Johannesburg – The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation says it dissociates itself from the speech by Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen, at a rally held in Chatsworth, Durban, on Saturday, (20 May 2023).
In that speech, the DA leader referred to Ahmed Kathradas Indian ancestry and the role he played in the struggle for liberation, and mischievously linked it to the Employment Equity Amendment Bill.
“That the DA has cited Kathradas role in our freedom struggle is appreciated though one wonders where this appreciation was when Kathrada had died,” the foundation said on Tuesday.
Kathrada was an African National Congress leader and struggle hero who spent more than 26 years incarcerated by the apartheid regime, mostly on Robben Island.
“Not a single DA national leader chose to attend his funeral,” lamented the foundation.
“One wonders where this appreciation was throughout the years after his release from prison, where there was no attempt by the DA to engage him to better understand his political values and life.
“Without this one wonders how the DA can even attempt to claim to know what would be his responses to current issues.
“The disturbing point is that the DA narrative assumes that Kathrada would have been enthusiastic about its call for defiance of a law that will be approved by a democratic parliament. And that he would have done so because he was Indian.”
If the DA had made a genuine effort to read the many books, speeches, interviews and articles on Kathrada, it would come to realise the following:
? Kathrada abhorred racism and exploitation.
? Kathrada resented all efforts to sow divisions among the people of South Africa
? Guided by the teachings of Nehru, Sisulu, Dadoo, Naicker and Chief Albert Luthuli, Kathrada placed the unity of the Indian and African people as being of paramount importance.
The foundation said, “it requests from the DA and all political parties to refrain from using the names of liberation heroes and heroines, and in this instance, Ahmed Kathrada, to draw false historical narratives and conclusions from their lives”.
The foundation added: “They are better off educating themselves about what Kathrada actually believed in and using that to guide their behaviour and their public utterances”.