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#ZolaSkweyiyaMemorial: 'ANC losing generation of outstanding leaders'

The ANC will be burying the second stalwart in the space of just a week, and Deputy President David Mabuza says this period has been difficult for the organisation.

A portrait of ANC veteran Dr Zola Skweyiya stands at the memorial service held for him in Pretoria. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President David Mabuza says the recent months mark a critical turning point in the country’s political history, saying the African National Congress (ANC) is saddened to be losing a generation of outstanding leaders.

Mabuza was speaking at the memorial service of the late Zola Skweyiya in Pretoria on Wednesday.

The struggle veteran died last week at the age of 75.

The ANC will be burying the second stalwart in the space of just a week, and Mabuza says this period has been difficult for the organisation.

“We’re losing a generation of outstanding leaders that made an immense contribution to our freedom.”

He says the governing party will find comfort in the rich legacy Skweyiya leaves behind.

“We heard and saw his frustration about the leadership that had become blind to the suffering of our people and deaf to the cries of our people.”

He says current leaders must learn from his humility, saying arrogance in leadership serves no purpose.

FIGHT FOR LIBERATION

Struggle stalwart Mavuso Msimang has paid tribute to Skweyiya, saying the former minister carried himself with dignity and was committed to the fight for liberation.

Msimang spoke on behalf of the ANC veterans at Skweyiya’s memorial service.

He says the former minister and high commissioner to the UK abandoned his academic studies to go into exile.

“He carried himself with admirable dignity. He was respectful, almost to a fault. And those who lived and worked with him would also know how committed he was to the cause of liberation. Dr Skweyiya died when he was a few days short of his 76th birthday.”

At the same time, former head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Bulelani Ngcuka says Skweyiya was instrumental in the drafting of the Constitution and the transformation of the judiciary.

Skweyiya is being remembered for making a big difference through his work in the ANC and in government.

Ngcuka says Skweyiya was passionate about the return of the land to its rightful owners.

“Section 25, that exists today, is the product of the progressive forces… it was drafted by us.”

He says the late struggle stalwart also wanted to see the judiciary transformed.

“We worked very hard on it and again we followed the same pattern to engage members of the judiciary so that they accept that they themselves were unrepresentative.”

The struggle veteran is being remembered for caring about the poor and remaining a “people’s person” throughout his life.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)