The state of the capital address in Tshwane started with controversy when ANC councillors interrupted council speaker Katlego Mathebe with insults, and said the sitting should have been postponed to honour the 38th anniversary of the death of struggle hero Solomon Mahlangu.
Before proceedings could begin, ANC councillors held a parade that included a man walking through the hall with a noose around his neck, to symbolise the hanging of the ANC Umkhonto weSizwe cadre in 1979. The councillors held placards which read that the Democratic Alliance had killed Mahlangu.
Emotions were heightened when ANC councillors sang a popular struggle song about Mahlangu while marching toward Mayor Solly Msimanga and his protection unit.
When the commotion was finally halted by Mathebe, ANC councillors stopped her as she was about to begin proceedings with a silent prayer. After much protest, Mathebe agreed to a moment of silence.
Mathebe continued in a desperate attempt to begin proceedings, but ANC members continued singing.
The young activist, who has been saluted as a hero of the struggle against apartheid, was just 23 years old when he was hanged after an unjust trial.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering two white men who were accidentally killed in a scuffle while he was evading arrest by the police.
The annniversary of his death was remembered across Twitter, with some drawing unfavourable comparisons between Mahlangu and President Jacob Zuma:
Zuma is not even supposed to speak at Solomon Mahlangu's memeorial because he is against everything that Mahlangu died for.— 🇵🇦🇳🇩🇮🇸🇲 (@CeezLeo_Khalifa) April 6, 2017
It's exactly 38 years since Solomon Mahlangu was sentenced to death by former DA leaders father Tony Leon. WE REMEMBER! pic.twitter.com/09Qd87BguD— Lucky Light 🇿🇦 (@MadVocate_) April 6, 2017
Today. In 1979, a white racist government hanged a 22 year old son of the soil. A force, a threat to oppression! RIP Solomon Mahlangu— Black Gold (@ShaZ_Mrox) April 6, 2017.