Wandile Mkhize remembered as a loyal, responsible leader

2012-07-06 00:00

A MONTH before his untimely death, murdered African National Congress councillor Wandile Mkhize (34) visited the graves of struggle heroes buried in Lusaka, Zambia, where he prayed for divine intervention for the ruling party’s divisions to be mended.

Delivering his tribute at a memorial service at the Ugu Sports and Leisure Centre yesterday, Mkhize’s friend John Lambberte said he had accompanied him on his visit to the graves.

“Although he did not say it, it was his way of showing appreciation for their part in the struggle and to say that their efforts will not be taken for granted.”

Lambberte said Mkhize, the Hibiscus Coast Municipality councillor who was gunned down outside his Manaba home on Saturday night, insisted on visiting every grave to pay his respects.

He said Mkhize had asked for divine intervention at former ANC secretary-general Duma Nokwe’s grave for the splits between senior members in the country to be mended. He also prayed for corruption, poverty and crime in the country to be rooted out.

“He prayed at length for the [ANC] youth league and for the leadership to be blessed with wisdom and insight so that they may lead the youth with responsibility,” he added.

“When we were leaving, he turned to me and said ‘this visit will become significant one day’.”

“After that day, I knew that Wandile would be a future president of this country and I would have been glad [if he had become president].”

Parts of the trip were documented and images were projected during his speech.

People attending the memorial sang that Mkhize’s killers came from within the ANC because he was principled and about to spill the beans on corrupt members.

Other speakers added that Mkhize’s intellect and political ideologies made him a promising future leader of the country. Opposition parties also praised him for his political arguments, saying that while they differed in ideology, Mkhize remained focused in his quest for justice for all in a democratic South Africa.

Community Safety and Liaison MEC Willies Mchunu, who is also the provincial ANC deputy chairperson, said it is unlikely that the ANC and South Africa will find another Wandile Mkhize in the near future.

“He was one of the most loyal, selfless and principled members of the ANC. Though he argued, he did it with discipline and respect, unlike the disrespect displayed by other leaders his age.”

Mchunu said the ANC and police would not rest until Mkhize’s killers were found.

“Who knew that he had just returned from the policy conference in Johannesburg? [It] Can’t just be anybody. Somebody very close knew. When we find the assassin, he must show us who his boss is.”

Mkhize’s brother Andile, the Cosas national secretary-general, said that the memorial made the reality of his brother’s death sink in. “We have been coping thanks to the support from the ANC and everyone else. But today is a very hard day for us. It is like a reality check.

“His blood will speak and we will know who did this. I knew Wandile was a very impactful politician but only today did I fully understand just how great that impact has been. We will continue to forge forward and fulfil his legacy.”

Andile said that it was his brother who had introduced him to politics.

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