Clarity on the postponement of the Ahmed Kathrada Official Memorial Service

Pretoria - The Presidency has noted conflicting media reports and social media commentary on the events surrounding the request for postponement of the Official Memorial Service of the late Mr Ahmed Kathrada. The event was due to take place on Saturday, 01 April 2017 in Soweto.

We wish to place it on record that Deputy President Ramaphosa did not cancel the memorial service but requested a postponement.

The facts are that Deputy President Ramaphosa had been tasked by President Jacob Zuma to lead the government delegation and address the memorial event. Earlier in the week, Deputy President Ramaphosa had led the government delegation to Mr Kathrada's funeral at the West Park Cemetery, Johannesburg, as delegated by President Jacob Zuma.

Government's participation in the funeral and at official memorial service was coordinated by the Inter-Ministerial Committee responsible for state and official funerals.

On the eve of the scheduled memorial event, Deputy President Ramaphosa was of the view that inadequate preparations had been made to enable a successful official memorial service and that in view of political developments in the country, a postponement was required to afford South Africans an opportunity to honour Mr Kathrada with the requisite honour and dignity.

Based on this assessment, Deputy President Ramaphosa requested the Director-General in The Presidency, Dr Cassius Lubisi, to convey to the Inter-Ministerial Committee the Deputy President's suggestion that the memorial service be postponed until the situation is reassessed.

Based on Deputy President Ramaphosa's recommendations, the Inter-Ministerial Committee responsible for state and official funerals duly effected the postponement.

The Presidency then communicated the proposal for a postponement to the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

President Jacob Zuma was not involved in these processes.

Government is committed to honouring the late Mr Kathrada at an appropriate time in consultation with the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the family. Such consultation is routinely undertaken in instances where distinguished South Africans are honoured with official funerals.

Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family and friends of the late Mr Kathrada who is held in high regard by government and the people of South Africa.

We regret all the confusion, hurt and confusion that has been caused by this postponement. We will make further announcements on the date and nature memorial as soon as details are finalised with all role players.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa