12/04/2018 07:40 SAST | Updated 12/04/2018 07:40 SAST

Malema To Address Winnie's Funeral Despite Fears Of ANC Leaders

There is some unhappiness about the arrangement that Malema will hijack the funeral, but ANC leaders say they cannot deny the family's request for him to speak.

Felix Dlangamandla/ Foto24 via Getty Images
A tribute wall in honour of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela is unveiled outside ANC headquarters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg, South Africa, on April 9 2018.

EFF leader Julius Malema has reportedly been asked to speak at Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's official funeral on Saturday but some ANC leaders fear he will hijack the event, according to a Times Select report.

Madikizela-Mandela's family specially requested that Malema address the funeral, according to the report. His name appears on the latest programme, government spokesperson Phumla Williams confirmed to Times Select, although EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Mandela reportedly could not confirm this.

But senior ANC members reportedly fear that Malema will hijack the event, especially after comments he made at the EFF's own memorial service on Wednesday. Malema reportedly lashed out at the ANC, calling Gwede Mantashe an "ant" who had no right to speak about Madikizela-Mandela and criticising President Cyril Ramaphosa for dancing during the mourning period at a ceremony in Limpopo.

An ANC NEC member reportedly told Times Select that the ANC could not deny the family's request for Malema to speak.

"Mama loved Julius. As the ANC, we can't say no because he is coming from another party," he reportedly said.

News24 quoted Malema as saying Madikizela-Mandela was better than the ANC government, as she was able to uplift the Brandfort community but the government could not. He also reportedly criticised the government for protecting apartheid symbols such as the statue of Paul Kruger in Pretoria, but not protecting her Brandfort home.

Madikizela-Mandela will be given a "special official funeral category 1" funeral by the government on Saturday, at the Orlando West stadium in Soweto.

According to eNCA, government established an interministerial committee to oversee the arrangements, led by Minister in the Presidency Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Deputy President David Mabuza reportedly briefed political party leaders on the arrangements at the Union Buildings on Wednesday. All leaders of political parties have reportedly been invited to attend the funeral.

The funeral will be addressed by Ramaphosa and Mabuza, and there will be tributes from friends, family members and organisations who worked closely with Madikizela-Mandela, News24 reported. Various dignitaries and international guests are expected to attend, including American civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.