Picture: @mphathinxumalo

Durban – The Ahmed Kathrada memorial descended into chaos on Sunday afternoon as a rowdy crowd of ANC Youth League members heckled and booed speakers including former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize.

This was despite the Durban High Court granting an interdict preventing members of the youth league from disrupting proceedings at the event held at Sastri College in Greyville, Durban.

The organisers, the Active Citizens Movement (ACM), had approached the court at the weekend trying to bar Youth League members from attending. The court granted the YL permission to attend the event but said that they should not disrupt the event.

League leaders were also instructed to issue statements in which members were told to behave properly. League provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo addressed the memorial service and urged league leaders to respect members of the ANC. He reminded the crowd that Gordhan was a leader of the party as he sits on its national executive committee.

However this fell on deaf ears as league members broke into song during Gordhan’s speech and even booed the former minister. ANC provincial chairman Sihle Zikalala tried to calm the league members, however the heckling continued until Gordhan completed his brief address.

Mkhize, who spoke last, was also heckled with some league members saying that he had “sold out” by speaking publicly against President Jacob Zuma’s decision to reshuffle the cabinet.

During his address Gordhan emphasised the importance of unity in the ANC but said that “unity cannot be based on brown bags of money”.

This incensed the league whose many members carried placards which read “The ANC Youth League in KZN supports the cabinet reshuffle”, in reference to the recent cabinet reshuffle which saw Gordhan axed as minister of finance. After the event Sabelo said Gordhan’s statement about bags of money was a clear act of provocation against the Youth League members.

Zikalala condemned the incident.

The Mercury