Members of the public write their message of condolences at the memorial service for anti-apartheid struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada held at Greek Hall in Brooklyn, Pretoria. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Pretoria – Some hard-hitting words were spoken at the first of four memorial services for the late Struggle giant Ahmed Kathrada in Pretoria on Wednesday night.

Axed finance minister Pravin Gordhan was the keynote speaker at the service held at the Greek Orthodox Church.

Here are the 6 best quotes:

* “Some people are interpreting my appearance on these platforms and campaigning as me wanting my job back. This is not about me or Mcebisi Jonas (his axed deputy). I don’t want my job back. I was meant to retire a long time ago. But don’t try to malign me. I didn’t apply for this job. I was asked to take it on.” – Pravin Gordhan

* “It started with an SMS saying come back (from London). I had to change my flight from Tuesday to Monday. Then Comrade Kathy dies. Then the funeral. Then the reshuffle. Then on Monday we are told about the reshuffle.” – Gordhan on the past 10 days, which he called quite interesting.

* “There’s this new phenomenon that the rand must fall and all you need to do is pick it up. That’s the incorrect thing to tell poor people." – Gordhan

* “There’s a limit to the lies one can tolerate. Don’t blame the chief executive of Sassa or the Treasury and leave 17 million people in anxiety. Take ownership and say I did not keep an eye on this as I should have,” Gordhan said of Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan addresses mourners at the Ahmed Kathrada memorial in Pretoria.

* “History will say that you and Comrade Jonas were men of integrity. You’re people committed to your job and the people of South Africa as a whole.” Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, former executive mayor of the capital city, lamenting Gordhan’s firing and Kathrada’s death in the same week.

* “It was his dying wish that the president should not attend his funeral. It was his dying wish,” said Professor Firoz Cachalia, executive director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said.

Gordhan is set to address people at the Cape Town Remembers Ahmed Kathrada service at St George’s Cathedral in Wale Street, at 2pm on Thursday.

Gordhan will be joined on the podium by Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, Robben Island veteran Eddie Daniels, and Sheikh Igshaan Taliep from the United Ulema Council of South Africa.

Social justice warriors Phumeza Mlungwana (Social Justice Coalition), Vuyiseka Dubula (Africa Centre for HIV Management) and Sarita Pillay (Ndifuna Ukwazi) will also address the meeting.

On Sunday, he will address mourners in Durban.

Pretoria News