Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has accused the ANC of “shabby treatment” and abusing the Mandela name, reports said.
According to online reports, the struggle veteran blasted the ANC in a letter addressed to party spokesman Jackson Mthembu, saying: “We (the Mandela family) only matter when we have to be used for some agenda.”
The ANC MP and ex-wife of former president Nelson Mandela reportedly wrote the letter in response to a request by Mthembu for a meeting on July 5 to discuss the ANC's centenary celebrations.
The meeting was also meant to address her travel to Limpopo where President Jacob Zuma gave a lecture honouring Nelson Mandela on Tuesday.
Madikizela-Mandela did not attend the event. Ndileka Mandela, a granddaughter from Mandela's first marriage instead delivered a message from her grandfather. Mandela's wife Graca Machel also attended Tuesday's event.
According to reports, in the letter addressed to “Comrade Jackson”, Madikizela-Mandela kicks off with an accusation of “shabby treatment” of many years, singling out the ANC's centenary celebrations in Mangaung in January.
“We are deeply hurt as the family. We did not even have a table and the situation was saved by Mrs Bridgette Radebe (wife of justice minister Jeff Radebe).”
Madikizela-Mandela said she was “surprised” when the ANC approached her to be part of the centenary celebrations because “in 2011 when you were preparing for 2012, I was a spectator throughout”.
“I was not deployed anywhere. I am the one person who has first(hand) information about the leaders you are celebrating. I would have given you the song that was composed for that day,” she writes.
Madikizela-Mandela then tackles what she considers the party’s deeply disrespectful treatment of her by the ANC of Mandela.
She said that in the past the ANC had no interest in celebrating Mandela's birthday except to “gate-crush (sic) family arrangements”.
She takes issue with the way in which the party, through chairman Baleka Mbete, took the ANC's centenary flame to Mandela in his village of Qunu, in Eastern Cape, in May.
“The manner in which the flame was brought to Tata [Mandela] left much to be desired. There was no parade of the soldiers as there was to me. It was clear that it was done to someone's ego not to the family,” the letter reads.
Madikizela-Mandela accused the party of allowing the torch to be taken to her Soweto home only after intervention by Gauteng ANC leaders, including provincial chairman Paul Mashatile and provincial secretary David Makhura.
Then, Madikizela-Mandela turns the focus on herself, lambasting the party for neglecting her.
Though she had been in hospital several times since January 25, she had not received “even one phone call from Luthuli House”.
Madikizela-Mandela accuses Mthembu of giving a false interview, saying: “I was recuperating from an ankle operation when you did not even care what kind of an operation I had… I never had an ankle operation; I had a knee operation.”
And, she says, the insults she mentions in her letter are merely a few of “a hundred others”.
“No one has cared to establish how we are doing as a family. It is quite clear that we do not matter at all.
“We only do (matter) when we have to be used for some agenda.”
Mthembu told Sapa on Wednesday morning: “We do not comment on internal communications.” - IOL, Sapa