Rivonia trialist Denis Goldberg has turned on President Jacob Zuma, saying the under-fire statesman has failed as a leader.
Goldberg had harsh words for Zuma and the state of the ruling party on Tuesday before he accepted the Human Rights Legacy Honour by the ANC’s Gaby Shapiro branch.
He explained that he felt betrayed by the man he had defended for many years, and that what was happening in the country now was a great tragedy.
“At a time of upheaval in my governing party, it is encouraging to be honoured by a branch of the ANC. I’ve been quite outspoken on issues about the need for the renewal of leadership of the ANC. I still stand by that.”
Two years ago, Zuma awarded him the order of Luthuli in Silver for his commitment to the struggle against apartheid and service to the people of South Africa.
But on Tuesday an angry and disappointed Goldberg said: “He (Zuma) has failed in his duty to lead. We are leaderless at a time when we need great leadership…It is a great tragedy.”
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As the country comes to grips with the Gupta scandal, which allegedly implicates Zuma and the Gupta family, Goldberg said personal enrichment had staggered the ability of government to ensure the provision of basic human rights.
Goldberg’s comments come in a week when there is renewed focus on the influence of the Gupta family on the country’s executive and appointments at parastatals.
A number of ANC politicians have come out and said the Guptas approached them offering them a position in cabinet.
Goldberg, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and six other MK guerrillas were tried from June 1963 to October 1964 in the Pretoria Supreme Court.
He was charged under the Sabotage and Suppression of Communism Acts for campaigning to overthrow the apartheid government by “violent revolution” and for assisting an “armed invasion of the country by foreign troops”.
He was the only white person sentenced in the Rivonia Trial and spent 22 years in prison. Separated from his comrades, he was sent to the Pretoria Central Prison. “I defended President Zuma to everyone for many years. After his State of the Nation (SONA) speech, he said he had always intended to pay for Nkandla.
“I felt betrayed. When the issue was raised in Parliament, he said ‘I didn’t ask for it, why should I pay?’ Hundreds of thousands were spent on legal fees. I’m happy to see that others are speaking out about this as well. And it does not surprise me one bit,” Goldberg said.
On Tuesday he was awarded the Human Rights Legacy Honour by the ANC’s Gaby Shapiro Branch.
Branch treasurer Karlind Govender said he was a representation of the highest ideals of human rights, and much like many Struggle veterans and elders, is a “hero” and example of ANC values and principles.
“Denis Goldberg is an ANC moral compass, he is a man of integrity, wisdom and honour. He gave his entire life for the pursuit of mankind’s highest values, and we will forever hold him dear to us,” Govender said.
Not only has Goldberg significantly contributed to the foundation of the new South Africa, he has also moved the world forward in the vanguard for equality, dignity for all and strength in human rights.
“Denis Goldberg is unlike others, and as South Africa and the world goes through further turmoil and becomes participators in, victims of and captured by corruption, it is important to know that there is and always will be those who stand against those who wish to corrupt.
“We thank Denis Goldberg for his unwavering, fearless and selfless contributions to the emancipation of South Africa and its people,” he added.
[Source: Cape Times]