Honour for ANC leader

2012-04-27 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality is in line to have part of its Mountain Rise cemetery declared a national heritage site.

This follows a notice placed in newspapers by the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) to have all former presidents of the ANC’s grave sites declared national heritage sites, along with the graves of the icons of political resistance and liberation struggle movements.

Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela jokingly told the full council this week that he thought he was the wisest man, but little did he know that the third president of the ANC, Josiah Tshangana Gumede, was buried in Mountain Rise cemetery.

“We would like all interested parties to make submissions to have the grave of the former ANC president declared a heritage site,” he said, adding that submissions would be closed by May 25.

President Jacob Zuma visited Gumede’s grave last week as part of the centenary celebrations of the ANC.

Donald Gumede, the grandson of Gumede and an ANC member of parliament, said the family has already been approached by the province about the intention to declare his grandfather’s grave a national heritage site.

“My grandfather was a Pietermaritzburg son so the family is very proud,” said Donald, adding that Gumede spent most of his political life in the city.

“My grandfather mentored the struggle stalwarts like Archie Gumede, his son, Harry Gwala and many others in the city,” he added.

Advocate Ranjiv Nirghin, chairperson of the crematorium crisis committee, welcomed the idea, saying it would attract tourists.

Nirghin said: “When a place has been declared a national heritage site then there is additional funding that goes with that, which will mean the improvement of the Mountain Rise cemetery.”

The graves SAHRA wants to declare heritage sites are those of all seven past presidents of the ANC — John Langalibalele Dube, Reverend Sefako Makgatho, Josiah Tshangana Gumede, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Dr Alfred Bitini Xuma, Chief Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli and Oliver Reginald Tambo, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe (PAC president) and Stephen Bantu Biko (leader of the Black Consciousness Movement).

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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