted because of the global recession.
Also paying tribute were ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, Cosatu secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, cabinet ministers who hailed from Limpopo, Limpopo MECs and Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane.
Ramagoma is survived by his mother, wife Mashudu Rambuda, and five children.