ANC stalwart and Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni is being laid to rest in a Special Official funeral on Wednesday.
Mlangeni died at the age of 95 in Pretoria last week.
President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a Special Official funeral Category 1.
Mlangeni is survived by four children; sons Aubrey and Sello, and daughters Maureen and Sylvia. His wife June died in 2001 after 50 years of marriage.
Mlangeni was awarded Isithwalandwe/Seaparankwe – the highest honour by the ANC for those who have made an outstanding contribution to the liberation Struggle in 1992 – and received the Presidential Order for Meritorious Service: Class 1: Gold from President Nelson Mandela in 1999, the Presidency said on Thursday.
The stalwarts and veterans of the ANC strongly criticised the party’s choice of former president Jacob Zuma to headline the memorial service last week for Mlangeni, saying to sully Mlangeni’s memory “in such a cynical manner is distasteful and unbecoming of the African National Congress”.
In a letter to ANC general manager Febe Potgieter-Gqubule, and copied to secretary-general Ace Magashule and his deputy Jessie Duarte before Friday’s online memorial service, the stalwarts and veterans urged the ANC to rescind its choice of Zuma to undertake the “reflections” for Mlangeni.
“We write with great urgency to express our consternation regarding the programme of the African National Congress to memorialise Isithwalandwe comrade Andrew Mlangeni,” the letter said.
“We have noted that cde Jacob Zuma will headline this programme at 17.00 today [Friday] and make so bold as to warn of the unsuitability of choosing him to fulfil this important role. We do so mindful of cde Zuma’s constitutionally improper conduct during his tenure as president of the ANC, as well as of the raft of very serious charges of corruption for which he is to stand trial, not to mention his alleged enabling role in state capture, which is a central concern of the state capture inquiry presided over by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. These matters stand in direct contradiction to the moral and revolutionary integrity embodied by cde Mlangeni.”
Mlangeni had been most forthright in his condemnation of Zuma’s behaviour, going so far as to say that, despite having spent 10 years with Zuma on Robben Island, should he be found guilty of the offences levelled against him, Zuma should be returned to that prison to serve his sentence.