ANC stalwart Ben Turok dies

His family said Turok died in the early hours of Monday.

FILE: ANC stalwart Professor Ben Turok. Picture: @IfaaCT/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – African National Congress (ANC) veteran Professor Ben Turok has died. The former anti-apartheid activist was 92.

His family said Turok died in the early hours of Monday.

“The Turok family are very sad to announce the passing of Ben Turok, their much-loved husband, father, uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather, in the early hours of Monday, 9 December, aged 92,” the family said.

Turok was born in Latvia in 1927 before coming to South Africa with his family in 1934. He graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1950 before joining the South African Congress of Democrats in 1955.

Turok was a Member of Parliament from 1995 to 2014 and co-chaired the parliamentary committee on ethics and member’s interests. He chaired the committee in 2013 when it found former Communications Minister Dina Pule guilty of breaching the ethics code for helping her boyfriend secure government contracts.

Turok also made headlines when he clashed with ANC leadership over his refusal to vote in favour of the controversial Protection of State Information Bill or Secrecy Bill.

The lifetime member of the ANC was the director of the Institute for African Alternatives before his death.

His family asked for his death to be marked by a private ceremony, rather than anything official.

Meanwhile, ANC veteran Murphy Morobe told 702 Turok would be remembered for standing out and speaking truth to power.

“I heard the news with a great deal of shock. There is so much that Ben Turok stood for that many of us should live to emulate,” he said.

“That’s why we who were part of the [ANC] stalwarts and veterans group had such great affinity with uncle Ben. He would not shy away from speaking out, which is what we surely need today – to have people who are able to stand up and point out where the wrong things are done.”

Listen to John Robbie’s interview with Professor Ben Turok on 702: