The Chief Whip of the African National Congress (ANC) in Parliament, Comrade Jackson Mthembu, along with ANC Senior MP Comrade Charles Nqakula led a condolence motion in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The condolence motion was in memory of ANC Stalwart, Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, former political prisoner, anti-apartheid activist and icon of our hard won democracy. Uncle Kathy, as he is fondly known, passed away in March this year.
Uncle Kathy left an indelible foot print that will never be erased. He was a source of wisdom, a lesson in humility, tolerance and resilience, Mthembu told the Assembly. He then offered his condolences to Uncle Kathy’s wife, Comrade Barbara Hogan, the Kathrada family, the ANC family and the country.
We must preserve the memory of Uncle Kathy as a mirror for ourselves, as members of the ANC in this parliament, to see whether we are succeeding in emulating his values, beseeched ANC MP Charles Nqakula. Uncle Kathy worked with Nelson Mandela and together with other comrades like Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu to create a new nation with new values, he added.
Nqakula also paid tribute to many South Africans who have lost their lives in the recent past.
The brazen murder of young women and children and brazen criminality, required our collective wisdom, said Nqakula, calling for the public’s full support for the police, who cannot do their work without the support of communities.
Nqakula also asked MP’s to use their constituency resources to educate communities and stop the carnage.
He condemned the tendency to seek to ‘airbrush’ our past because it sits uncomfortable with some.
He singled out the painful history of Indians in this country in our struggle for liberation.
Uncle Kathy’s courage and that of many other comrades gave impetus to the Youth of 1976.
Nqakula said it was also important to know that the racist Nationalist Party government used divide and rule to separate uncle Kathy from other comrades but Uncle Kathy refused. As accused number 5 in the so-called Rivonia Trial, the lawyers had told him that the state had an option to release him but Uncle Kathy chose his comrades and gave 26 years of his life.
The struggle for liberation has been long and hard, Nqakula said.
Uncle Kathy understood organisational discipline at all times. If the organisation had taken a decision Uncle Kathy would abide by that decision. He was a man of action and adhered to all requests by ANC leaders.
“You would have to force him to lead, he was not a man who wanted positions for himself,” Nqakula said.
Towards the end of his life, Uncle Kathy expressed misgivings about the direction the ANC was heading towards. He wanted the ANC to destroy corruption, which was destroying our moral values as an organization and destroying our country.
He raised his concerns openly and without fear, and it remained a painful experience to have to go public with his criticism of the ANC and its leaders, Nqakula said.
Nqakula received Uncle Kathy’s message as simple, ‘Guard our precious movement’.
This was a similar message that comrade Oliver Reginald Tambo had given to the generation of Uncle Kathy in the early 90’s.
Other Members of Parliament also gave Tribute to Uncle Kathy. The Democratic Alliance acknowledged him as an activist and a humanitarian to the core.
The Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi also paid tribute to uncle Kathy, calling him his friend and expressed gratitude for his contribution to the liberation of our country.