JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, who is a member of the Democratic Alliance (DA), on Monday accused the African National Congress (ANC) of denying him the opportunity to speak at the funeral of Ronnie Mamoepa, the former spokesperson of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mamoepa died on July 22, last year, aged 56, following complications from a stroke he had suffered the previous month.
Mashaba said that Mamoepa was not only his friend, but a brother and a confidant whom he had known for over two decades.
He said the experience of being left out of the funeral programme, after he was billed to speak as a family friend, left a sour taste in his mouth but added that he remained silent until now.
"Being denied the opportunity to fully pay my last respects to Ronnie, as a brother, due to the ANC's political meddling, severely hurt but also left me with little faith in the way of trusting the ANC's ability to put aside petty politicking for a higher purpose," Mashaba said.
"This is why I praised the Madikizela-Mandela family for giving Economic Freedom Fighters' leader, Julius Malema, a chance at the podium, during Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral."
Mashaba said that the ANC orchestrated a change in the funeral's original programme so as to bar him from the proceedings "despite the family's protestations".
He said that he declined an offer by government to record a short video clip with which he would deliver his tribute.
"I was told that the decision to bar me from the formal programme was due to 'time constraints' which would otherwise be experienced at the funeral. Disappointed, I refused the offer and elected to quietly attend the funeral none the less," Mashaba said.
"The ANC now claims that they…will never bar anyone from participating or even speaking in a funeral if and when the family so wishes."
The Presidency declined to comment and the ANC was not immediately available for comment.
African News Agency/ANA