Stoic Gordhan gets standing ovation at funeral of ANC stalwart Kathrada
Gordhan says he was ‘inspired’ by Ahmed Kathrada, and noted the standing ovation was ‘an acknowledgment of a reasonably all right public servant’
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has talked about how he is handling uncertainty about his job and the political drama that has unfolded this week. Speaking to eNCA at Ahmed Kathrada’s funeral‚ Gordhan said he drew inspiration from the late Kathrada and his friend Laloo Chiba.
He explained how he was dealing with the pressure engulfing him and his leadership at the Treasury since their recall from an investment roadshow in London.
"You deal with it in a professional way and as good cadre of the ANC — which is you have been asked to do a particular job‚ you do it as best as you can‚ remembering always that we are here to serve the public and the national good. If one is told services are not required any longer‚ that is the end of one chapter and the opening of a new chapter. We go on asking the question‚ how can I continue contributing to a better SA‚" a calm Gordhan said.
eNCA anchor Cathy Mohlahlana asked him how he sounded so composed: "You have to be content. That is the life that people who hold political office live. Far more important is that we must just be good activists‚ as you heard this morning‚ and live up to the values as best as we can. As I said‚ we will make mistakes from time to time‚ but we draw inspiration from this generation for our encouragement."
President Jacob Zuma‚ in respect for the wishes of the Kathrada family for him not to speak at the funeral‚ did not attend. However‚ former president Kgalema Motlanthe spoke‚ even directly quoting from the late Kathrada’s letter in which he called for Zuma to step down. Kathrada was a strong supporter of Gordhan‚ who received a standing ovation from the thousands who had come to pay their last respects to the struggle stalwart.
Gordhan received the gesture with humility. "I suppose it is an acknowledgment of a reasonably al lright public servant. We grew up as Congress activists in a tradition that says we must be always critical of ourselves. We are not perfect human beings. We will make mistakes from time to time‚ we will have failings from time to time and therefore the ANC always spoke about working as team‚ working as a leadership group‚ remembering our values and criticising ourselves … so that we can adjust our course and make sure that we begin to do the right thing."
Gordhan also shared his views of the letter read by Motlanthe during the funeral. "That letter from Mr Kathrada represented that spirit of criticism in a constructive and positive way. And it is a message to all of us that we have a responsibility to steer this country in the right way‚ not just for our own pockets and ourselves but for the benefit of millions of South Africans.
"In fact‚ SA is the hope of the African continent and the developing world. We should not let them down‚ nor should we let the Mandela and Kathrada spirit down."