Axed ministers hailed at Kathrada's memorial

Indo Asian News Service

Johannesburg, April 1 (IANS) Standing ovations, stamping feet and screams of admiration greeted ousted Indian-origin Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas at the memorial ceremony for ANC stalwart and revered anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada on Saturday.

Gordhan and Jonas were honoured by a huge crowd of hundreds at the Johannesburg City Hall. Axed Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom and Former Public Service and Administration Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi also attended the ceremony, South Africa's News 24 reported.

The former Finance Minister and his deputy were ousted by President Jacob Zuma over allegations that they held secret meetings abroad in an attempt to undermine the country and its economy.

Gordhan and Hanekom were seated next to former President Nelson Mandela's widow, Graca Machel.

Also in attendance were Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel as well as former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, among others.

Representing the Nelson Mandela Foundation, professor Njabulo Ndebele did not mince words in lashing out at the current state of the ANC-led government.

"A criminal syndicated government is a beast that can swallow us into oblivion," said Ndebele.

The memorial came at a politically heated time, following a cabinet reshuffle by President Jacob Zuma during which he fired a number of ministers.

The Kathrada Foundation Youth Desk's Busi Nkosi during her tribute to Kathrada, shared memories of their jokes together and Kathrada's "teddy bear hugs".

The memorial was originally to be held jointly by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the SA Communist Party. However, following the cancellation of a state memorial, the Gauteng ANC also joined in on the commemoration ceremony.

Kathrada died on Tuesday morning, and his funeral service was held at West Park cemetery in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

President Zacob Zuma was asked by Kathrada's family not to attend the funeral.