SACP Media Release, 5 April 2008

Loyalty as the supreme revolutionary virtue!

A farewell to our Deputy National Chairperson, Cde Ncumisa Kondlo; funeral oration delivered by Cde Blade Nzimande, SACP General Secretary

It is with deep sadness that we are today gathered here to bid farewell to one of the most dedicated and loyal cadres of our South African Communist Party and our broader liberation movement.

We take this opportunity as the SACP to express our most profound and sincere condolences to the Kondlo and Mthwazi families for the loss of a mother, a sister, a daughter and a daughter-in-law. We also wish to extend similar condolences to all the friends and colleagues of Cde Ncumisa in all the organizations and institutions in which she participated and served.

Indeed Cde Ncumisa’s passing away is a huge loss to the SACP and the broader liberation movement. Like all dedicated revolutionaries, driven by hatred of all forms of oppression and exploitation, Cde Ncumisa had a kind heart and deep feelings of love for her people in general, particularly the workers and the poor of our country. As a person she was also very generous and selfishness was a foreign concept or practice to her. She was truly driven by all these values, and that is what made her a communist and a combatant for a radical national democratic revolution.

We are bidding farewell to our Deputy Chairperson a few days before we commemorate the cowardly assassination of our late General Secretary, Cde Martin Thembisile ‘Chris’ Hani on 10th April 1993. The assassination of Cde Chris is something that we have not fully overcome, given the fact that there are still a number of unanswered questions surrounding his assassination.

Cde Ncumisa, together with the rest of the SACP, was firmly behind the call, which we wish to repeat here today, that a full judicial inquest be set up to exhaustively investigate all the circumstances surrounding the assassination of Cde Chris. We also wish to reiterate our call that Clive Derby-Lewis and Janus Walusz must not be considered at all for any pardon. We are only willing to consider a possible pardon if these two murderers tell the whole truth about the plot to assassinate Cde Chris and tell us about all those who were involved.

Cde Ncumisa, a loyal cadre of our movement

If there is one primary characteristic by which one can characterize Cde Ncumisa and come to fully understand her, it was that of complete loyalty to the SACP and the ANC, and to the cause of the workers and the poor of our country. I must admit that in the years that one has been part of the liberation I have come to appreciate that one of the most important and overriding virtues in the struggle is that of LOYALTY to one’s organizations and their programmes.

To me at least, one can find comrades with a lot of bravery, but if they do not have unwavering loyalty, they are liable to sell out at some stage or vulnerable to be co-opted by many other temptations that are inimical to the values and traditions of our movement.

But with unwavering loyalty, a number of other things tend to follow. Cde Ncumisa was very loyal to the SACP, to the ANC and to the many organizations she served in her life of struggle.

Loyalty also comes with total immersion of oneself into the organization, and not be tempted to reduce the organization into their own personal agendas. Today we see a number of comrades who feel that they are entitled to hold particular positions in organizations, and if they are removed from such positions, they turn against the organization. We have no traditional leaders in our movement; we all serve at the pleasure of the members of those organizations.

Loyalty also means that we must serve our organizations irrespective of the positions we occupy. Cde Ncumisa was again exemplary in this regard. For instance a few years back Cde Ncumisa, together with Cde Phumulo, our National Treasurer, were unceremoniously removed from the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, in a manner that left a bitter after-taste amongst many of us in the movement, but she never sulked, despite the fact that she was one of the best performing MECs for welfare and social development at the time. Instead this action spurred her on to continue serving our people, because she understood that you do not have to be in the executive of government in order to loyally serve the people; just as you do not have to occupy any particular position in an organization in order to serve your people. That is loyalty! That is what Cde Ncumisa had in abundance.

Cde Ncumisa also understood that loyalty comes with forthrightness and boldness in articulating your views within the structures of our organization. She understood that there was no contradiction between loyalty on the one hand, and criticism and self-criticism, on the other hand. In fact to gloss over problems facing the organization and not raise them, and not to be self critical, is actually being disloyal to one’s organization and its programmes.

