Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 5




21 APRIL 2018

Our beloved sister, Mrs Thuthukile Skweyiya,

Former President Thabo Mbeki and Mrs Zanele Mbeki
Friends and family of the Skweyiya and Mazibuko families,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Fellow Mourners,

An ambassador of goodwill, a servant of his people and a courageous son of our soil has

When we recall the consummate love, graceand humility of Zola Skweyiya, we are reminded of
the immeasurable capacity of human beings for goodness.

In a world that is riven by conflict and greed, we were comforted to have living among us a
person like Zola Skweyiya.

We were heartened by his moral clarity and by his steadfast commitment to democracy,
justiceand peace.

Here was a noble man who would never dare sell the birthright of his people, a man who would
choose death rather than betray the trust of his people.

Here was a man who shared the desire of a billion people for an Africa resurrected and free.

Here was a man who shared the dreams of thedispossessed, the marginalised and the suffering.

Though he has departed, we will continue to draw strength and inspiration from his example.

In the glory of his sunshine our day will be filled with his light and from his soil shall rise new
shoots of opportunity, prosperity and better life for all.
As we fold the flag that now covers him, we will commend his spirit to the founding father of
our nation and hand over the work of his hand to his family and future generations as a symbol
of honour to his service and love for country.

Fellow South Africans,

Since Zola Skweyiya has passed away there has been an outpouring of grief and expressionsof
admiration from many South Africans and from people across the world.

At the memorial service held earlier this week, friends and comrades who grew up with him
spoke fondly of his deep care for the downtrodden and vulnerable.

They shared their memories of a revolutionaryand disciplined cadre of the African National
Congress who valued the unity of his people and cherished the ideal of an egalitarian society.

Those who were fortunate to work with him in exile and in government reminded us of
ZolaSkweyiya’s work ethic, his collegiality and passion to develop people who worked with him.

They described him as an architect of ademocratic, efficient and inclusive public service that was
built from the ruins of a fragmented, divisive and decadent administration.

They recalled the superb mind that formed many of the fundamental constructs of

From his grandchildren, we heard that he was deeply cherished and loved unconditionally by his
family, for whom his passing remains a devastating blow.

On behalf of all South Africans, we extend ourprofound sympathies to both the Skweyiya and
Mazibuko families on so great a loss.

We will miss his gentle and caring hand as we continue draw guidance from the collective
wisdom of our stalwarts to renew our country and revitalise our organisation.

As he would have wished, we will intensify our struggle for the complete restoration of the
dignity of our people.

We will intensify our struggle to return the land to the people and build an inclusive economy
that benefits all South Africans.

As he often reminded us, the aim of the national liberation struggle is the democratisation of the
country and the redistribution of its wealth.

It is a struggle to eradicate the privileges of the few and to entrench human rights as the basis of
our democratic dispensation.
In paying tribute to his old friend, Albie Sachs recently described Zola Skweyiya as a natural

He credits the outstanding leadership of Zola Skweyiya in bringing to life our Constitution.

Alongside people of the calibre of Jack Simons,Kader Asmal, Brigitte Mabandla and Arthur
Chaskalson, he forged a constitutional legacy that will define our country for generations to

In all tasks that he was given, he made a difference.

When former President Nelson Mandela entrusted Zola Skweyiya with the formidablechallenge
of transforming the oppressive apartheid machinery into a developmental state that would serve
all South Africans, he undertook his responsibility with purpose.

He said:

“Public services are not a privilege in a civilised and democratic society: they are a legitimate

In his view, the test for a transformed, efficient public service lay in the practical difference
people see in their lives.

His was struggle for a better, efficient and compassionate public service.

It is a tribute to Zola Skweyiya’s vision that we today have a public service of more than amillion
people who dedicate themselves to building a better life for all our people.

It is a public service that reflects the diversity of our nation.

It is our responsibility to ensure that the public service retains the character that Zola Skweyiya
envisioned and embraces the values that he espoused.

In all that we do, we must answer the simple question that he asked of us time and time again:
‘Are we putting our people first?’

It was a question that he occupied his tenure as Minister of Social Development.

He was the architect of our progressive social assistance programme, which has been responsible
for substantially pushing back the frontiers of poverty.

For him, this task was much more than a transformative policy intervention.

It was a passion, a mission, a sacred responsibility.

He was deeply shocked by the conditions under which so many of our people lived and was
determined that the democratic state mobilise all resources at its disposal to lift our people out of
the agony of poverty.

He travelled the length and breadth of the country to ensure that all grant recipients received
what was due to them.

He relentlessly championed the child support grant, which had a significant and measurable
impact on the health, well-being and prospects of an entire generation of young people.

Thanks to his work, more children have survived, more children have thrived and more children
have been able to attend school.

He achieved all of this without fanfare, without spectacle.

He did it quietly, methodically and with determination.

He embodied and cherished the values of consultation, consensus-making, trust-buildingand


In negotiations, he was firm of persuasion and principle, with the acumen and strategic craft to
know when, how and why to accommodate the demands of an apartheid state that was
negotiating its way into the setting sun.

Comrades and friends,

It is deeply distressing to recall that in the twilight of his life, this gallant member of the Luthuli
Detachment was, by his own account,stopped at the doors of Luthuli House when he wanted to
meet the leadership.

Such was the pain and disappointment of thiscadre who gave his life to our organisation that he
said: “Here I am and I don’t even know where the ANC is.”

As President of the Republic and the African National Congress, I wish to join Deputy President
Mabuza in saying we regret this shameful departure from the principles, values and ways of our

To this departed warrior of Umkhonto we Sizwe, his family and all our stalwarts, please accept
our sincere apology for the distress that thismay have caused.

Today, we make a solemn commitment that never again will we disown and dishonour those who
have dedicated their lives to the movement and the cause of our people.

We can be certain that Zola Skweyiya would have been concerned about the violent protests that
have seized the North West in the last few days.
Like the violence that he confronted in the early 1990s, such violence can only serve the interests
of those opposed to transformation and the progress of our people.

In the memory of our distinguished stalwart, let us unite and resist those who wish to delay our
march to economic freedom for all our people.

To throw away the rule of law and to disregard the Constitution because of our differences is to
fall into the trap of the enemies of change.

It is to dishonour the memory of Zola Skweyiya, Oliver Tambo and all those who fought with
such dignity and principle for a peaceful and just South Africa.

As leaders, let us follow their example by ensuring that every grievance is given attention and
every concern addressed.

Like Zola Skweyiya, we must listen to the people.

We must put the people first.

And so we bid farewell to one of the best among us.

We bid farewell to a gentle soul and a formidable freedom fighter, whose remarkable legacy will
endure long after all of us are gone.

Lala ngoxolo Mkhonto we Sizwe.

Oliver Tambo, sicela ubambe isandla senzalo ka Leta.


I thank you.

Issued by the Presidency


Похожие интересы