Category Archives: ANC Veterans

Eric Mtshali

THE ANC VETERANS LEAGUE MOURNS THE DEATH OF COMRADE ERIC MTSHALI

The ANC Veterans league is deeply saddened by the untimely death of Comrade Eric Mtshali.

Dr Vanguard Mkosana, former NEC member of South African Congress of Trade Unions reflects on the life and times of the late Eric Mtshali.

If moments of historical significance were marked by the blowing of horns and the jingling of bells SA would be standing still to observe the moment, for it has now come. The death of comrade Eric Mtshali and those of his generation mark the end of an era of a rare breed of freedom fighters who were groomed to be highly political, to be trade unionists, to be Umkhonto we Sizwe combatants, be organic intellectuals and above all to be patriotic. All these Comrade Mtshali grew to be.

Comrade Eric Mtshali was born and bred in Durban. He went to school and after Matric he was absorbed into the politics of the country. The ground was very fertile for him to grow fast politically. He was surrounded by powerful leaders both in the African National Congress, South African Communist Party (underground) and in the trade unions. These were leaders, like Chief Albert Luthuli, the then President General

of the ANC, veteran trade unionists like Stephen Dlamini, MP Naicker, Harry Gwala, George Poonen, Moses Mabhida, Dorothy Nyembe and many others. He became active mainly in the trade union movement in the roaring 1950s of the Defiance Campaign 1952, the creation of the first non-racial trade union federation, South African Congress Trade Unions 1955, the adoption of the Freedom Charter 1955, the historic women’s march to the Union Buildings 1956 and the Treason Trial 1956. As a young trade unionist he would carry the membership forms from the unorganized workers while on the other hand he collected the people’s demands for inclusion in the making of the Freedom Charter. Mtshali’s trade union activities started with organizing the dockworkers in the early fifties. When organizing the unorganized workers he encountered a practical challenge of workers who were ready to join the union of their industry while the industrial unions were mostly non-existent. The General Workers Unions were the easy route to solve the problem yet this was a direct challenge to the long established principle of organizing workers according to the industry in which they work. When SACTU was formed in 1955 it embraced the industrial principle but in its fifth Conference it passed a resolution endorsing the formation of General Workers Unions as a temporary home while the industrial unions were in the making. SACTU Local Committees were tasked to give leadership to transition the GWUs to industrial unions and Cde Mtshali played no small role in this.

Comrade Mtshali’s trade union work earned him the honour of being one of the founding members of the SACTU, the first non-racial trade union federation in SA. He attended as the leader of the delegation of African Milling WU.

When Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) was formed in 1961 Cde Eric was tasked with the delicate work of being part of those in charge of the Command structure of MK in Natal. He did his work with distinction until circumstances forced him to go into exile in 1962. It was then that he went for military training in the then Soviet Union and Cuba. He received intelligence training as well. On his return he went to Kongwa the first ANC base in Tanzania. It was here that he rubbed shoulders with the great leaders of our Movement like uncle JB Marks, Moses Kotane, Archie Sibeko (Cde Zola Zembe), Mark Shope, Aaron Pemba (Cde BB), Chris Hani and many others under the able leadership of OR Tambo.

When Wankie and Sepolilo 1967 campaign was conceived to return as trained cadres to confront the enemy, Cde Eric’s intelligence training was put into full use.

In exile Cde Eric’s leadership skills allowed him to be given sensitive assignments without fear of failure. It was in 1971 that he was elected to the Central Committee of the SACP. His theoretical grounding was used to develop young comrades especially after 1976 when oqiniselani flooded the ranks of the ANC in exile. Cde Eric used his training in dialectics to tackle any challenge he encountered. This made him renown as one who would not jump to conclusions but consider all angles of the problem before he aired his views.

The ANC assigned him the responsibility to be the Chief Representative (Ambassador equivalent) in Tanzania where he served until 1976. SACTU deployed him to the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) in Prague to relieve Cde Moses Mabhida who was needed for other responsibilities back in Africa. Before him the same office was serviced by comrades Wilton Mkwayi, Mark Shope, Moses Mabhida then Eric Mtshali who was followed by Joe Molokeng the last SACTU representative at WFTU.

