Hani earned his stripes – Zuma

2013-04-26 19:13

President Jacob Zuma delivered a moving tribute to slain SACP leader Chris Hani during a memorial lecture in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape this afternoon.

Zuma was speaking to hundreds of ANC supporters at the Thobi Kula sport centre where he spoke of Hani’s selfless struggle for the attainment of freedom in the country.

Among those who attended was Hani’s widow, Limpho Hani, and top ANC officials from the Provincial Executive Committee and regional leaders.

Speaking on the eve of the Freedom Day celebrations, which will be held tomorrow, Zuma said Hani had sacrificed his life so that this day (Freedom Day) could be possible.

“The life of Chris Hani was a life given to the struggle for liberation, not (by) accident of history or coincidence, but because of the material conditions of his own and his people’s existence,” Zuma said.

The sports complex was swamped by Zuma’s heavily armed security guards who closed all access gates as soon as Zuma started delivering the lecture, leaving locked-out people frustrated.

The president, who arrived in a military helicopter, was escorted out of the venue by VIP police vehicles as soon as he had delivered his speech.

Hani, born and bred, in Sabalele village outside Cofimvaba was gunned down on April 10 1993, on the eve of the country’s first democratic elections.

Zuma praised Hani for his love of education despite the very difficult conditions he faced when growing up in rural Sabalele.

He said Hani became a master tactician during his days as a member of the ANC youth league.

The former SACP general secretary was one of the first combatants of the MK who was prepared to lay down his life for “the people’s just cause for freedom, equality and justice,” he said.

“He was a veteran of MK who earned his stripes ... he articulated what needed to be done eloquently.”

Earlier in the day Zuma visited the Chris Hani Multi-purpose Centre in Sabalele where he met Hani’s family and the community.

He also attended the official opening of the regional ANC offices named after Hani.

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