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Ramaphosa hits out at Winnie critics

Winnie Madikizela- Mandela flanked by President Cyril Ramaphosa and EFF leader Julius Malem Image: ELMOND JIYANE.
Winnie Madikizela- Mandela flanked by President Cyril Ramaphosa and EFF leader Julius Malem Image: ELMOND JIYANE.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned those who criticise Winnie Madikizela-Mandela “even in death”.

“There are some within our borders and beyond who have sought to demonise her character even in death by referring to what they deem to be massive excesses on her praxis of the revolutionary struggle against apartheid.

Ramaphosa spoke at the Mphuthumi Mafumbata Stadium in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday.

He said Madikizela-Mandela “hated” corruption and state capture.

“If there was anything Winnie hated‚ [it] was corruption and this demon that has come into our midst now called state corruption … and state capture.”

Ramaphosa said South Africans should have the “great courage” Madikizela-Mandela had.

“As Winnie served our people‚ she did not serve her own family. She did not serve any other interests. She only knew to serve the people of South Africa and that is what she was committed to.”

Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela’s “lifelong” task was to renew and strengthen the ANC.

“We will unite the African National Congress. Her glorious movement.”

Ramaphosa said the ruling party would continue with its land reform programme to “correct the original sin of the violent dispossession of our people’s land and its wealth”.

“Winnie will only rest in peace if we restore the dignity of our people by ensuring that they have an equal claim to the land of the forebears and their birth. I want to ensure all that this we will not retreat from.” Ramaphosa praised Madikizela-Mandela as a symbol of female emancipation.

“Throughout her life as a political activist‚ she did not conform to the politics of respectability and sexist gender roles. She did not see women as being inferior to men by any measure at all.”

Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela never succumbed to the apartheid government’s torture‚ imprisonment and banishment.

“She emerged out of every situation meant to break her even stronger and more powerful‚ more courageous and much more determined‚” Ramaphosa said.

“Not once did she succumb to that persistent inner voice that always in fear of pain and loneliness offers the unsolicited advice that one must hang up their boots and live to fight another day.”

Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela earned the title ‘Mother of the Nation’ on the streets and in the trenches in the struggle against apartheid.

“It was not a title that was given to her in some boardroom or in some meeting.”

Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela related to the impetuousness of the youth.

“She identified more with the radicalism and impetuousness of the youth than with the conservatism associated with many of her age.”

The memorial service was attended by leaders of various political parties including the DA‚ UDM‚ Inkatha Freedom Party‚ IAC‚ EFF‚ COPE and others.

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