Ray Alexander arguably the mother of progressive trade unionism in SA, working with ILO, linked up with the WFTU Prague based comrades listed above to reignite the trade union movement after the so-called political lull, which followed repression and the banning of the political organisations in 1960. Cde Eric used the broad international network of friends and supporters to mobilise resources necessary to pursue the SA struggle for freedom.

On his return from Prague to Lusaka in 1982, Cde Eric who was a National Executive Committee member of SACTU was charged with the responsibility of Head of Propaganda, Information & Publicity Department of SACTU. This responsibility also meant that he would be the editor of Workers Unity –the SACTU journal. SACTU offices in Western Europe and in Africa flooded SA with literature on progressive trade unionism. Similarly Radio Freedom broadcasting from different Frontline States had a slot, Workers Front which was dedicated to trade union mobilization and education.

At this stage SACTU was under the leadership of comrades John Nkadimeng as General Secretary, Mark Shope as Head of Education, Aaron Pemba/BB as Head of International, Mhleli Mgwayi/Cde Gazi as Head of Internal Department of SACTU, Cde Kay Moonsamy as Treasurer and Cde Stephen Dlamini as President. These are luminaries of trade unionism in South Africa. They consciously built the next generation of leaders. They would say give young people space to work, to explore and commit mistakes so that they could learn from them.

In the 1988 SACTU conference they handed over leadership to the younger comrades and remained as mentors until SACTU resolved to phase out in favour of COSATU in 1990 after the unbanning of political organisations and return of the exiles.

The Movement can pride itself for having produced one of the refined organic intellectuals in the person of Cde Eric whose ideas found expression in the development of dynamic young trade union leaders of the late 1970s and 1980s who are the current leaders of SA.

From
Snuki Zikalala
President of the ANC Veterans League

ANC Veterans Leauge

THE ANC VETERANS LEAGUE MOURNS THE DEATH OF PAGE BOIKANYO

It was with a deep sense of shock and sadness when I was informed that Page had passed away. I had been to his house the previous month to see him, but it never crossed my mind that today we would be gathered in this venue to bid farewell to this gallant fighter and a veteran of our struggle.

I got to know Page when he arrived in Botswana in 1976 together with Moss Mothupi Malaka and Zenzo-who passed on when were studying in Bulgaria- may His Soul Rest in Peace. By then I was based in Botswana and with comrades Keith Mokoape and Isaac Makopo. We were responsible for setting up an ANC underground office, recruiting, training and infiltrating ANC combatants into South Africa.

But then I really got close to him when, after we had been made prohibited immigrants in Botswana. We were instructed to leave for Lusaka, Zambia, where the ANC Head Quarters was based, and after a time, I proceeded to Sofia, Bulgaria where I studied Journalism.

It is here that we developed a close bond of friendship with Page. It was especially so because we got to study the same course at the University of Sofia.

A serious student, Page was always immersed in books. He believed that education was the best investment and read voraciously, from Gorky to Baldwin, from Alex La Guma to Kgositsile and Mazizi Kunene, from Karl

Marx,Lenin to Breytenbach – books, political, poetical and aesthetical. He had even read James Hadley Chase, especially his “No Orchids for Miss Blandish”.

But above all he liked his music and was haughty, and jealously guarded his rare LP’s. Yes, he compiled these and we would enjoy them with him as and when we visited him. Page Bluesman was always with Blues.

Page was a snazzy dresser and quality clothes simply fitted him like they were made specially for him. Nobody can deny the fact that he was neat and tidy and was finicky when it came to disorder.

He was one of those comrades who would not miss the annual brigada, a voluntary exercise undertaken by ANC students in Bulgaria. Every year, without fail, he would be part of the ANC Youth that volunteered during school vacation to work under the sweltering sun from dawn to dusk. From the proceeds of this toil, we would buy the necessary paraphernalia like sowing machines, powerful radios from the then Soviet Union, underwear and the like. These would be shipped to forward countries in Southern Africa where our ANC- Umkhonto we Sizwe combatants resided like Angola, Lusaka, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Our friendship blossomed when we came back home in the early nineties. We would meet occasionally during those testing times and we never forgot where we came from and what our mantra was, for we were moulded by the likes of Oliver Tambo.

We never lost sight of the fact that the struggle did not end with the political power we had attained. As former students from Bulgaria, we regularly met and still meet to further strengthen the bond of yesteryear.

