TRIBUTE AT THE FUNERAL OF CDE NOMVUZO SHABALALA AND ANC MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT BY ANC KZN CHAIRPERSON, CDE SIHLE ZIKALALA, 31 DECEMBER 2020
Family of our departed Comrade and Compatriot, MP Nomvuzo Shabalala;
SACP Leadership, led by the Secretary General Cde Blade Nzimande;
ANC & COSATU Leadership;
The ANC Chief Whip Cde Pemmy Majodina;
MPs, MPLs, and Councillors;
Leadership of various political parties;
The untimely and painful demise of this outstanding revolutionary, Cde Nomvuzo Franscisca Shabalala has come too sudden.
We are still lost for words to adequately express our sense of loss, grief, and sense of powerlessness. Her passing reminds us again about how vulnerable and fragile our lives are.
On behalf of the African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal, we wish to convey our heartfelt and deepest sympathies to the family of Cde Nomvuzo. We also extend our condolences the leadership of the South African Communist Party where Cde Nomvuzo was a member of the Central Committee.
With heavy hearts, we say fare thee well our great Commissar. We will always remember you as a courageous and resolute cadre of the National Democratic Revolution.
We can only pay forward your sacrifices for our liberation by forging ahead to build a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society and build socialism in our lifetime.
Our movement has lost a freedom warrior that was selfless, courageous, and principled till her final hour.
To honour your memory, we vow to pick your spear and accelerate radical economic transformation in favour of the majority who remain landless and economically excluded. As we bid farewell to you, we recommit ourselves to the Freedom Charter which you struggled to see its demands fulfilled.
We cannot rest until we know that our homes and streets are safe for the children and women of this country, where patriarchy and sexism have been defeated and relegated into the shameful era of history.
We cannot rest on our laurels while the people of Ethekwini, King Cetshwayo, Umkhanyakude and Harry Gwala do not have adequate access to water and sanitation.
We cannot rest while the elderly of our country have to wake up at dawn, travel far, to wait in long queues to get their pension or medical help at our hospitals and clinics.
How can we rest when Africans at the farms continue to face racial attacks, evictions, and humiliation!
In your memory, we are called on to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, improve our health care system, and to revitalise our economy to ensure that the children of Ulundi, Nkandla, KwaMashu are skilled and have better economic opportunities to transform their own lives.
Born sixty years ago in the aftermath of the bloodbath of the Sharpeville Massacre, Cde Nomvuzo leaves this country which she loved wholeheartedly engulfed with the dark cloud of Covid-19 that continues to rob families of their loved ones.
She leaves our nation exposed to the vulgarities of deeply embedded inequalities where the poor and the weak, continue to face the harshest discrimination and assault by the pandemic.
As we gather here, we all know that in response to this pandemic Cde Nomvuzo insist that whatever health the state can afford, it must prioritise the poor of our land and help cushion them against this natural disaster.
Twenty six years into freedom, the ANC-led government has done more to restore the dignity of our people through the provision of basic services and social infrastructure. Side by side with our people, we have used our provincial legislatures and Parliament to enact laws which are aimed at uniting our people, fighting social ills, and tackling the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality.
As the African National Congress, we know that behind the victories that we celebrate, lie the untold stories of the dedication and commitment of activist cadres like Cde Nomvuzo who understood that the ANC exists not for its own glory, but to improve the lives of our people.
She serves in ANC eThekwini REC and PEC where displayed qualities of a workaholic who would undertake any task given to her.
As Deputy Mayor of Ethekwini, she served our people with distinction, humility, and respect. She was the embodiment of Batho-Pele always insisting that the provision of services by government to citizens was a Constitutional obligation, not a favour.
As the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, we were proud and honoured to send her to join the sixth Parliament last year. She did not take long to prove to be an asset to Parliament and as a member of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Ethics and Members Interests.
Comrades knew her where she stood on issues as she would never compromise on principle, ethics, and integrity. Her soul and commitment to the poorest of the poor had no price – she could not be bought, she was not for sale – and this quality endeared her to the rank and file of our movement.
In 2021, our nation will be commemorating 100 years of existence of the SACP without Cde Nomvuzo. As we take a leaf of this vanguard of our revolution, we will find in the glorious history of the Party Cde Nomvuzo as one of its most disciplined and articulate cadres. In writing her chapter, we will find a revolutionary who worked tirelessly and steadfastly for a more humane and socialist vision. We count her as among our finest freedom fighters who were seized with the question of women economic emancipation and the obliteration of patriarchy.
In paying tribute to this brave heroine of our noble struggle and the South African working class, we learn that revolutionaries are not born but are the product of the revolution.
Her life in the trenches of the anti-apartheid struggle and in the trade union movement teaches us that revolutionaries consciously choose to dedicate their lives to the cause of ordinary people and the oppressed.
Revolutionaries are driven by their deep thirst for justice, development, and peace. They are ultimately humanity’s hope for redemption against man-made vices that create social inequities and human suffering.
And so, fellow compatriots, as we lay to rest our dear comrade, it would be amiss of me not to warn our communities against the dangers of our new and vicious enemy, Covid-19.
Let us protect ourselves from the virus and prevent its spread by adhering to the safety regulations which include avoiding crowded places and large gatherings. Let us observe social distancing, wear masks, and wash our hands regularly with soap or sanitiser.
May the departure of this revolutionary cadre strengthen the unity of the ANC, SACP, and COSATU.
Only through unity and commitment to the poor masses can we attain the vision of socialism and ensure that the provision of healthcare is not determined by one’s pockets or location.
To surmise, the life and struggle of Cde Nomvuzo is the expression of what Cde Chris Hani defined as a vision of socialism, where he said:
“Socialism is not about big concepts and heavy theory. Socialism is about decent shelter for those who are homeless. It is about water for those who have no safe drinking water. It is about health care, it is about a life of dignity for the old. It is about overcoming the huge divide between urban and rural areas. It is about a decent education for all our people. Socialism is about rolling back the tyranny of the market. As long as the economy is dominated by an unelected, privileged few, the case for socialism will exist.”
Cde Nomvuzo may be gone, but the dream of socialism lives on. Farewell Cde Nomvuzo, your name will endure to inspire the future generations.
Long live the undying spirit of Cde Nomvuzo Shabalala Long live!!!