2017-03-29 08:41

President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

Johannesburg – President Jacob Zuma will abide by struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada’s family’s wishes not to attend his funeral on Wednesday.

”President Zuma will not attend the funeral and memorial service in compliance with the wishes of the family,” said a statement ahead of the funeral of one of the last Rivonia trialists, and one of Zuma’s fellow prisoners on Robben Island.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the government delegation going to the funeral and Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting has been postponed to accommodate the ministers attending the funeral.

Kathrada died in hospital in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning and will be laid to rest at the West Park cemetery in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

Zuma he offered condolences for the loss of one of the nation’s ”valuable and most respected freedom fighters”.

He said: “The passing of Mr Kathrada is a monumental loss not only to his family but to all South Africans as he was one of the fearless and dedicated architects of the free and democratic South Africa.”

Zuma said he had sacrificed his personal freedom and persevered through hardships for the liberation of all South Africa and to create a democratic, non-racial, peaceful and prosperous South Africa.

Kathrada was among a number of anti-apartheid struggle veterans who called for Zuma to step down and openly criticised the African National Congress, the party he was aligned too.