Ramaphosa vows to go visit Marikana widows at Madikizela-Mandela's funeral
President Cyril Ramaphosa says he will visit the widows of those killed during the Marikana shooting -hopefully with EFF leader Julius Malema at his side.
Ramaphosa during his delivery of the eulogy at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s official funeral on Saturday at the Orlando Stadium said she had told him at her 80th birthday that she would take him and Malema to visit Marikana.
"We could not go because you were not well. You are gone now. I am left to go alone. But I will be guided by your spirit," Ramaphosa said.
"And I know that Julius Malema will go with me so that we can go and heal the wounds of the Marikana widows."
Ramaphosa was a non-executive director on the board of the Lonmin mine at the time the tragedy unfolded in which 44 mineworkers were killed during a protest at the mine by the police.
Ramaphosa’s role in the tragedy has been highly criticized. In 2017 he apologised for the manner in which the Marikana massacre unfolded, saying he was sorry for the type of language he used at the time in e-mails sent to government officials.
Malema had also addressed the funeral on Saturday, in which he referred to the visit that had not yet happened.
"Mama, the widows of Marikana are still in tears. What must we tell them," Malema asked, saying they were promised a quiet visit.
"What must I tell them? What about those who killed the husbands of Marikana widows for selfish profits? What must we tell them? Tell us ma. Give us a sign."
Ramaphosa said he would propose to the ANC’s national executive committee that Madikizela-Mandela be given the ANC’s highest honour of Isitwalandwe/Seaparankwe, which is given to those who have made an outstanding contribution and sacrifice to the liberation struggle.
"I’m sorry Mama that your organisation delayed in according you its honour," Ramaphosa said.
He said he had a conversation with her shortly before her death about her worries and her wishes.
"She spoke of her deep desire for unity and the renewal not only of the movement that she loved dearly, but also of the nation. She wanted a South African nation that would heal the divisions of the past and eradicate the inequality and injustice of the present," Ramaphosa said.
He said she wanted the ANC to honour the commitment that is set in the Freedom Charter " that the people should share in the country’s wealth and that yes, the land should be shared amongst those who work it and yes that it should be returned and expropriated for the benefit of our people as a whole."
Ramaphosa said Madikizela-Mandela spoke of many thoughts she had about how the revolutionary ideals and morality of her movement should be restored and not be undermined by corruption and self-enrichment.
"Just as Mam’ Winnie has united us in sorrow, let us honour her memory by uniting in common purpose. Let us honour her memory by pledging here that we will dedicate all our resources, all our efforts, all our energy to the empowerment of the poor and vulnerable. Let us honour her memory by pledging here that we will not betray the trust of her people, we will not squander or steal their resources, and that we will serve them diligently and selflessly," Ramaphosa said.