Last night, the millions of the people of South Africa, majority of whom the working class and poor, and the billions of the rest of the people the world over, lost a true revolutionary, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Tata Madiba.
The South African Communist Party joins the people of South Africa and the world in expressing its most sincere condolences to Ms. Graca Machel and the entire Mandela family on the loss of what President Zuma correctly described as South Africa’s greatest son, Comrade Mandela.
We also wish to use this opportunity to express our solidarity with the African National Congress, an organisation that produced him and that he also served with distinction, as well as all his colleagues and comrades in our broader liberation movement. As Tata Madiba said, “It is not the kings and generals that make history but the masses of the people, the workers, the peasants. …”
The passing away of Comrade Mandela marks an end to the life of one of the greatest revolutionaries of the 20th century, who fought for freedom and against all forms of oppression in both their countries and globally. As part of the masses that make history, Comrade Mandela’s contribution in the struggle for freedom was located and steeled in the collective membership and leadership of our revolutionary national liberation movement as led by the ANC — for he was not an island. In Comrade Mandela we had a brave and courageous soldier, patriot and internationalist who, to borrow from Che Guevara, was a true revolutionary guided by great feelings of love for his people, an outstanding feature of all genuine people’s revolutionaries.
At his arrest in August 1962, Nelson Mandela was not only a member of the then underground South African Communist Party, but was also a member of our Party’s Central Committee. To us as South African communists, Comrade Mandela shall forever symbolise the monumental contribution of the SACP in our liberation struggle. The contribution of communists in the struggle to achieve the South African freedom has very few parallels in the history of our country. After his release from prison in 1990, Comrade Madiba became a great and close friend of the communists till his last days.
The one major lesson we need to learn from Mandela and his generation of leaders was their commitment to principled unity within each of our Alliance formations as well as the unity of our Alliance as a whole and that of the entire mass democratic movement. Their generation struggled to build and cement the unity of our Alliance, and we therefore owe it to the memory of Comrade Madiba to preserve the unity of our Alliance. Let those who do not understand the extent to which blood was spilt in pursuance of Alliance unity be reminded not to throw mud at the legacy and memory of the likes of Madiba by being reckless and gambling with the unity of our Alliance.
The SACP supported Madiba’s championing of national reconciliation. But national reconciliation for him never meant avoiding tackling the class and other social inequalities in our society, as some would like to make us believe today. For Madiba, national reconciliation was a platform to pursue the objective of building a more egalitarian South African society free of the scourge of racism, patriarchy and gross inequalities. And true national reconciliation shall never be achieved in a society still characterized by the yawning gap of inequalities and capitalist exploitation.
In honour of this gallant fighter, the SACP will intensify the struggle against all forms of inequality, including intensifying the struggle for socialism, as the only political and economic solution to the problems facing humanity.
For the SACP, the passing away of Madiba must give all those South Africans who had not fully embraced a democratic South Africa, and who still in one way or the other hanker to the era of white domination, a second chance to come to terms with a democratic South Africa founded on the principle of majority rule.
We call upon all South Africans to emulate his example of selflessness, sacrifice, commitment and service to his people.
The SACP says, “Hamba kahle Mkhonto!” [“Go well, brave warrior!”]