Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa used the platform of the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ (Cosatu) 30th Anniversary to rebuke Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema for his utterances that Nelson Mandela was a sell-out.
Malema made the comments, while addressing the Oxford Union in the United Kingdom, saying that Mandela had turned his back on parts of the revolution after he was released from prison.
Addressing Cosatu members at Durban’s Curries Fountain on Saturday, Ramaphosa took an apparent swipe at Malema.
“Nelson Mandela was no sell-out. These peacetime revolutionaries who were never in the trenches have the temerity to open their mouths about him [Mandela],” he said.
“To those who are now denigrating him and rubbishing his name, I say shame on you.”
Ramaphosa added that Mandela had led the country and then passed on the baton graciously.
Cosatu President S’Dumo Dlamini echoed this sentiment.
“Shame on you Julius. Don’t try and spin this apology. You have made a grave mistake,” he said.
No more than 1500 people filed into the stadium for the celebrations in the wake of the embattled trade union’s national congress.
This comes as some have said the trade union federation is dying.
Small parts of the crowd raised the ire of the master of ceremonies, when they refused to stop singing when he called on all to rise to sing the national anthem.
Another group repeatedly booed every time ANC Provincial Chair Sihle Zikhalala was mentioned.
South African Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande, in a vigorous address to the crowd, called for a “militant and fighting” Cosatu.
“We want a fighting organisation that is not an extension of the government, but is also part of our alliance. We need a second and more radical phase of our transformation, we need to be militant,” he reiterated. NEWS24