It was because of her unwavering loyalty to the ANC, that Cde Ncumisa threw her full weight in the discussions and debates in the run up to the Polokwane Conference, directly and fearlessly raising what she saw as shortcomings and weaknesses in our organization. We for instance used to have lengthy discussions about what we saw as the progressive demobilization of the ANC outside election campaigns. That is why she threw her full weight into the struggle to ensure that we emerge from Polokwane with an ANC that the committed to mass mobilization and campaigning and not simply reduced into being a government.

For this the SACP will throw its full weight in realizing the January 8 message of the ANC as delivered by President Zuma, to make 2008 (and beyond) a year of mass mobilization to build a caring society. Incidentally this theme in itself captures Ncumisa’s own personality and orientation. As a communist she fought for a caring society, which she understood as what socialism is. She herself was a caring person (Intombi Enobubele).

But even more importantly, she firmly believed that we cannot build a caring society without building caring organizations. She hated some of the negative practices within our own organizations, that of selective treatment of comrades, that of having other members’s members, that of patronage and that of marginalizing those seen not to be toeing the line of particular individual leaders in our organizations. To her this was a sign of uncaring organizations, that in time, would, as our National Chairperson likes to say, create a revolution that devours its own children.

Cde Ncumisa was a loyal cadre of our movement. As a loyal cadre she also knew that our movement and its constituent organizations, had to be defended at all times. She passes away at a time when the SACP is facing some concerted attack from an unholy alliance of discredited elements within our own ranks, our detractors outside the SACP, elements within the security establishment (especially the Scorpions), colluding with sections of the media, especially the Mail and Guardian, the City Press and elements within the SABC News Division. Cde Ncumisa herself was a subject of this attack by sections of the media. But she never personalized this nor cowered by it, but instead was concerned about defending the SACP. That was a loyal revolutionary!

It is incumbent on all of us to follow Cde Ncumisa’s example by loyally defending our organizations, our movement, its values and traditions, by being LOYAL.

It is these values and traditions, underpinned by loyalty, that will ensure that our liberation movement does not degenerate and abandons the mission it had set for itself. For example what we are seeing in Zimbabwe today, more than anything else, is a tragic example of what happens to a liberation movement if it has degenerated.

Zanu-PF, a once heroic and proud organization, which bravely fought for the liberation of the Zimbabwean people, seemed to have been corrupted and abandoned some of its values, once it became more dependent on its control of state institutions. In the process Zanu-PF gradually lost some of its values, and embarked on practices that have alienated it from its social base. The primary lesson from Zimbabwe is that we should never allow the substitution of mass mobilization and the voice of people with state institutions and state power.

It is for this reason that as part of rebuilding that country, it is important that the election results are all immediately released, and for the outcome of the elections to be accepted by all. We strongly condemn the threats by elements within the security organs of that country that they will not accept particular outcomes. That will certainly drive Zimbabwe into even deeper trouble.

Advance the struggle to lower the cost of living for the majority of our people

As a loyal cadre and leader of our Party, Cde Ncumisa participated in all the programmes and campaigns of the SACP. We call upon all our cadres to follow in her example, and to strengthen a vanguard and campaigning SACP, rooted amongst the workers and the poor in our country.

We are bidding farewell to Cde Ncumisa at a time when the workers and the poor of our country are facing new assaults on their living standards. We have moved from one form of assault of the working class through retrenchments, casualisation and lowering of wages, to another assault, that of high prices and interest rates.

We are seeing the rise of food prices (including price fixing by monopolies), rise in fuel prices, rise in medical costs, rise in interest rates, and now a proposed massive tariff hikes for electricity. This is lowering the standard of living of our people and threatens to undo whatever modest advances we have made since 1994.

In honour of Cde Ncumisa, let us throw our weight behind the SACP’s Chris Hani Month programme, in which we intend to embark on mass action to defend the standard of living of our people. There can be no better way to honour this gallant fighter than to deepen our campaigns.

In her honour as a committed gender activist we will also ensure that in all our campaigns we place women’s emancipation and gender equality at the centre of all our struggles.

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