ANC Media Release, 5 April 2008

Address of Jacob Zuma at funeral of Ncumisa Kondlo

Address delivered by the President of the African National Congress, Cde Jacob Zuma, on the occasion of the funeral of the late Cde Ncumisa Kondlo, Member of Parliament, Caucus Chair, NEC and NWC member and SACP Deputy Chairperson, held at Ndwayana Village, Peddie, Eastern Cape

The Kondlo family, relatives and friends,
Members of the ANC National Executive Committee,
Leadership of the SACP and COSATU, Comrades and friends,

We have gathered from all corners of our country to bid farewell to a warrior, a revolutionary and a patriot.

With deep sorrow and sadness, we are to lay to rest the remains of Cde Ncumisa Kondlo, an outstanding and courageous daughter of our struggle, a leading member of the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party.

Despite the pain and grief, we have to remind ourselves of the battle cry of the 80s when we lost our revolutionaries in great numbers inside and outside the country. In the face of that adversity, the cadres of the movement shouted: “Don’t Mourn, Mobilise”.

When we lay to rest a valiant, courageous and resilient freedom fighter who has fallen at her post on the battlefield, we have to pick up her spear and carry on! We cannot mourn: we must mobilize! Our battle-scarred working class, our death-defying youth, our militant women, our tested peasantry and patriotic intelligentsia - and in particular our national liberation movement led by the ANC, today pays eternal tribute to Cde Ncumisa Kondlo.

We salute her for the great advances made towards the realization of our liberation goals, and her contribution to nation building and the reconstruction of our country. She moved among the youth - as an organiser of SAYCO and later the Youth League. She moved among the workers as a member of the SACP and the working class movement as a whole. She continued throughout her life to maintain the closest relations with the trade union movement. She was a seasoned political leader of outstanding ability, who knew both how to follow, and how to lead. Ncumisa Kondlo was of the people, and for the people, a product of the stern university of internal mass struggles of the 1980s.

She cut her teeth in student political activism within the student and the youth movement. She was also a product of the life experience of the exploited and downtrodden workers and peasants of our country.

It was that education which inspired and propelled Cde Ncumisa to join the ANC, the South African Communist Party and to work with COSATU. Her activism in student structures led her directly to being one of the leading figures of the vibrant youth movement at the time, which played an instrumental role in mobilizing young people against apartheid.

It came as no surprise when she was elected to serve in the National Executive Committee of the South African Youth Congress (SAYCO), with the likes of Peter Mokaba, Rapu Molekane and Parks Mankahlana in 1989.

Given her outstanding qualities, it was also not surprising that she rose through the ranks of the Communist Party, elected into the Central Committee in 1998, the Politburo in 2001 and in 2007 when she became party Deputy Chairperson.

At the time of her sad passing she had been elected by the branches of the ANC to the National Executive Committee in Polokwane. We still expected to gain a lot from her wisdom and leadership in Parliament, where she was the Chairperson of the ANC Caucus.

This combination of functions sometimes surprised some and puzzled others who do not understand our traditions within the Alliance. They wondered why Comrade Ncumisa could serve in so many senior positions in different organisations.

The ability to hold these positions simultaneously by our cadres upsets our detractors because it reflects the permanence and acceptability of the unity of the revolutionary Alliance. It was part of Comrade Ncumisa's gift and greatness that, having quite early on understood the importance of the unity of the liberation movement, she succeeded in ably serving each component of the Alliance individually and all of them collectively.

Comrade Ncumisa knew that the durability of the alliance between the ANC, the Communist Party and the trade union movement lay in strengthening each as an independent formation and in securing their co-operation on an entirely voluntary basis. She therefore always worked to ensure that, these formations respected each other's independence, and helped one another to develop among them a deep-seated feeling of revolutionary unity and inter-dependence.

