Thursday, May 28, 2015

SACP Tribute to Comrade Ruth Mompati Delivered by Second Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Solly Mapaila
21 May 2015, Johannesburg

The SACP sends its heartfelt condolences to the entire family and all the relatives of Comrade Ruth Mompati. We also extend our condolences to our long standing historical ally, the ANC, the MK Veterans` Association, our liberation Alliance and the democratic movement of our country as a whole, for the mountainous loss we have suffered.

The SACP was greatly saddened by the news of the passing on of the ANC stalwart and Umkhonto weSizwe veteran, Isithwalandwe-Seaparankwe Comrade Ruth Mompati. Comrade Ruth Mompati passed on at 89 in the early hours of the morning on 12 May 2015 after fighting a long illness. While death is inevitable at the end of life, especially more expected as old age takes precedence, it is nevertheless not an easy thing to handle.

This difficulty becomes formidable on those deaths which weigh like a mountain, such as the deaths of the heroes who fought selflessly in our struggle for liberation and social emancipation. Comrade Ruth Mompati was one of those finest revolutionaries. She was prepared to pay the highest price, to lay down her own life for liberation of our people. When such a calibre falls, the loss reverberates in all trenches of the continuing struggle. This has been the case from the death of Comrade Ruth Mompati.

The SACP says:

"In memory of Comrade Ruth Mompati, let us build and strengthen the Progressive Women`s movement. Let us deepen our struggle against patriarchal domination, and intensify, on all fronts, the struggle for a completely non-sexist society".

Let us recall the outstanding role played by women in our struggle for liberation and social emancipation. Let us pay tribute to them.

Women were the first to radicalise the struggle after the establishment, in 1910, of the Union of South Africa. While men were still involved in diplomatic petitioning of the British monarchy to grant our people equal rights in their own country, in the year 1913 women began to fight back through passive resistance and defiance campaigns against carrying passes. Women co-ordinated further resistance culminating, in early 1919, in a massive march confronting the oppressive regime. By 1922, the white minority state, in a country that was a British dominion of a colonial type, was forced to agree not to extend pass laws to women.

Throughout the 1950s women waged gallant struggles against the apartheid regime`s return to pass laws for women and other increasingly repressive laws that restricted freedom of movement and political rights. The SACP dips its red flag in recognition of the heroic women who participated in and led these struggles: Charlotte Maxeke, Dora Tamana, Bertha Mashaba, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa, Albertina Sisulu, Sophie De Bruyn, and trade unionist Frances Baard who was also involved in the drafting of the Freedom Charter.

Throughout our struggle, women played a major role, Josie Mpama, Cissie Gool, Bettie Du Toit, Ray Alexander, Ruth First, Fatima Meer, Dorothy Nyembe and countless more, sung and unsung heroes.

Women also swelled the ranks of our joint ANC-SACP armed wing - the people`s liberation army - the MK!

Comrade Ruth Mompati became deeply active in these struggles. She was actively involved in the historic defiance campaign of 1952. She became a founding member of the Federation of South African Women, and one of the leaders of the historic 9 August 1956 women`s march. In 1992 August, she addressed the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid on the important Question of Women. Following her address, an International Day of Solidarity with the Women of South Africa was declared.

Comrade Ruth Mompati served our liberation Alliance with outstanding dedication. A teacher by profession, she served as a long standing ANC National Executive Committee member. Among others, Dr Mompati worked with ANC Presidents Comrades Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela.

After the MK was established she joined its ranks and received military training.

She served our liberation struggle in exile. She was entrusted with the responsibility of secretary and head of women`s section in the ANC NEC while in exile in Tanzania.

Comrade Ruth Mompati never deserted the cause of our struggle for freedom and our liberation movement.

She stayed true to the values of our movement to the end!

Upon her return from exile, after our 1994 democratic breakthrough, she recognised that the struggle was not over. She recognised that this milestone, that is the 1994 democratic breakthrough, laid the basis for a new phase to continue the struggle after dislodging the apartheid regime. She thus continued serving our people in new, and different capacities as defined by the new context and as deployed by our movement. She kept pace with the time and could not afford to fire misguided missiles at the democratically government of the people mistaking it for an enemy government.

Comrade Ruth Mompati was elected and served as a member of our Parliament following our electoral victory in the first democratic general election in 1994. She later was redeployed to serve as our country`s Ambassador to Switzerland, from 1996 to 2000.

Comrade Ruth Mompati respected our revolutionary culture of discipline, especially the principle of democratic centralism. She never defined herself outside of, or projected herself above the organisational leadership and membership collectives of our movement. She never narrowed national service to national positions of responsibility either.

Upon her return from Switzerland, Comrade Ruth Mompati was elected and served as the mayor of Naledi in North Wet Province, the Province of Moses Kotane - the chief architect of our liberation Alliance. She further made herself available and served as an executive member of the MK Veterans` Association.

The highest honour we can bestow on Comrade Ruth Mompati is to advance the second, more radical phase of our democratic transformation!

We must uproot the systemic causes and dismantle the structural forces of the problems of social inequality, unemployment and poverty. For this to happen, we must distinguish between the enemy and the damage it causes but confront both. It will not be possible or sustainable to repair, for instance, the damage caused by the enemy, while leaving that enemy and its system that reproduces the problems untouched. We must avoid to run on a treadmill in the name of radical transformation or a revolution.

The triple challenges of social inequality, unemployment and poverty are not an enemy - they are the effects of the enemy system of economic exploitation in its historical context of national and gender oppression, colonial and imperialist domination in our country. The second, more radical phase of our transition therefore requires that, and will only succeed if, we go deeper and adopt systemic measures to uproot the causes and dislodge the underlying forces behind all the problems we face.

That will be radical, in memory of Comrade Ruth Mompati!

For general enquiries about SACP statements

Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo - National Spokesperson, Head of Communications
Mobile: 082 9200 308
Office: 011 339 3621/2
Twitter: @2SACP

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