ANC stal­wart a ‘war­rior for so­cial jus­tice’

The Sunday Independent - - NATION - LUNGANI ZUNGU and KHETHA SANGWENI

AS TRIBUTES flooded in for anti-apartheid stal­wart Eric “Stalin” Mt­shali, his son Anele, 32, said his fa­ther would be re­mem­bered for his stance against cor­rup­tion.

Mt­shali died at the Inkosi Al­bert Luthuli Cen­tral Hospi­tal on Fri­day at the age of 87.

“My fa­ther al­ways spoke out against cor­rup­tion, more es­pe­cially on govern­ment ten­ders. He would also talk about the im­moral and dis­re­gard­ing be­hav­iour that has al­ready spread to po­lit­i­cal lead­ers,” said Anele at his home in New Ger­many yes­ter­day.

“But you would never hear him talk about these things in the me­dia be­cause he was a dis­ci­plined cadre of the move­ment,” said Anele.

Prom­i­nent lead­ers fre­quented his home to draw strength and wis­dom from Mt­shali, said Anele.

Anele said his fa­ther’s health started de­te­ri­o­rat­ing in 2011.

“He sub­se­quently suf­fered a stroke. But de­spite this he con­tin­ued with his cul­ture of read­ing books to en­rich him­self,” said Anele.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa ex­pressed his sad­ness at Mt­shali’s pass­ing.

“I of­fer my sin­cer­est con­do­lences to the fam­ily, friends and com­rades of uBaba Eric ‘Stalin’ Mt­shali with whom we share the loss of an ex­tra­or­di­nary ac­tivist and leader whose il­lus­tri­ous life story and pa­tri­otic con­tri­bu­tion we shall never for­get,” said Ramaphosa.

Mt­shali, a for­mer MP, joined the SA Com­mu­nist Party in 1957 and was at the fore­front of the for­ma­tion of the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, in 1961.

Yes­ter­day, po­lit­i­cal lead­ers vis­ited Mt­shali’s fam­ily in New Ger­many to pay their re­spects.

SACP KZN sec­re­tary Themba Mthembu said: “He was very fond of young peo­ple and al­ways em­pha­sised that they should be cel­e­brated be­cause they are to­mor­row’s lead­ers. He was very care­ful about the is­sue of mis­con­duct, es­pe­cially of young peo­ple.”

ANC pro­vin­cial chair­per­son Sihle Zikalala lauded Mt­shali for his con­tri­bu­tion to the lib­er­a­tion strug­gle, say­ing he was a man who told them the truth and shared deeper ideas about prin­ci­ples.

Also present was Min­is­ter in the Pres­i­dency, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

In 2015, Mt­shali was awarded the Or­der of Mendi for Brav­ery in Sil­ver by for­mer pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma.

In a joint state­ment, Speaker of Par­lia­ment Baleka Mbete and the na­tional chair­per­son of the Coun­cil of Prov­inces, Thandi Modise, said: “In Mr Mt­shali’s pass­ing, South Africa has lost one of the most out­stand­ing and fierce war­riors for so­cial jus­tice, equal­ity, free­dom, democ­racy and hu­man rights. We pay trib­ute to this gal­lant rev­o­lu­tion­ary who has made an im­mense con­tri­bu­tion to the lib­er­a­tion we en­joy to­day.”

Mt­shali leaves his wife, Gcinile, daugh­ter Lindiwe, son Anele and eight grand­chil­dren.

De­tails about the fu­neral ar­range­ments have yet to be an­nounced.

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