Ahmed Kathrada’s funeral: President Zuma asked to stay away
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has not attended the funeral of veteran anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada at the request of his family, BBC has reported.
Mr Kathrada called on Mr Zuma to resign last year after he became mired in a series of corruption scandals.
Ex-President Kgalema Motlanthe got a rousing applause from mourners when he repeated Mr Kathrada’s call.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who is at risk of being sacked by Mr Zuma, also received a standing ovation.
Mr Kathrada, 87, was buried in the main city, Johannesburg, following his death on Tuesday.
He was jailed alongside Nelson Mandela for fighting against white minority rule.
Mr Kathrada spent more than 26 years in prison before his release in 1989. He later served as an adviser to then-
President Mandela in South Africa’s first democratically-elected government.
Mr Zuma had ordered the national flag to fly at half-mast following his death and had postponed a cabinet meeting so that officials could attend the funeral.
However, Mr Zuma did not attend the funeral and would not attend a memorial service later this week “in compliance with the wishes of the family,” a government statement said.
Mr Kathrada’s wife, Barbara Hogan, is known to be a fierce critic of Mr Zuma.
Mr Kathrada was a member of the governing African National Congress (ANC), which is led by Mr Zuma.