Watch: Zuma commemorates Hani; lashes out at protesters

Freedom fighter Hani, who was also the Umkhonto we Sizwe commander, was gunned down on April 10, 1993, outside his Dawn Park home during the run-up to the country’s first democratic elections.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Thomas Nkobi Memorial Park in Elspark to commemorate the struggle icon.

The event kicked off with a prayer by Reverend Joseph Maphatsoe, with President Jacob Zuma leading the wreath-laying ceremony.

He also unveiled a plaque on the declaration of Hani’s grave and the Chris Hani Memorial and Walk of Remembrance as a National Heritage Site.

Distinguished guests and speakers at the event included Hani’s widow, Limpho Hani, the new police minister Fikile Mbalula, Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, SACP Deputy General Solly Mapaila, Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini, MKMVA’s Kebby Maphatsoe and others.

In his address, Zuma described Hani as a distinguished freedom fighter and revolutionary who lived for his people and believed in a non-racial society.

Zuma slammed the recent protests against him, saying the national protest marches demonstrated that racism is real and exists in our country.

The president also called on all South Africans to fight against racism and work toward a non-racial society, saying racism has become more direct and is no longer hidden as it was during the earlier years of democracy

Hani’s widow, Limpho Hani, took to the podium and thanked the City of Ekurhuleni for making sure that Hani’s grave and the Chris Hani Memorial and Walk of Remembrance becomes a National Heritage Site.

Limpho also used the platform to assure the attendees, including the president, that she is not part of the faction against Zuma.

“I’m aware of rumours claiming that I was with the people who were protesting against Zuma’s presidency. Honourable President and comrades, I do not belong to the faction. I’m a member of the ANC and there is only one ANC‚” said Limpho.

“I refused to play into the hands of those who asked, ‘What would Chris say today?’ I cannot answer that question – what I do know is, Chris was a loyal and disciplined cadre.”

Hani’s widow took a swipe at the anti-Zuma marches, and lambasted civil society for not marching against the rape of women by taxi drivers, the death of more than 100 mentally ill patients at Life Esidimeni and unfair working conditions.

She then thanked Zuma for his support while her daughter battled drugs. She said he was like a father to her throughout all these years.

Last week opposition parties and civil society movements, including Save SA, held protest marches around the country, demanding that Zuma step down following his cabinet reshuffle.

It was then the much-anticipated Mapaila’s turn to take to the podium.

Some factions from the crowd started to boo him while he was running to the podium as a storm was starting.

Listen to Mapaila speaking to the Advertiser:

The heavy rainfall intensified and prevented Mapaila and other speakers from speaking, and the event ended.

The City of Ekurhuleni has designated April as ‘Chris Hani Month’ and has announced in a statement that there will be programmes throughout April to pay tribute to the icon.

A number of commemorative events are also taking place around the country to celebrate his life.

Dignitaries, including the newly appointed finance minister, Malusi Gigaba, gave a memorial lecture at the Boksburg Civic Centre on the evening of April 10.

Masina reportedly warned “white people” and Save SA that things might get “very very rough”. The DA on Tuesday referred the mayor to the metro’s ethics committee after his utterances the opposition party described as ‘uncalled-for remarks’[email protected]

Fanie Mthupha

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