Comrade Kondlo had internalised and lived by the words of our President OR Tambo, uttered when addressing the SACP 60th Anniversary when he said:

"The relationship between the ANC and the SACP is not an accident of history, nor is it a natural and inevitable development. For, as we can see, similar relationships have not emerged in other parts of Africa. Ours is not merely a paper alliance, created at conference tables and formalised through the signing of documents and representing only an agreement of leaders. Our alliance is a living organism that has grown out of struggle. We have built it out of our separate and common experiences."

We can pay no greater tribute to Cde Ncumisa Kondlo as a nation and the movement that she belonged to, than to learn from her life and to rediscover and remain true to those values that guided her life.

We must mobilize, strengthen the ANC and the Alliance, and continue the transformation process that would make our country truly belong to all who live in it, especially the poor and marginalized.

Comrade Ncumisa exemplified and embodied all that was good and noble about our movement and our alliance as expressed in our vision for our country and people. Her love for her country was all inclusive and eternal. She was a unifier, not a divider. She was a builder, not a destroyer.

In these challenging times in the life of the organisation we are all called upon to return to the traditional values and culture of our movement. When we say 'don't mourn, mobilize' in her memory, we refer to the mammoth task of organisational renewal and the need for unity.

Her passing should serve to remind all of us to strive for unity and to put the well-being of the organisation above all personal and sectarian interests and considerations. We must mobilise to defend the Alliance and make it stronger and more dynamic. Cde Ncumisa would expect us not to mourn for her but to mobilize, for as long as unemployment, poor wages, poverty and the gap between the poor and the rich exist in our country.

She would expect us to build the ANC to continue to be a revolutionary mass movement that responds to the needs of our people.

Our movement currently faces vicious attacks from many quarters who are threatened by its working class bias. Some sections of the privileged classes are intimidated by its unapologetic stance as a disciplined force of the left. In response, we must mobilize and organize and strengthen the ANC and the Alliance.

We must strengthen our internal structures starting from the branches upwards. We must, in Cde Ncumisa’s memory, ensure the renewal of values and the development of strong ANC branches which are steeped in ANC traditions and internal democracy, revolutionary discipline, and the culture of democratic debates.

In the memory of this soldier, we must build branches which have a strong culture of consultation and reporting back to our people, branches that put the people at the centre of whatever they do.

Because she was a democrat, Cde Ncumisa knew that the ANC had to be seized with these tasks. She was herself seized with these activities.

That is why we say, no matter how painful the loss is, don't mourn, mobilize!

In mobilizing we must ensure that new ANC members are properly inducted to the culture and traditions of our movement. We need to strengthen our induction programmes by hastening the establishment of our political school as per the directives of the 52nd conference.

With a stronger ANC and Alliance, we will be able to achieve the ideals that Cde Ncumisa lived for.

We will build a South Africa where no child goes to bed hungry, where no woman or man must fetch water from the river to drink or cook, where there are no bucket toilets, where there is adequate housing, security and comfort for all, and where education is free for all our children up to undergraduate level.

We shall achieve these goals in memory of Ncumisa Kondlo, Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani, John Gomomo, the MK fighters who fell all over Southern Africa and abroad fighting for freedom, the children who faced the might of the apartheid state bare-handed inside the country.

We shall do it to pay tribute to workers in the mines, farms, factories and other sectors who toil daily to build the economy of our country. We owe it to them to deliver the South Africa that is described in our country’s Constitution, a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.

We extend our deepest condolences to Cde Ncumisa’s son and the entire family. We share your pain. We trust that you will take some comfort from the knowledge that she will forever be remembered for her positive contribution to our national liberation.

As her family you loved her, but you surrendered her to the revolutionary struggle because you realized that freedom had to be won at all costs. Today, be proud of her.

She is a true daughter of the South African soil, a hero among heroes, and an outstanding revolutionary whose achievements in pursuit of freedom and a better life will live on eternally.

That is why in her memory; we renew the call to all our cadres: Don't Mourn, Mobilise!

Lala Ngoxolo Bhelekazi!

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