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Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: THAPELO MOREBUDI
Former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: THAPELO MOREBUDI

The families of deceased ANC veterans rejected planned visits by former president Jacob Zuma and the MK party, saying they won’t allow the stalwarts’ memory to be used as pawns in “political opportunism”.

On Wednesday, a poster was circulated announcing Zuma’s campaign in Limpopo, which was scheduled to include visits to the burial sites of former minister Collins Chabane and Peter “Dambuza” Malada in Xikundu village and Venda respectively.

However, the families and foundations of the two men distanced themselves from the visits and rejected any relationship with the recently formed MK party.

The Collins Chabane Foundation criticised Zuma and his MK party for “scouring graves, awakening resting souls, looking for votes and resuscitating broken careers”.

“It was Moses Mabhida, then Dambuza and now it’s Collins Chabane. When will it end? The foundation would like to make it clear that Chabane’s family, the Mhinga royal house, and the foundation have not given the purported organisation permission to visit the family graveyard where the late Chabane has been laid to rest,” it said in a statement.

Chabane, who died in a car crash in 2015, served as a cabinet minister under Zuma.

The family said the move was insensitive and trampling on the spirit of their loved son, brother, uncle, husband and father.

“Chabane was not a coward. He enlisted as a soldier of Umkhonto we Sizwe to fight for his land, country and people without regard for personal harm or benefit. He made his views known without saying much. He lived and died as a member of the ANC. He was quiet and disciplined, committed and dependable. He was humble and hated self-promotion.”

The foundation said Chabane rejected careerism and selling out no matter how difficult the sacrifice.

“Let no-one change his commitment to the liberation struggle, transformation of our country and unity of the struggling people led by the congress movement. His final resting place is a family property that is sacrosanct to the Mhinga clan. The family expects no-one at their graveyard on the date. Let no-one trample upon his soul and name for entrepreneurial political purposes.”

The foundation said it expected the congress movement, led by the ANC and Umkhonto we Sizwe military veterans, to protect and honour Chabane’s name and all the heroes of the struggle against the exploitation of their sacrifices in pursuit of personal ambitions and division of the people.

Malada’s family said they noted the announcement “with concern”.

“While we acknowledge the challenges our country faces, we emphasise Peter Dambuza was a committed member of the ANC and its military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe and its ideals,” they said.

“The Dambuza Foundation and the Malada family remain loyal to the ANC and we refuse that the name and legacy of commander Dambuza be abused to divide our beloved movement, the ANC.”

It said Dambuza had always voted for the ANC.

“The foundation and the family have no right or wish to change his decision on his grave, consistent with his legacy. We therefore call upon his comrades and the broader community to rally behind the ANC during the upcoming elections.

“This is mischievous and a crude attempt to distort the true values of Dambuza and what he politically stood for throughout his life.”

The family and foundation warned Zuma and the MK party to desist from political opportunism in attempting to honour Dambuza’s memory.


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