28/03/2018 12:18 SAST | Updated 28/03/2018 12:18 SAST

Ahmed Kathrada Must Be 'Rejoicing In The Afterlife' Because Of Changes In Government

"He was forced to write the letter to the previous president to ask him to resign," says struggle veteran Sophia Theresa Williams-de Bruyn.

Sophia Theresa Williams-de Bruyn
Queenin Masuabi
Sophia Theresa Williams-de Bruyn

Anti-apartheid activist and leader of the women's march against the introduction of apartheid pass laws for black women, Sophia Theresa Williams-de Bruyn, says struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada would have been happy with the changes in government.

"Kathrada must be rejoicing in the afterlife because of the changes that have taken place ... what he believed in: his values, his integrity, are now going to be honoured," Williams-de Bruyn said on Wednesday.

She was one of the guests and family members attending the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation's one-year commemoration of the revered freedom fighter's death.

She said Kathrada's open letter to Jacob Zuma asking him to step down was a sign of disappointment at how the country was being run.

"He was forced to write the letter to the previous president to ask him to resign. The poor and the underdogs of this country were being dishonoured," Williams-de Bruyn said.

"In a way, [the open letter] did make a difference. It demonstrated his principles, what he stood for to all of us in the country. He stood for integrity and honesty," she added.

"The money that was looted could have gone to extend housing, people finding jobs and giving them a better life."

In the letter, Kathrada expressed his concerns about Jacob Zuma's ties with the Gupta family and their involvement in the appointment of Cabinet ministers.

"And bluntly, if not arrogantly; in the face of such persistently widespread criticism, condemnation and demand, is it asking too much to express the hope that you will choose the correct way that is gaining momentum, to consider stepping down?" said Kathrada.

Williams-de Bruyn also spoke about how corruption had marred South Africa's reputation.

"We all live in this beautiful country, we know that it is not a poor country, but because of what was happening people are much poorer. The money that was looted could have gone to extend housing, finding jobs and giving people a better life."

Ahmed Kathrada Foundation CEO Neeshan Balton led proceedings and started by reading a passage from Kathrada's memoir, "No Bread For Mandela", in which he reflects on death.

"If I have to die an unexpectedly and unnatural death, please god let me die with dignity," Balton recited.

Queenin Masuabi

"Uncle Kathy" was one of the accused at the famous Rivonia Trial, in which eight people were sentenced to life in prison with hard labour.

He was tried with Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Dennis Goldberg, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni. All the accused were charged with organising and directing uMkhonto weSizwe, the military wing of the ANC, and were found guilty of committing specific acts of sabotage.