Mashaba praises Malema speaking at Winnie funeral but…

Herman Mashaba
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba on Sunday praised the family of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela for giving Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema his turn on the podium‚ but said he was not afforded the same opportunity when “my brother” Ronnie Mamoepa died.

Mamoepa was an ANC member and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson.

“My personal deepest respect to Mama Winnie Mandela’ family for insisting on Julius Malema to speak at her funeral‚ despite serious misgivings from certain quarters‚” Mashaba tweeted.

“The same forces denied me an opportunity to bid farewell to my brother Ronnie Mamoepa.”

Prompted on Twitter to elaborate further‚ Mashaba said he had been on the funeral programme to speak at Mamoepa’s funeral but was suddenly removed the on Friday night. He did not give any further details.

Mashaba said in July last year that Mamoepa was someone who‚ over the past two decades‚ had become more than just a partner and friend to him‚ but a brother and a confidant.

He said at the time that “it was Ronnie’s integrity that struck me the most. He is one of the few human beings in life who truly had integrity.”

Mamoepa‚ who was a former political prisoner and member of the Gauteng provincial legislature‚ died in July 2017 after an illness.

Following his death‚ the presidency described him as a “highly regarded and accomplished public servant and veteran communicator who served the African National Congress and various departments in government with distinction“.

Mamoepa was given a provincial funeral. Among those who spoke at his funeral was the former deputy chief justice‚ Judge Dikgang Moseneke‚ MP Paul Mashatile‚ speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete and Ramaphosa‚ who at the time was the deputy president.

The ANC on Sunday denied that it blocked Mashaba from speaking at Mamoepa’s funeral.

“The ANC will never bar anyone from participating or even speaking in a funeral if and when the family so wishes‚” said spokesperson Pule Mabe.

“The ANC and all its structures‚ including alliance partners‚ have always displayed highest levels of political tolerance including allowing families space to preserve their own cultures and values as well as conducting these activities in a manner that they too find befitting‚ consulting and working with them closely‚” he added.

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema spoke at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral on April 14 2018 after a special request from her family.