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‘A sad moment for our nation’: Ramaphosa pays tribute to Denis Goldberg

‘His revolutionary contribution reinforced the non-racial character of our struggle and of our democratic dispensation.’

FILE: Denis Goldberg and President Ramaphosa. Image: Nelson Mandela Foundation

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday expressed his deep condolences at the passing of anti-apartheid veteran and Rivonia Trialist Denis Goldberg.

“My thoughts are with Denis Goldberg’s family and his comrades around the country and around the world,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.

“This is a sad moment for our nation and a moment for all of us to appreciate Denis Goldberg’s brave dedication to our struggle and his lifelong activism in the interest of – and in the physical presence of - poor and vulnerable communities around our country,” he added.

Goldberg, who lived in Hout Bay in Cape Town, passed away just before midnight on Wednesday at the age of 87. He received a National Order of Luthuli for his commitment to the struggle against apartheid and service to the people of South Africa.

According to the Presidency, upon receiving news of Goldberg’s passing, the National Coronavirus Command Council observed a moment’s silence in honour of him.

LISTEN: Tributes for anti-apartheid activist Denis Goldberg

Ramaphosa saluted Goldberg for his unwavering commitment to the struggle against apartheid and ethical leadership.

“His first experience of prison was alongside his mother who had been detained for four months but such experiences failed to intimidate him; instead, it fuelled his determination that the liberation movement should use all strategies at its disposal, including armed resistance, to end apartheid.

“His commitment to ethical leadership was unflinching and even during his advanced age, he formed part of the movement of veterans of the struggle calling for the reassertion of the moral centre of society. He dedicated his life to achieving the better life we enjoy today, and his revolutionary contribution reinforced the non-racial character of our struggle and of our democratic dispensation,” he said.

The president added: “We will hold him in our thoughts and prayers as we say farewell at a time when we are not allowed to gather in numbers to say our goodbyes. May his soul rest in peace.”

‘A GREAT THINKER, REFINED THINKER’

Meanwhile, tributes continued on Thursday morning following news of Goldberg’s passing.

Anti-apartheid activist Ronnie Kasrils said despite being sick, Goldberg continued with his political activism.

“He was a great thinker, a refined thinker, and a man of the highest moral integrity. He is going to be so deeply missed. He knew everything about our struggle and what it was meant to be, which was to serve our people,” Kasrils said.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation also sent its condolences to the Goldberg family.

The foundation’s CEO Sello Hatang reflected on the last time he saw Goldberg.

“When we saw him in February, we hosted President Cyril Ramaphosa and Goldberg deeply respects Ramaphosa, but he told him the one thing he needs to watch out for is corruption in the country,” Hatang said.

“If there is one thing we need to take out of the life of Goldberg and Mandela is that the core of their lives was solidarity,” he added.

LISTEN: Remembering Mandela with Denis Goldberg