In 2005, when I left the Department of Labour after a three year successful and exciting stint, Page took the baton and ran with it. He worked at the Department of Labour until last year, when his illness forced him to take leave of the department.

We, members of the ANC Veterans League and of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the spear and shield of the struggling masses of our people ,say with firm conviction, we shall always strive for unity of our organisation, even in times of stark adversity and seeming phase of near helplessness.

Lastly, death do not be proud, as you robbed us one of our own. Till we meet again dear comrade, dear brother, dear friend.

To your wife Nkwadi and children, be comforted by the fact that your husband and dad was one of a kind.

He will forever be remembered as a member of a generation of young people who took upon themselves to fight the apartheid regime and build a better life for all our people in South Africa.

Rest in peace Paigeno as we fondly called him. Robala ka kagiso..

SNUKI ZIKALALA PRESIDENT OF THE ANC VETERANS LEAGU

ANC Veterans Leauge

ANC VETERANS LEAGUE MET WITH THE 101 STALWARTS AND RESOLVED TO UNITE AND BUILD A STRONG ANC THAT WILL WIN THE COMING 2019 ELECTIONS.

ANC Veterans League met with members of the 101 Stalwarts task team at Luthuli House in Johannesburg yesterday.

This comes after the ANC Top Six led by President Cyril Ramaphosa met with the ‘101 Stalwarts and Veterans’ on Monday January 14th. At that meeting President Cyril Ramaphosa was informed that the 101 Stalwarts and Veterans and the ANC Veterans League had initiated a process to integrate the Stalwarts and Veterans into the structures of the ANC. The president appreciated the initiative and emphasised the importance of uniting all Veterans and fully integrating them into the organisation as they are the custodians of the ANC’s values and traditions. He requested that there be no parallel structures and that all issues affecting the integrity of the ANC should be addressed through the Veterans League as it is a constitutional structure of the movement.

Yesterday’s meeting was attended by ANC Veterans League NEC members who reside in Gauteng and the Deputy Secretary General of the ANC Jessie Duarte. The 101 Stalwarts and Veterans delegation was led by Wally Serote. The meeting resolved that the integration of the 101 Stalwarts and Veterans into the Veterans League should start immediately. It was agreed that an audit would be conducted and qualifying members of the 101 Stalwarts and Veterans would actively participate and be involved in all structures of the ANC. It was noted by all that the ANC Sub Committee structures would benefit substantially from the expertise and skills of all stalwarts and that this must be welcomed and utilised fully by the organisation.

The ANC Stalwarts and Veterans committed themselves to unite and build a strong Veterans League that will defend the values and traditions of the ANC and ensure the ANC win the forth-coming 2019 elections.

The ANC Veterans League was deeply saddened to learn of the death of one of the country’s struggle icons Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe, the widow of late president of the PAC, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe. May Her Soul Rest in Peace.

The Veterans League would also like to congratulate its stalwart Mama Gertrude Shope who celebrated her 93rd birthday yesterday. She is a pillar of strength and continues to promote the integrity of the ANC’s in all circumstances.

 

issued by

Snuki Zikalala

President of the ANC Veterans League

Stephen Pandula Gawe

THE ANC VETERANS LEAGUE MOURNS THE DEATH OF STEPHEN PANDULA GAWE

It is with deep grief and sadness to inform the South African society about the untimely death of Comrade Stephen Pandula Gawe.

Comrade Stephen Pandula Gawe passed away on the 18 th July 2018 while he was visiting his daughters in Oxford, Britain.

Comrade Gawe is the off-spring of the late Reverend Walker and Regina Gawe who were the active Members of the ANC before it was banned. The former was the President of ANC in the Cape Province and one of the accused in the 1956 Treason Trial.

He was born 5 January 1938 in King Williams Town at St. Chad Mission House. He matriculated at St. Matthews School in 1955 before proceeding to the University of Fort Hare where his studies for BA Honours were abruptly disrupted when he was detained at Fort Glamorgan Prison, for ANC underground activities.

Shortly thereafter, he left the country to continue with his studies at Trinity College, Oxford; Edenburg and Nottingham Universities. His working career started in the ANC offices in London under the then Chief Rep., Cde Mendi Msimang. Later, he became the ANC Chief Rep. in Italy. He represented ANC in various international platforms as part of gaining international solidarity and isolation of apartheid racist minority regime.

Post- apartheid and after the democratic breakthrough, he became South African Ambassador in Norway and Director in the Diplomatic School of the Department of International Relations, respectively. His last posting before retirement was being the Ambassador in Denmark.

He was married to the late Tokie Mzamo-Gawe with whom they were blessed with two daughters, Nomtha and Vuyo. At the time of his death, he was married to Dudu Khoza- Gawe.

He is leaving behind his Wife, Dudu Khoza-Gawe; daughters Nomtha Gray and Vuyo Gawe and Grand- children, Jonas and

Ruby.

His Memorial/ Funeral Services will be held at Congregation Church, Peelton, King Williams Town on Saturday 11 August 2018.

Billy Modise

BILLY MODISE A DEDICATED AND COMMITTED ANC STALWART AND VETERAN HAS PASSED ON

It is with deep sorrow and a profound sense of sadness that the Modise family and the ANC Veterans League announce the death of struggle veteran, Ambassador Billy Modise.

Soft spoken, unassuming, immaculate, determined cadre of the struggle, always wearing a broad and engaging smile, Ambassador Modise was a quintessential diplomat who straddled the world with the ease and confidence.

We make bold to say that he was one of those rare individuals whose immense contribution to the freedom of Southern Africa will forever be carved in the history of our stormy struggle.

Ambassador Billy Modise was born on 18th of December 1930 in Bloemfontein, in the then-Orange Free State. He received an Anglican scholarship which enabled him to enrol for his secondary school in Modeerport.

The racial discrimination imposed by apartheid which forced black people and his personal experiences of racism served as a political awakening for Modise. In January 1955 he enrolled at the University of Fort Hare to study medicine. It was while he was on his way to Fort Hare that he resolved to join the African National Congress (ANC).

As a student at Fort Hare, he came into contact with political heavyweights, Professor ZK Mathews and Govan Mbeki who inspired him to become politically active.

Here he was elected Secretary of the ANC Youth League for the Fort Hare branch, and later served as secretary of the Student Representative Council. Ambassador Modise also became a member of the National Union of Students (NUSAS) serving as an executive member.

In 1960, the ANC advised him to leave the country. It was also at that time that the Lund University Students Union in Sweden offered him a scholarship.

While in Lund, Sweden, he began mobilising university students and civil society organisations to implore support against Apartheid regime. He was a founder member of the South African Committee in Lund alongside Lars-Erik Johansson and Ulf Agrell. The Committee convened meetings, posted posters, pamphlets and lobbied parliamentarians in order to inform and educate Sweden and her people about the atrocities under which our people were suffering.

Owing to the demands of political work, he gave up studying medicine and switched to Sociology. Ambassador Modise met students from other liberation movements in Africa who were also studying at Lund. His work later extended to cover liberation movements from across Southern Africa.

While mobilisation began only in one institution, between 1960 and 1972 it spread to other countries, with Ambassador Modise travelling to mobilise people in Finland, Denmark and Norway to boycott South African products.

In 1975, Ambassador Modise was sent to New York in the United States to work for Habitat, the United Nations (UN) Conference on Human Settlements. His role was preparing policy papers on issues of resettlement.

Between 1976 and 1988, he worked as Assistant Director of the United Nations Institute for Namibia in Lusaka, Zambia. This was when he closely worked with Namibians, providing training in political science, sociology and on education.

In 1988 he left the UN to work fulltime for the ANC under the leadership of comrade Oliver Reginald Tambo. Subsequently, he was deployed to Sweden where he served as the ANC’s chief representative.

Ambassador Modise returned to South Africa in 1990 and was deployed at the ANC head office in Johannesburg. He was tasked with heading the Matla Trust, which was established to prepare for the 1994 elections. After the first democratic elections, Ambassador Modise was posted abroad as South Africa’s High Commissioner to Canada in 1995. He also served as the Chief of State Protocol under President Thabo Mbeki from 1999 to 2006.

He leaves behind his wife, Yolisa; daughter, Thandi; grandson, Kgositsile; sister Dora; nephews and nieces.

May his soul rest in eternal peace

Snuki Zikalala

Eddie Funde

FAREWELL TO A DEDICATED CADRE

For all those who knew Ambassador Eddie Sonwabo Funde and walked with him through the boulevard of struggle, none can contradict the fact that he was imbued with a spirit of no surrender. His path, a seesaw of unimaginable dimensions, would land him in different positions, on different continents and at different times.

A humble and unassuming gentle giant, he was always ready to serve the South Africa nation.

It was on the 22nd of May when we all received the sad and devastating news that Bra Eddie, as we fondly called him, passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Having joined the ANC after it was banned in 1961, he, like his peers of like mind, left the country in 1965 and joined Umkhonto we Sizwe, the spear and shield of the struggling masses of the people. He went on to study in Russia, gaining an MSc in Electrical Engineering in 1975.

In 1978, the ANC leadership appointed him to establish and head the ANC Youth Section.

The year 1980 smiled broadly on bra Eddie. It was then that he got married to Nosizwe Funde nee Toni in Sofia, Bulgaria, where she was pursuing her studies in engineering. The two love birds had been an ‘item’ since 1977.

He served the ANC in different parts of the world and in various capacities. In 1983 he was sent by the ANC as its Chief representative in Australasia and the Pacific.

He plunged into this work with his usual enthusiasm, building lasting friendships with Australians from all walks of life.

Back home Bra Eddie served first as Administrator and Researcher of the Civil Service Unit of the ANC. Later he was tasked with the establishment of the South African Research and Development.

Thereafter he served in an executive and non-executive capacity in the Independent Development Trust. He also served on key boards, including Denel, Eskom and Murray and Roberts.

Bra Eddie became very active in the telecommunication sector. He pioneered and developed the White Paper on Telecommunications Policy which resulted in the formation of the SA Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA) and became its deputy chairperson.

As Chairperson of the SABC Board from 2004 to 2008 Bra Eddie and his Deputy Christine Qunta transformed the public broadcaster, ensuring that it delivered on its mandate.

They both supported the noble idea of positioning the SABC as the best Pan African public broadcaster that would compete and come up with an alternative view to

well-established broadcasters like the BBC and CNN. SABC News International was born out of this initiative, an initiative that was later scuttled by forces of doom and regression.

It was during his deployment as Ambassador in 2010 that Bra Eddie met with an accident that confined him to a wheel chair. However, always optimistic, he carried on with his telecommunications initiatives and ANC political work.

The worst was when their house was burnt down in May 2016. They lost everything that they worked hard for. Bra Eddie did not lose heart.

Strong willed, Bra Eddie was part of the ANC stalwarts and veterans

delegation that met our ANC leadership and insisted that the Veterans League be revitalized and a second conference of the League be convened.

His dream of the conference was realized when our leadership agreed to the convening of the Veterans League conference in October 2017.

Bra Eddie, your calls will be missed. Every Monday or Tuesday, I would receive a call from you where you’d insist on being briefed on the activities of the Veterans League. Bra Eddie would say, Snuki!, I would reply good morning bra Eddie .In a conciliatory and persuasive tone, he would say “when and how is the Veterans League going to implement its resolutions and those of the ANC,in uniting society ,getting rid of corruption, factionalism and gate keeping. Remember ,he would say ,conference took a resolution that an electronic membership system which will get rid of gate keeping be introduced. When is your

collective going to establish the Veterans Leagues Branches and Regions. Veterans must be at the forefront of uniting the ANC and society. We must humble ourselves and admit where we have erred. As veterans we must do door to door campaigns and ensure that the youth registers to vote and that we regain our rightful place as the leader of society. History will judge us harshly if we as veterans do not actively participate and ensure that there is intensive political education in the structures of the ANC. You must ensure that Veterans participate in all ANC committees and give guidance where necessary. We must be at the forefront in mobilising society for a successful victory in the coming 2019 elections.”

Bra Eddie as Veterans of the ANC, we are always ready to serve and will not disappoint you.

We shall deeply miss you.

Lala Ngoxolo Bra Eddie. We will always miss your undying fighting spirit.

Snuki Zikalala

President of the ANC Veterans League

Archie Sibeko

DEATH HAS ROBBED THE ANC VETERANS LEAGUE OF ANOTHER STALWART FROM THE LUTHULI DETACHMENT.

