Hani's death remembered

By Drum Digital
10 April 2013

Former SACP leader Chris Hani was remembered 20 years after his death by his family, the ANC and its alliance partners at a wreath-laying ceremony on the East Rand on Wednesday.

Hani, who was also chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, was assassinated outside his house in Boksburg on April 10, 1993, by Polish hitman Janusz Walus with a gun arranged by right-winger Clive Derby-Lewis.

They were both sentenced to death, but this was commuted to life in prison when the death penalty was abolished.

Hani's wife Limpho and youngest daughter Lindiwe laid flowers on the former freedom fighter's grave at the Thomas Titus Nkombi Memorial Park in Elspark.

The two were joined by President Jacob Zuma, who is also ANC president, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande and Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Earlier, Zuma said South Africa owed Hani a debt of gratitude for what he did during the liberation struggle.

This debt could be repaid by showing commitment to society, he said.

"We must hasten to usher in the type of society comrade Chris lived and died for.

"We must honour the memory of comrade Chris by developing a better life for all, that he believed in," Zuma said.

He said Hani was courageous, fearless and brave and was respected by all.

Zuma broke out into song before he began speaking, singing "Inde indlela Esihambayo", the song he sang at the closing of the party's Mangaung conference in December.

Zuma also took the opportunity to reprimand those who said the government should stop blaming apartheid for its faults.

"To suggest we cannot blame apartheid for what is happening in our country now, I think is a mistake, to say the least," he said, in an apparent reference to comments made recently by Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel.

"We don't need to indicate what it is apartheid did. The fact that the country is two in one -- you go to any city, there is a beautiful part and squatters on the other side -- this is not the making of democracy and we can't stop blaming those who caused it," said Zuma.

Vavi shared Zuma sentiments, saying the best way to honour the memory of Hani was to ensure his ideals lived on and his sacrifices were not in vain.

"On one hand we join his family... to share their pain, which we know is much deeper than we can ever understand," Vavi said.

"On the other hand we are returning here to once again make a proclamation that we will not allow Chris Hani to die."

Vavi said Hani continued to inspire. However, he said, Hani would have been appalled by the scale of greed and crass materialism of the "new clique of tenderpreneurs" and those who saw access to political office as a ladder to personal wealth.

"He would never have tolerated the levels of corruption, fraud and squandering of public resources, and [would have] been absolutely devastated at the assassination of political rivals over the spoils of office, and the factional battles and disunity that this has unleashed," he said.

Hani's daughter Lindiwe gave a moving tribute to her father, who she called her hero.

"Chris Hani was always my hero, but I did not realise he was the whole country's hero," she said.

"I didn't realise my father was the Chris Hani until he had died."

Lindiwe said her father was passionate and dedicated to the country.

She said the realisation of what Hani meant to the people of South Africa was both a blessing and a curse.

"I miss my father every day, just as the nation misses Chris Hani.

"I have come to terms with sharing him.... He continues to thrive through all of us," she said.

Nzimande, who was speaking in isiZulu, said those who killed Hani had to tell the truth about who else was involved in the crime, or they should rot in jail.

"We don't want this to happen again," he said to loud cheers and clapping from the crowd.

A large white marquee had been erected near Hani's grave sight.

African National Congress and SACP leaders, Gauteng government officials and national government ministers attended the ceremony.

People dressed in red t-shirts with Hani's face printed on were bused in for the occasion.

-by Sapa

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