TRIBUTE BY KZN PREMIER SIHLE ZIKALALA ON THE PASSING AWAY OF HON. RICARDO NJABULO MTHEMBU, KZN LEGISLATURE, 21 JULY 2020
Speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Ntobeko Boyce;
Honourable Members;
On Wednesday the 8th of July Honourable Ricardo Njabulo Mthembu, a member of this legislature in the 6th Administration, departed to the world of eternity.
Indeed, his passing away is still fresh in our minds and it will take a while for our wounds to stop bleeding. Once more, we convey our heartfelt condolences to his wife, children, relatives, and friends. We further thank them for disclosing that Honourable Mthembu succumbed to Covid-19.
We all need to ensure that we take full responsibility to educate our people about this invisible, deadly virus. We must focus on curbing the spread and eliminate the stigmatization.
Honourable Mthembu distinguished himself through selfless service and remarkable humility. Growing up in KwaDukuza, he endeared himself to the community of Chris Hani and surrounding areas. He dedicated himself to the struggle which nearly cost him his life. He endured untold suffering and torture at the hands of our enemy agents. Instead of being bitter, resentful, and vengeful, he understood that the success of our noble struggle was not dependent on revenging against our adversaries, but building peace and laying a solid foundation for creating better living conditions for the oppressed black majority.
With his demise at the prime of his life, we have lost a champion in local government and local economic development. His outstanding record as Mayor of KwaDukuza speaks for itself. Our own Legislature have lost a seasoned cadre who was driven by the pursuit of the National Democratic Revolution whose character and vision is a united, non-racial and non-sexist, equal, just, and prosperous society.
Our Legislature will miss his wisdom, gentleness, calm, humour, firmness, and assuring voice.
The African National Congress will not seek to replace him because a Ricardo Mthembu comes once in a lifetime to inspire humanity to be agents of radical change and harbingers of peace and development.
We must use his memory and legacy to stay united and to accelerate the implementation of policies that are aimed at restoring the humanity and dignity of the poorest of the poor.
In bidding farewell to Honourable Mthembu at his funeral, I borrowed from the words of Nikolai Ostrovsky who said:
Man's dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once, and he must live it so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years, never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, dying he might say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world—the fight for the Liberation of Mankind.
We thank Honourable Mvelase for choosing the finest cause on earth – the liberation of our people from the shackles of oppression, human indignity and underdevelopment.
Let us unite and advance development in this province which this departed warrior dearly loved. And Let Us Grow KwaZulu-Natal Together!
I thank you!