Ramaphosa praises ANC stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

Winnie Madikizela Mandela,ex-wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, attends the inauguration ceremony of South African President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria May 24, 2014. REUTERS/Mujahid Safodien/Pool
Winnie Madikizela Mandela,ex-wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, attends the inauguration ceremony of South African President Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria May 24, 2014. REUTERS

South Africa’s new president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), Cyril Ramaphosa has honoured struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Ramaphosa described her as one of the driving forces behind the party’s success. He and other senior ANC officials have visited Madikizela-Mandela at her Soweto home.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has been struggling with her health recently and had been unable to attend the party’s January 8 celebrations, a key event on the political calendar.

After taking over the ANC presidency from Jacob Zuma, one of Cyril Ramaphosa’s biggest challenges is building unity within the party ranks.

“This pilgrimage is taking us through the length and the breadth of the country, visiting our past leaders, the forbearers of our movement, particularly the past presidents of our movement as well as a number of other key leaders in our movement,” Ramaphosa said.

While visiting Ms. Madikizela-Mandela, Ramaphosa commended her for her dedication to the party.

“To come and draw inspiration from an outstanding daughter of our country, who has contributed so much and who also sacrificed so much for our struggle,” He said

Madikizela-Mandela says she’s honoured by the visit.

“It is quite clear now that we are on a new route to revive the African National Congress. I’m very proud of this new leadership. I think we’ve had this leadership at the right time when we needed the ANC not only to be inspired by us but by this new energy and we have every hope that there is going to be renewal of the ANC,” Madikizela-Mandela said.

The new ANC leadership faces a steep challenge: to unify the party and revive the country’s flagging economy. An endorsement from a stalwart like Winnie Madikizela-Mandela may be the boost that they need to accomplish that task.