President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to Rivonia Trialist and struggle veteran Andrew Mlangeni who passed on Tuesday night. His death came just a month after he celebrated his 95th birthday.
His son Sello on Wednesday morning said his death was unexpected as he had been fine in days leading to his death. He said he saw him on Friday and he was in good condition.
Sello said when he was called to the hospital on Tuesday evening, he expected they would explain to him his father’s treatment after he was discharged, but he was shocked to be told he had died.
Ramaphosa said he had participated in the birthday celebrations alongside former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe.
“Until recently were able to sit at his feet and draw on his wealth of wisdom and his unfailing commitment, even at his advanced age- to a better life for all South Africans. Throughout his life he remained a beacon of ethical leadership and care for humanity in our own country and around the world.
“With his passing as the last remaining Rivonia Trialist, Bab’ Mlangeni has indeed passed on the baton to his compatriots to build the South Africa he fought to liberate and to reconstruct during our democratic dispensation” Ramaphosa said.
In the last few years Mlangeni had served as chairperson of the ANC’s integrity committee and was also outspoken about his disappointment in the leadership of former president Jacob Zuma, especially his relationship with the Gupta family.
The ANC Parliamentary Caucus also paid tribute to the struggle stalwart.
“We have lost a great leader, utata, a revolutionary who dedicated his life in the struggle towards the liberation of our people. His sentiments are still befitting as we are also faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, which has added on to the challenges we continuously strive to alleviate in our country,” it said in a statement.
“It is incumbent upon us to take the baton forward, embrace the fighting spirit of Tata Mlangeni and work tirelessly in improving the lives of South Africans.”The EFF said they too have encountered Baba Mlangeni’s infectious personality and vowed to continue his fight for freedom. “We have taken a vow to also fight selflessly and fearlessly for the total economic emancipation of our people in our lifetime. Our mission is to continue theirs and realise freedom,” the party said.
Meanwhile the DA extended their condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in the ANC and honoured his ideals on education saying: “Mlangeni was a firm believer in the power of education to unlock people’s aspirations.”