ANC stalwart a ‘warrior for social justice’
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.
ANTI-APARTHEID icon and the recipient of the prestigious Order of Mendi for Bravery in Silver, Eric ‘Stalin’ Mtshali.|