Ronnie Mamoepa was deeply pained by the divisions in the ANC - Cyril Ramaphosa

2017-07-29 15:35
ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe at Ronnie Mamoepa's funeral service in Pretoria. (ANC GO Comms)

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe at Ronnie Mamoepa's funeral service in Pretoria. (ANC GO Comms)

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Pretoria – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa stressed the need for ANC unity on Saturday during his eulogy for his late spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa. 

Speaking at Mamoepa's funeral service in the St Alban's Cathedral in the Pretoria CBD, Ramaphosa said Mamoepa exemplified the ideals of the ANC. 

Mamoepa had served as Ramaphosa's spokesperson since 2014. 

“For him, the unity of the movement was paramount. For only a united movement could lead the people to liberation. Only a united movement could fundamentally transform society and bring into being a new, better South Africa.”

Mamoepa died on July 22 at the age of 56, due complications arising from a stroke. 

Ramaphosa said the former Robben Island prisoner loved the ANC, and the divisions in the party were source of great pain for him. 

"He found it difficult to comprehend how comrades who had shared prison cells, who had fought alongside each other, who had together buried the fallen heroes of our struggle, could now be so divided,” he said.

He was convinced that the ANC could and would be united. 

'Reason for hope'

“He believed that even through our movement faces great challenges there is every reason to hope.”

Ramaphosa stressed that in the ranks of the ANC were women and men of “honesty and principle", adding that the "impulse to heal, to unite, is far greater than any forces that would tear us asunder”.

Ramaphosa told the hundreds in attendance that Mamoepa had left the ANC with a responsibility to become more united. 

He thanked Mamoepa’s wife Audrey for sharing him with the country, adding that Mamoepa was most excited and animated when he spoke to his friends and colleagues about his wife and five children. 

“The work he did often took him away from home and afforded him precious little time for his family. Those who knew him know that much as he was kept away from his family it was Audrey and the children who occupied his heart.”


On a lighter note, Ramaphosa reminisced about how Mamoepa loved giving advice, often unsolicited. 

He told attendees that his spokesperson would often urge him to change his wardrobe to fit the image of a modern man. 

“If the deputy president wore scruffy shoes or boring suits, Ronnie felt that he had a responsibility to say so. He loved to tease, to joke, to laugh, to embrace, to connect,” he said. 

The ANC had adjourned its special NEC Lekgotla to pay its last respects to Mamoepa.

The party's top six leaders, as well as provincial premiers and ministers were present for the funeral. Ex-president Thabo Mbeki, former AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and former Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke were also in attendance.

DA Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, who called Mamoepa a friend, also attended. 

Read more on:    anc  |  ronnie mamoepa  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  pretoria

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