The African National Congress (ANC) in the Eastern Cape has learnt with sadness the passing away of a revolutionary, an education activist and COSATU Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson , Comrade Thabile Kunene. Comrade Kunene passed away yesterday after a short illness.

Cde Thabs was born in August 1970 and did his primary education at Xilinxa JSS in Nqamakwe. He further studied at Nyanga SSS. He did his teriary education at Butterworth College of Education. It here where he associated himself with the organs of people’s power through the student movement in 1989 and qualified as a teacher.

Due to his active role in the student politics he was one amongst few that were earmarked and recruited to join teachers union (SADTU) when he started teaching in 1992. He then became more involved in the activities of the ANC, COSATU & SACP . He grew from the ranks of SADTU starting from the Branch, Region ( as both Secretary for a long time and later became the Chairperson) .He also served as a teacher and later became principal of Gxulu JSS .

As a teacher, it is at this stage that his involvement in the organs of people’s power became more and more enhanced .This proved him not to be just a workerist but a true revolutionary siding with the oppressed and the poor . He led an ANC Branch and later led at the Sub regional level in the OR Tambo Region .

Comrade Kunene served as SADTU Provincial Chairperson in 2014 and was re-elected SADTU Provincial Chairperson at the 9th SADTU Eastern Cape Provincial Conference in 2017,a position he held until 2022.His leadership qualities led to his election as COSATU Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson in 2018 and was re-elected once again in 2022.

Comrade Kunene was an activist for social transformation who understood that society progress through a class struggle and this was evident with him through his participation in the Mass Democratic Movement in various capacities.

He dedicated his entire life in fighting for decent salaries and safe working conditions of workers in general and public servants in particular. He championed workers shop floor struggles and spent his energy in defending the gains of workers. Comrade Kunene espoused the Marxist-Leninist ideology and had political clarity.

His passing is a huge loss not only to his family but to the country he served with distinction. The country has lost one of the most diligent, dedicated and passionate leaders. Comrade Kunene will be sorely missed by all within the Tripartite Alliance for his honesty, discipline, political knowledge, and humility. He was a champion of the rights of workers and prioritized the unity of workers organized under the banner of COSATU. We are deeply pained by the loss of such a committed and experienced political activist especially on matters of education; a humble people`s servant and an outstanding activist.

We dip our banner in honour of this fallen dedicated cadre of our Congress Movement, a revolutionary and an unassuming leader who served and led SADTU and COSATU unconditionally.

ANC Eastern Cape sends its sincere condolences to the Kunene family, friends and comrades in the Labour federation and Mass Democratic Movement (MDM).

We wish his family strength and courage in the period of dealing with this dark hour.




Cde Gift Ngqondi

Provincial Head of Communications

Mobile No :?0849519924 /?0848439706

Posted in Media Statements
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