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JB Marks praised as a 'true struggle hero'

Marks remains were reburied in his hometown of Ventersdorp on Sunday.

FILE: Struggle veterans JB Marks and Moses Kotane were repatriated back to South Africa. Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Communist Party and comrades of the late JB Marks have praised him as a selfless leader and activist for workers' rights.

Marks remains were reburied in his hometown of Ventersdorp in the North West on Sunday after being repatriated from Russia earlier this month.

The communist stalwart died in Russia in 1972 and was buried at a Moscow cemetery.

Speaking at the reburial ceremony, Congress of South African Trade Union's Zwelenzima Vavi reflected on Marks's work as a trade unionist.

He also called for unity within the tripartite alliance and urged them to unite in fighting real issues still troubling the country.

"I hope that one day comrade leadership of the ANC we can come back to say, we're honouring comrade JB Marks truly as a united working class, hellbent on mobilising one another to fight our real issues."

President Jacob Zuma also paid his respects, saying Marks worked with commitment and dedication to bring the ideals of the Freedom Charter into fruition.

The president has affectionately referred to Marks as an 'uncle' while reflecting on the communist leader's life as both an activist against apartheid.

He says the struggle hero was especially successful in representing and securing the interests of workers through his trade unionism.

"Comrade Marks understood the true nature of what the struggle was. He managed to mobilise workers from Southern Africa under the purpose of fighting for the rights of workers."