Today 21 April 2018, we bid farewell to two giants of the
ANC and the Luthuli detachment, comrade Zola Skweyiya
who is presently being buried in Tshwane, and comrade
Archie Sibeko Aka- Zola Zembe popularly known as ZZ who
is put to rest here at Kwezana village near Alice.
We hazard to say, in the words of one our former presidents:
Not anywhere in free South Africa, stand a statue and a
monument which speak to us and all future time to say: once
upon a time, our country was blessed to have as its citizens
these who, though dead, are brought to life by every day’s
dawn, that portends fulfilment for all the people of our
motherland. Comrade ZZ , is one of those brave men and
women who vowed by the spirit of no surrender who the
former president referred to, the generation of the roaring
sixties.

Comrade ZZ, a recipient of the Order of Luthuli in Silver, was
a member of the ANC and the South African Communist
Party. He was arrested and accused in the Treason Trial in
1956. However, he remained a champion in the struggle for
the liberation of South Africa.
Comrade ZZ was forced to leave the country when the ANC
was banned in 1960 and joined Umkhonto We Sizwe. He
wasamongst the first to be sent to the front to do battle with
both the Rhodesian government and the Apartheid military
forces.
In exile one of comrade ZZ task was also to mobilize funds from the international community to support the SouthAfrican trade union movement. These funds were channeled
to specific unions to support their underground work.On a personal note, I first met comrade ZZ when he frequented Botswana in the mid 70’s before the Soweto
uprising. He helped to build strong underground structures of the ANC and SACTU inside the country. Comrades Isaac Makopo, Keith Mokoape and I would secure safe houses in Gaborone where he clandestinely met operatives from South Africa.
During the Soweto uprisings, when thousands of young
people fled the country to be trained as freedom fighters,
Comrade Zola Zembe was always there at our residence in
Bontleng in Gaborone, where he provided political education
to the young impatient militants.
His commitment to strong trade unions saw the birth of
COSATU and a strong South African Railways and Harbours
Workers Union(SARHWU).
Comrade ZZ is one of the last generation of ANC stalwart and
veteran who were members of the South African Railway &
Harbours Workers Union (SARHWU) and who later co-
founded the first nonracial trade union movement, South
African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU) in March 1955.

As an honest, dedicated and committed cadre of our
glorious movement the ANC, the split in COSATU, the demise
of SARHWU, which is now the South African Transport and
Allied Workers Union, and the gradual drop in the ANC
confidence from the masses of our people, occasioned by
arrogance, factionalism, gatekeeping ,corruption and
dishonesty, has taken a toll on your health.
As the Veterans League of the ANC, we would like to assure
you that we shall strive to bring back the sacred values and
traditions of our glorious movement.
In your honor we commit to work hard and tirelessly to
unite the South African society, the ANC and its
revolutionary alliance. We shall endeavor to mobilize
resources to form credible branches and regions of the ANC
Veterans League.
We will hold our leadership to account and ensure that your
teachings and the values of our glorious movement of
selfness, honesty are upheld.
As always, we are ready to serve.
Lala ngo xolo Cde Zola Zembe
Snuki Zikalala
President of the ANC Veterans League

Zola Skweyiya

THE PASSING ON OF COMRADE DR ZOLA SKWEYIYA HAS LEFT A VOID IN THE ANC VETERANS LEAGUE

The months of March and April this year, with dark clouds seemingly hovering over us to no end, have emotionally drained the South African nation, particularly the ANC and its Veterans League. For it was during this period that we first lost struggle Veteran Comrade Zola Zembe, followed by Mama Winnie Mandela, then diplomat extraordinaire Ambassador George “Dikgang” Nene, and now our committed, compassionate and dedicated Comrade Zola Skweyiya, who left us on 14 April, three days before his birthday. He would have turned 76 years of age. Thus, in a short space of time we lost selfless leaders who infinitely cared about the country, its people and their glorious movement, the ANC. These are elders who were a repository of the ANC ‘s history and traditions.

The four stalwarts mentioned above were always concerned about the downward trajectory of the ANC over the past ten years. They lamented how precipitously their movement had strayed from its strategic objectives. They agonized deeply when witnessing its gradual downward trend and how society was gradually distancing itself from this, their once formidable organization.
Comrade Zola Skweyiya was a member of the ANC Veterans League and became part of the ANC Stalwarts and Veterans who penned an open letter to the ANC, imploring for an immediate intervention to deal with the rot that was systematically
devouring their organization and destroying their country from within.

He attended all the convened Stalwarts and Veterans meetings and participated actively in searching for ways in which the stalwarts and veterans could intervene with the view to save their country and their glorious movement from utter and total destruction.
The President of the Veterans League recalls the hours he would confer with Comrade Zola during those critical times:

“At those meetings where at times I would sit next to him and later discuss with him during tea breaks, he would shake his head with dismay and ask rhetorically how it came about that we allowed the movement to stray away from its strategic path of delivering quality basic services to society so as to contribute in our quest to better the lives of the poor.” Why, he would ask, are there no repercussions against those who openly squander and steal resources of the country with such impunity, damaging the brand, image and integrity of the movement? Why, he enquired, is the Executive not held to account by the NEC of the ANC and by members of parliament? The patronage that is easily dispensed, he intoned, must be nipped in the bud.

It is the Stalwarts and Veterans who put pressure on our leadership to convene the second Veterans League conference which took place in October 2017. The last conference was held in 2009 when it was established. The outcome of the 54th ANC national conference in October 2017 ushered a new dawn and gave hope to millions of South Africans that the country and the ANC were on the road to recovery and renewal.

To this end, the president of the ANC and of the country Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa wasted no time and met with the stalwarts and veterans delegation and the Veterans League on 12 March this year. His was to recognize the role that was played by the stalwarts and veterans and requested that they be part of the ANC Veterans League and play a meaningful and constructive role of building unity in the country and the ANC, thus taking their rightful place as the custodians of the ANC values and traditions.

“Lying in bed at the hospital where he was admitted and watching the news as the meeting was reported, Comrade Zola called me and demanded that I brief him on the outcome of the meeting. Refusing to heed my plea that he rest as everything was in order, he said he was more concerned about its future and how we as the real veterans of the ANC could help in fixing what has been severely damaged. As a parting shot he commanded that I should come to see him as soon as I could.”

“A week later I paid him a visit at the hospital and briefed him comprehensively on how the ANC Veterans League was striving to unite all members of society and helping to build structures of the ANC.” Comrade Zola was assured by the Veterans League President that the league will support all initiatives by the current leadership to unite the ANC and society. He was informed that the Veterans League would assist the mother body to rebuild strong and credible branches of the ANC.

Comrade Zola, we as Veterans of the ANC are alive to the fact that you gave the struggle your all. Even during your last hours, your concerns had been how to save this glorious movement and ensure that it delivers on its strategic objectives. We shall double our efforts and ensure that your movement, the people’s movement, returns to its former glory.
As always we are ready to serve and will not disappoint you.

Lala Ngoxolo Boet Zola. Fervently do we implore you to let the Luthuli Detachment members who left before you, know that we will soldier on and will defend the gains of our revolution.

Snuki Zikalala
President of the ANC Veterans League

Stalwarts

For Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (1936 – 2018)

Today we grieve,
The mother of the nation has breathed her last,
today we reflect on her gallant past.
Today we mourn,
the falling of a giant tree,
who rattled the foundations of Apartheid,
in the collective struggle to be from oppression free.
Today we weep,
tears of sorrow and tears of pain,
for our mother who shall no longer walk amongst us again.
Today we sing,
songs of freedom and of profound loss,
as we remember the cruel and brutal obstacles she had to cross.
Today we reflect,
on the years of banishment and of solitary confinement she was made to suffer,
with no husband, no family, nothing but her will acting as her protective buffer.
Today we recall her strength,
as she fought alongside her comrades without a pause,
while remaining ever faithfully dedicated to the valiant struggle, to the cause.
Today we console each other as the truth cuts deep,
her life one of loss and of unimaginable pain,
as we call out our eternal refrain –
Hamba Kahle* Mama Winnie Mandela!
We will not give up your fight!
Matla ke a Rona!**
The Struggle Continues.
Viva the undying spirit of Winnie Mandela!
Viva the struggle against racism and oppression!
_________* – Hamba Kahle – an isiXhosa and isiZulu term meaning “travel well” – often used when bidding a departed one adieu.* – Matla ke a Rona – victory is certain – a slogan during the struggle against Apartheid oppression and racial discrimination.Afzal Moolla
On behalf of the stalwarts and veterans of the ANC who are signatories to the “For the Sake of our Future” document.

