Deaths of 'Ekurhuleni 10' must unite ANC - Mantashe

2016-04-22 10:34

Ekurhuleni - The deaths of 10 ANC Ekurhuleni members in a bus crash at the weekend should be seen as an opportunity to, not only mourn them, but to reaffirm unity within the party, secretary general Gwede Mantashe says.

"Members of the ANC must mourn and celebrate the lives of these comrades and be reminded that dying on duty is the highest prize comrades can pay for unity and solidarity," Mantashe told a tent filled with hundreds of family, friends and supporters in Vosloorus on Thursday afternoon.

The deceased, who are now referred to as the "Ekurhuleni 10", died on Sunday after a bus they were travelling in left the N1, overturned and crashed between Winburg and Ventersburg in the Free State.

They are Sicelo Kheswa, Sphamandla Gedle, Simphiwe Nhlapo, Tisetso Ntsilo, Gugulethe Sithole, Mphikeleli Malindi, Vusi Nkabinde, Daphney Linda, Sesi Mtshali and Sana Sibeko.

All 10 died on their way back home from the ANC manifesto launch held in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Mantashe described them as revolutionary soldiers, saying they should be celebrated because they had died for a good cause.

He said their deaths should be a reminder that the unity of the ruling party was of paramount importance and was needed now, more than ever before.

"As we call on to you commemorate their lives, use this occasion to unite the movement. The ANC needs unity today more than any time before.

"This occasion of the death of 10 of its cadres must be a reminder to us that when we are united we are better, when we are divided we vulnerable."

"Any Tom, Dick and Harry can attack us and play on us. Our unity is paramount," he said.

Mantashe told the crowd that the ruling party had done more to provide basic services for South Africans in the past 20 years than the former apartheid regime had ever done.

He said those who were yet to receive services should remain patient and be hopeful.

"We deliver services, sometimes they have not touched me personally, but what keeps me hopeful is that I see the delivery of services coming in installments and that must revive our hope that it will ultimately arrive to where I am," he said.

Mantashe also warned members to be cautious of opposition parties who were constantly attempting to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of ANC members.

"Our internal divisions make it easy for the people to repeat the lie that nothing has happened since 1994.

"It is not because nothing has happened, it is because when we fight, when we are divided, when we display those divisions, people lose hope in us then we have what I call 'the trust deficit'."

This was beginning to make people doubt whether they could trust the ANC and still have confidence in it, he said.

"Our duty is to go...everywhere and reaffirm the African National Congress."

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