The Star Early Edition
‘It’s a gross exaggeration’
Heartfelt farewell for Struggle hero
A SOMBRE mood enveloped the Johannesburg City Hall yesterday during the special provincial official funeral service for anti-apartheid activist Indrasena “Indres” Naidoo.
Described as a lifelong revolutionary, Indres, as he was affectionately known, died at 2 Military Hospital in Cape Town on January 3. He was 79.
The funeral service was attended by former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, and Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, among many other political leaders.
Six Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) veterans stood guard around the coffin, draped in an ANC flag, as former communications minister General Siphiwe Nyanda, who served as an MK field commander during the Struggle, delivered his tribute to the packed hall.
He described Naidoo, who served 10 years on Robben Island for sabotage, as a cadre who was steeped in ANC politics and liberation ideology in general.
Attributing today’s freedoms to Naidoo and his generation of freedom fighters, Nyanda lashed out at attempts to “politicise the public service”.
Should such attempts persist, “the ANC will die in our hands. People will reject us,” Nyanda warned. He was echoed by the Naidoo family spokesman, Kuben Naidoo, who described the state of the country as “not healthy”.
Corruption was widespread, he said, calling for political leaders to commit to the traditional values of the ANC to tackle the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
In a message of tribute which was read out at the service, Mbeki and his wife Zanele, who knew Naidoo for more than 50 years, said his memory should not be betrayed and that leaders should honestly and selflessly serve the people of South Africa.
Radebe, who read President Jacob Zuma’s eulogy, as the president had other ANC commitments, said Naidoo’s death “will leave a vacuum in the political space”.
Indres is survived by his wife Gabriele “Gabi” Blankenburg, children, and siblings. He was cremated at the Brixton Crematorium.