 

THE ANC VETERANS LEAGUE MOURNS THE DEATH OF ITS STALWART WINNIE MANDELA.

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the untimely death of Mama Winnie Mandela, the recipient of the Order of Luthuli Award in Silver for bravery.

Winnie Mandela was a pillar of our struggle for liberation in the struggle against the most atrocious apartheid regime. The ANC Veterans League sends its deepest condolences to the Madikizela and Mandela families.

Following is a poignant account from the President of the Veterans League, who knew and worked with this giant of our movement during those dark and seemingly horrid times of our struggle.

“I was introduced to the ANC when I was very young, angry and militant, by Winnie Mandela and worked with her when it was not fashionable to be associated with our glorious movement.

it is unimaginable that she is no more.”

He elaborates: “I remember vividly when I met her in 1966 in down town Johannesburg where she was working as a secretary. We spoke quietly in hushed tones on how evil and atrocious the apartheid system was, a system which denied millions of South Africans their birthright. The topic then focused on the hated Bantu education system designed for black South Africans, the appalling and segregated living conditions, how workers’ rights were trampled upon on a daily basis, and the daily harassment and torture of those who dared raise their voices in defiance of the obnoxious system where blacks were made hewers of wood and drawers of waters.

It was only when she invited me to her home in Orlando West in Soweto that she spoke freely and we started planning on how we could mobilize and organize the youth to become active participants in the struggle against apartheid.

Winnie never revealed her identity then. She was a leader in her own right. She was not in the struggle because she was married to Nelson Mandela, but was a committed and dedicated member of the ANC.

She later introduced us to incorrigible leaders like Samson Ndou, Marita Ndzanga and her husband Lawrance Ndzanga, Elliot Shabangu, Joyce Sikakane, and Sam Poloto,

As the militant youth of the day, we wanted to be trained on how to handle weapons and explosives. We had already identified targets that were going to disrupt the South African economy.

Winnie was very patient by then and insisted on us receiving political training especially on the aims and objectives of the ANC and the Freedom Charter.

I recall that we had to recite the Freedom Charter like a bible and only then were we introduced to underground training in the handling of sensitive information. The training included production of leaflet bombs, distribution of ANC underground material, manufacturing of Molotov cocktails and learning how to infiltrate MK cadres who would train us internally.

Yes, we researched oh how we can procure weapons from the armaments factories of Denel and Armscor. We became responsible for distributing and setting up of leaflet bombs in the Johannesburg City Centre.

It was in May 1969 when more than 120 ANC activist were rounded up, arrested and detained under the notorious Section 6 of the Terrorism Act of 1967.The notorious Act allowed the state to detain members of society who were opposed to apartheid for 180 days without trial.

Twenty one of us spent 12 months in solitary confinement and 6 months on trial, first under the Suppression of the Communism Act and were later detained and charged under the Terrorism Act.

We were severely tortured, but our spirits and the resolve to fight the apartheid regime were never dampened.

Comrade Benjamin Ramotse, who was kidnapped from Botswana and brutally tortured, stood trial with us and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on Robben Island.

After our trial in September 1970, we were all banned under the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950. A banned person endured severe restrictions on their movement, political activities, and associations intended to silence their opposition to the government’s apartheid policies and stop their political activity.

Later, when some of us left the country in 1974 to re-enforce the activities of the ANC in exile in Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Angola and Bulgaria, comrade Winnie Mandela remained as the pillar of our struggle in the country, soldiering on without let or hindrance.

She was banned, harassed and banished to Brandfort. She, however,

stood firm on her political convictions. She expressed he bravery, always fighting for the interest of the poor. She strived to overcome the terrible conditions of apartheid and never gave up.”

Comrade Winnie Mandela, “Mother of the Nation”, you will always be remembered for the contribution you have made in the struggle for liberation. The ANC Veterans League dips its revolutionary banner in honour of this extraordinary giant of our struggle.

Lala ngo Xolo. Hamba Kahle Qhawe la Maqhawe

Snuki Zikalala

President of the ANC Veterans League