The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has condemned some members of the ANC, and the party, for trivialising the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Speaking at the partyâ€™s memorial ceremony held in the Free State town of Brandfort (where Madikizela was â€˜exiledâ€™ to by the apartheid government), he criticised ANC leaders like Gwede Mantashe for focusing on the negativity, instead of mourning the leader.
â€œGwede joined the ANC in 1992, so what does he know about Winnie?â€ Malema asked.
Malema also said that the likes of Mantashe did not know the kind of sacrifices Winnie Madikizela-Mandela made for the ANC and the country, so he had no right to criticise her in the media.
Struggle icons like Oliver Tambo were never treated by the ANC the way Madikizela-Mandela was, Malema further said.
The EFF commander in chief (CIC) also said the leading party has failed at providing decent public services like health and education, despite these being some of the issues Winnie Madikizela-Mandela fought for. He promised the people of Brandfort that the EFF will help fight with them until the leading party provides the community with its necessities.
The Democratic Allianceâ€™s Patricia De Lille said we should always remember the important role the Winnie Mandela played in the fight against apartheid. â€œMama Winnie spoke against the truth to power of the previous regime and she spoke truth to the power to the current regime,â€ she said.
De Lille, who was one of the keynote guests at the memorial service, also spoke about the role Madikizela-Mandela played in the fight for free ARV treatment for the poor who were infected with HIV.
She said: â€œIn 2000 in Durban, when we had a government led by then President Thabo Mbeki who believed HIV/Aids did not exist, we marched together in Durban with Mama Winnie to demand ARVs for our people.â€
De Lille concluded by referring to Winnie Mandela as not only the mother of the nation, but the flower of the nation as well.
On Thursday, the DA federal executive chairperson James Selfe said that De Lille had not obtained permission from him to attend the EFF memorial service.
Watch Malemaâ€™s full speech below: