Ahmed Kathrada Foundation director Neeshan Balton, who acknowledged the now former finance minister Pravin Gordhan at the funeral of the iconic struggle veteran this week – leaving him in tears – remains resolute on his decision to do so.
“This gesture was really in keeping with what Mr Kathrada would have wanted,” Balton said. “I am confident that he would have found nothing wrong with what I have done and he would have appreciated it.”
Gordhan, who attended the funeral on Wednesday, received a standing ovation after being recognised by Balton as a man of integrity.
He was moved to tears when Balton pointed out that he stood for the same principles as Kathrada who died on Tuesday morning at age 87.
“When Pravin Gordhan was to appear in court Uncle Kathy said to us, I want to be the first one there to accompany him into court,” Balton said.
“Irrespective of whether you are a minister or not in days or weeks to come, you are true to the values and principles that Ahmed Kathrada would have been proud of.”
President Jacob Zuma summoned Gordhan on Monday from an international investor roadshow in the UK and Europe, thus creating fears that he would axe him through a Cabinet reshuffle. He fired him, along with numerous other ministers and deputies, on Thursday night.
Balton said Kathrada would have been worried about the war against Gordhan.
“And I am sure he would have voiced his concern.”
Kathrada had huge admiration and respect for Gordhan “both as an individual and as an activist and for his integrity”, he added.
Former president Kgalema Motlanthe, in delivering Kathrada’s eulogy, had also taken the opportunity to quote the veteran’s open letter to Zuma where he called for him to step down.
However, the ANC Youth League has said Balton “shamelessly used his privileged position as chair of this foundation to fight his own battles by barring the president from attending the funeral of his own comrade”.