Thursday, July 03, 2008

African National Congress Veteran Joe Nhlanhla Joins the Ancestors in the Republic of South Africa

ANC Statement on the passing away of Joe Nhlanhla

2 July 2008

It is with great sadness that we, the African National Congress announce the passing away of Joe Nhlanhla.

He passed away after spending four weeks at Milpark Hospital, in a coma.

Joe Nhlanhla has dedicated his life to the struggle for a non-racial, non-sexist democratic South Africa. It is through the contribution of his extraordinary capacity of intelligence and militancy that today South Africans enjoy the benefits of a peaceful democratic country. His commitment to the struggle will always be honored and remembered by the ANC and the rest of the country.

Joseph (Joe) Mbuku Nhlanhla was born on 4 December 1936 in Sophiatown. He was one of the five children of Christina Toli (born Buhali) and Samuel Nhlanhla. Both parents were originally from the Free State Province (formerly known as Orange Free State). His father left Free State as he refused to be under the oppressive racist rules of the area he lived in and the family settled in Sophiatown.

A victim of the infamous Sophiatown forceful removals, the Nhlanhla family settled in Alexandra township. He attended school at the local primary school named, Ikage Primary School. He enrolled at Kilnerton High School, where he matriculated in 1956.

As a person who always had an interest in politics, he finally joined the African National Congress (ANC), and was an active member of the ANC Youth League. During this period, he served as the secretary of the Alexandra Youth League and was a member of the Transvaal Executive Committee of the ANC Youth League. His love for his people saw Joe getting involved in the anti-pass campaign as well as the 1957 bus and potato boycotts.

He was among the first people to be arrested during the 1960 state of emergency and was detained on 28 March that year. On his release a few days before the lifting of the emergency, he was 'restricted' and confined to the magisterial area of Johannesburg.

In 1964, Nhlanhla left South Africa for Tanzania after which he was selected by the ANC to study Economics at the Plekhanov Institute in Moscow. After completing his studies in 1969, he returned to Tanzania to serve as head of the ANC's youth and student structures.

In 1973, he was appointed as the ANC's Chief Representative in Egypt and the Middle East during which time he represented the ANC on the Afro- Asian People's Solidarity Organisation, the forerunner of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Nhlanhla, a long-serving member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, served on the National Preparatory Committee which prepared for the return of the ANC to South Africa. He was part of the ANC delegation at the Groote Schuur talks in May 1990, which opened negotiations with the South African Government.

During the Convention for a Democratic South Africa negotiations, Nhlanhla played a key role in smoothing over difficulties relating to the interim Government and the future of the intelligence services.

Nhlanhla was elected as Member of Parliament in the first democratic Parliament in 1994 and was appointed Deputy Minister for Intelligence Services in February 1995. In 1999, he was appointed by President Thabo Mbeki as Minister for Intelligence Services, a position he held until he was no longer able to due to ill health.

Nhlanhla's life speaks of his dedication to the cause of freedom of his people. He pursued the challenge of creating a better life for all South Africans, both Black and White, through his unwavering commitment of over half a century to advancing the climate for negotiations and peace.

We dip our revolutionary banner in remembrance of Joe Nhlanhla and wish to express our heartfelt condolences to the family and relatives.

Issued by
Jessie Duarte
ANC Spokesperson
Chief Albert Luthuli House
54 Sauer Street, Johannesburg
South Africa

For more information, interview requests and general enquiries:
Donovan Cloete 082 773 1013
Vuyisa Manyandela 011 376 1052

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