ANC mourns loss of 'gentle giant of our struggle' Skweyiya

2018-04-11 11:03
Zola Skweyiya with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at the ANC National General Council in Durban in 2010. (Thuli Dlamini/Gallo)

Zola Skweyiya with Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at the ANC National General Council in Durban in 2010. (Thuli Dlamini/Gallo)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The ANC was mourning the loss of ANC veteran Zola Skweyiya, who died in Pretoria on Wednesday morning.

Skweyiya's death came after a protracted illness, and just days before his 76th birthday on Saturday, April 14, said ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.

READ: ANC veteran Zola Skweyiya dies at 75

"On behalf of the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC and the entire membership of the movement, we pass our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Thuthukile Skweyiya, and the entire family for their loss," he said.

"The movement mourns with them as we celebrate the life of this gentle giant of our struggle."

Skweyiya was born in Simon's Town, Cape Town, in 1942.

He was an activist in high school and joined the ANC in Fort Hare in 1956.

Worked for ANC in various capacities

He matriculated four years later at Loveday College, in Alice.

Mabe said Skweyiya organised party activities until he went into exile in Tanzania in 1963, and later, Lusaka in Zambia.

The ANC sent him to Germany to study law and he obtained his degree in 1978 from the University of Leipzig.

"He worked for the ANC in various offices and capacities and was responsible for setting up the ANC office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia," said Mabe.

ALSO READ: Winnie was a real makoti – ANC veteran Lillian Diedericks

From 1984 to 1993, he represented the ANC at the UN Commission for Human Rights.

He also represented the ANC at the Organisation of African Unity between 1982 and 1985.

He was recalled to set up the ANC legal and constitutional department in Lusaka, which he headed until 1990 in Zambia and until 1994 in Johannesburg.

On his return, he chaired the ANC constitution committee and served on the NEC until 2012.

A life of service

After becoming an MP in 1994, Skweyiya immediately assumed the position of public service and administration minister.

In 1999, he was appointed social development minister, a post he held for 10 years.

"In social development, he spearheaded the implementation of our social protection system, including the child grants and the formation of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). He was passionate about the protection of the elderly, and held numerous outreach and engagement [initiatives] with older South Africans across the country."

Mabe recognised the critical role that he played in constitutional negotiations.

ALSO READ: Former homeland leader Lucas Mangope dies

"He felt strongly about the resolution of the historical injustice, and [was] an advocate for the policy of affirmative action."

In 2009, Skweyiya was appointed as high commissioner of South Africa to the UK and Ireland.

On his return, he remained an active ANC veteran and an outspoken advocate for the renewal and restoration of the integrity and values of the movement, said Mabe.

"We mourn the loss of this gentle giant, whose life was one of service, excellence, and love for his people and movement."

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    anc  |  zola skweyiya  |  obituary  |  politics

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.