Cape Town - Outrage over the heckling of President Jacob Zuma at the official memorial for Nelson Mandela – in front of world leaders and an international television audience – ignores the long history of such behaviour, often at solemn occasions.
More often than not, it has been an expression of dissent from within ANC ranks:
* October 2005: ANC members burn T-shirts bearing the face of then president Thabo Mbeki at the court appearance in Durban of ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma on corruption charges. A week later, Zuma calls this unacceptable.
* December 2006: Mbeki is booed and people in the crowd start singing Zuma’s trademark song, Awulethe umshini wami, as the president tries to speak at a reburial ceremony where international guests are present for Struggle hero Moses Mabhida in Pietermaritzburg.
* December 2007: Mbeki is again humiliated at the ANC’s national conference in Polokwane. As he tries to deliver his political report-back, the crowd bays for him to go, making the hand gesture used to signal a substitution in soccer. Mbeki is defeated in his bid for a third term as party president.
* December 2011: Suspended ANC Youth League treasurer Pule Mabe is booed off the stage by Zuma supporters at the funeral of ANC national executive committee member Vusi Mhlongo in kwaDukuza, KwaZulu-Natal.
* August 2011: ANC Youth League members burn a T-shirt bearing a picture of Zuma’s face outside the ruling party’s headquarters in Joburg before the party’s disciplinary hearing for the league’s then suspended president Julius Malema, its spokesman Floyd Shivambu, league deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi and Mabe.
* February 2012: Zuma is heckled during a memorial lecture at the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town. Fist fights break out and chairs are thrown. Six ANC Youth League members later face disciplinary action from the party.
* October 2013: A furious Western Cape and DA leader Helen Zille accuses Zuma of standing by as protesters boo her off the stage and disrupt the launch of the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone.
* The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Independent Newspapers