Program Directors, Cde Tolashe and Cde Ngcukaitobi;

Leadership of the MDM Formation, connected here and also participating in different platforms. The family yakwa Mantashe; ooNzolo nooBlangwe;

For the sake of time, we wish to say all protocol observed;

On behalf of the African National Congress and people of Chris Hani Region, we wish to send our heartfelt condolences to the Mantashe family at large, her children Dakiswa, Hlumela, Siphokuhle, her grandchildren, her comrades in the broad democratic movement and her colleagues in the National assembly.

We have come here with mixed feelings. We cannot hide the deep sense of sadness and gaping wounds in our heavy hearts. We cannot hide our anger and frustration at God that such a productive life committed comrade was taken away from us so soon, when there is still so much work of Unity and Renewal lying ahead.

It is our duty to pay tribute to the memory of one of our most devoted, loyal and brilliant leaders of our people and in equal measure to pay our tribute to all those comrades whom we have lost that have so courageously distinguished themselves by their coolness, bravery and discipline in the face of what appeared to be overwhelming odds.

Comrades, we should not meet here as mourners for whom all is darkness and grief. We must meet here as comrades in arms; Comrades of Cde Thozi whom we knew so intimately and so well; A cadre who has given that most precious thing that a woman can give—life—to the cause they believed in and for which they were prepared to make the supreme sacrifice.

Since Monday morning, we have heard so many testimonies of the great life and sterling contributions of Cde Thozi; contributions geared towards making this world a better place than she found it.

Allow us, Program Director, to add a few pages of our own testimony to Cde Thozi’s Book of Life.
The best way to sum up Cde Thozi`s life is to say, Program Director, she was an accomplished revolutionary in the fullest sense of the word; she did everything to change this world in order to leave it a better place than she found it.

Cde Thozi was an embodiment of qualities that are rarely found in one person – a fearless freedom fighter, astute educator, skilful organizer, unifier, problem-solver and tireless spiritual warrior.
As she was working in Cacadu (formerly Lady Frere), Comrade Thozi was the ANC Branch Chairperson of Barrington Mndi in Ezibeleni for a few terms where she worked tirelessly in uniting that community and ANC branches in that zone. Her branch produced several women comrades that followed suit as a result of astute leadership she possessed.

She was whisked from this responsibility by her dual membership wherein which workers called her name to serve and because she was not afraid in losing power she obliged and became an ordinary BEC member refusing to double pack and thus becoming ineffective in both. As she served the workers, Cde Thozi continued to work for the ANC in this region and we gladly nominated her to the ANC PEC where she served with humility and courage.

As a region we can stand on top of the mountain and proclaim that indeed Cde Thozi is a product of our community struggles and has led the people’s struggles without expecting any material return for self.
As we bid farewell to Cde Thozi, we are also mourning sad the passing of one of our revolutionary stalwarts Cde Johnson Pongwane who had served in the same unit with the brutally hanged comrade Wilson Khayingo, Vuyisile Mini and Oom Rich Tokwe to mention a few.
Like rampaging thieves, these epidemics came ashore, descended on communities ushering in the paradigm of death.

Just as we were recording triumph against the AIDS epidemic, with hundreds of children born free of HIV, workers working for years longer, infection rates under control, in came Covid-19 to spoil the party, once again testing our mastery of state craft.

Our message continues to be that COVID-19 is still with us, there is currently no vaccine and we must adhere to the known public health measures of maintaining social distance, washing our hands and wearing masks. Our communications machinery must spread this message consistently and in a much more accessible manner.

Let us talk to the people in their languages and on media such as community radio stations.
Serving the people of our country is a privilege and we must continuously put the people first in whatever we do.

The challenges we face, in the immediate and medium term, can only be addressed if we all work together, hence the need to build a social compact. The social compact must involve social partners specifically engage women and youth in our dialogues and be decentralised to sectoral, district, local and community level compacts, across the district.
To drive the process of social compacting and mobilisation, we need an ANC that is united and focused on the tasks at hand, and with a strong, active presence at community levels and in all sectors of society.

Strengthening and renewal of the ANC therefore remains an absolute priority; and a precondition for the deployment of capable cadres as public representatives and in the state. The ANC commits to ensuring effective gender mainstreaming in all aspects of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, through the participation and mobilization of women at all levels.

We must all work together to build social cohesion, at community level, supporting families, children, the elderly and people living with disabilities, young people and other groups facing discrimination.

Hamba kakuhle Qhawe Lamaqhawe; and Rest in Peace MaMqwathi!

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