‘They remained true to their principles’ – MPs pay tribute to Skweyiya and Madikizela-Mandela

Late struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Picture: Peter Abrahams
Late struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Picture: Peter Abrahams

Members of Parliament have paid tribute to late struggle stalwarts Zola Skweyiya and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, applauding them for maintaining a candid and forthright attitude in their political views.

In a joint sitting in Parliament on Thursday, MPs appeared to be in agreement as they commemorate the contributions of the late Skweyiya and Madikizela-Mandela.

The two were lauded for their continued criticism of their own party without fear or favour when they felt that affairs were not in order within their own ranks.

Skweyiya in particular was very vocal in his criticism of former president Jacob Zuma to a point where he was once denied access to Luthuli House.

At the joint sitting in Parliament on Thursday, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi recalled how in May 1994, 27 black South Africans became ministers in the cabinet of the late former president Nelson Mandela.

“A the time I was elected minister of home affairs and Skweyiya was also among the then 27 black cabinet ministers. Although it was a government of unity, I was very quickly made aware of the fact that I was an IFP member in an ANC government.

However, when my colleagues attacked my contribution based on politics and not merit, the late Skweyiya would tell them that they were wrong in so doing,” said Buthelezi.

Buthelezi added that Skweyiya “had no fear for upholding principles” and was “a man of integrity who was more interested in the good of his country than playing politics”.

Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota echoed Buthelezi’s sentiments.

“In adversity and in power, as a member of the ANC and Umkhonto we Sizwe, as a minister in government or as a diplomat, Dr Skweyiya remained true to his principles putting the people first and advocating for social justice and equality,” he said.

In paying tribute to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, EFF MP Sophie Thembekwayo said the late stalwart lived all her live with ordinary South Africans, never separating herself from facing the same challenges that they faced.

Madikizela-Mandela resided in Orlando West, a township in Soweto, for the majority of her life until the time of her passing.

“The EFF reiterates the call to the ANC-led government to change the name of Cape Town International Airport to Nomzamo Winnifred Madikizela-Mandela,” Thembekwayo said.

In paying tribute to Madikizela-Mandela, IFP MP Narend Singh said the party was “honoured to add its voice to this chorus of admiration for there are few who sacrifice so much for our liberation.”

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