Former ANC NEC member Barbara Hogan has rejected suggestions by President Jacob Zuma that her late husband Ahmed Kathrada’s final letter to him had been faked.
Zuma on Friday told the SABC that Kathrada’s final letter‚ which was critical of his presidency of the country and the party, has been “influenced” by others.
Kathrada would “not have written such a letter to me”, Zuma claimed, adding that “even the language” suggested that others had influenced him in his “advanced age”.
Hogan, a non-voting delegate at the party’s national elective conference in Nasrec, told journalists on Monday that Zuma’s statement was “shocking”.
“A prophet is never heard in his own country, and I reject [the allegation] with absolute contempt.
“In the last draft, if you look at the emails, Kathy said to his Foundation: ‘This is my final draft, I’ll leave it to you and you change it where you will.’
“When you look at the final draft, it was actually what appeared.”
Her late husband and famed struggle veteran had decided, “quite a long time ago”, to write the final public letter, she continued.
“And it really hurts me, because he spent months … crafting this letter, because it was one of the most painful things he felt he ever had to do.
“And when he writes that last email to the Kathrada Foundation, he says: ‘I have said my say, and I have no more to say.'”
She said that the tactic of not looking at the message, but rather attacking the messenger, was out of order.
“[In] particular, a member of that status. It’s shocking,” she said.
The Kathrada Foundation on Sunday sent out both draft and final versions of Kathrada’s letter in order to prove its authenticity.
It demanded an apology from Zuma for attempts to “defame the memory of Kathrada”.
The letter was also read out at his funeral by former president Kgalema Motlanthe in March, and received a standing ovation from those in attendance.