'He stood for the truth': Zuma pays tribute to 'brave' Meshack Radebe

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President Jacob Zuma joined the political heavyweights that bid their farewell to Dr Meshack Radebe in Maqongqo, outside Pietermaritzburg, on Saturday.
President Jacob Zuma joined the political heavyweights that bid their farewell to Dr Meshack Radebe in Maqongqo, outside Pietermaritzburg, on Saturday.
ANC KZN Facebook
  • Meshack Radebe died in hospital last week Saturday at the age of 71.
  • He spent many years as the MEC for social development as well as agriculture and environmental affairs in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Jacob Zuma hailed him for his peacemaking efforts during the violence in the province between the ANC and IFP in the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

Former president Jacob Zuma has described the late Meshack Radebe as a true friend and comrade.

Zuma was one of the speakers at Radebe's funeral in KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday, which was attended by high ranking ANC members, including Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.

The former MEC for social development as well as agriculture and environmental affairs died in hospital last Saturday at the age of 72. He was affectionately known as ubhungane umkhumbi wokumoyizela (someone who makes other people happy)

"Bhungane was a comrade you had no doubts about because he did not hide his thoughts and feelings. He spoke about them and let them be known. He didn't think of how you might receive it, all he knew was that you needed to know what he was thinking and what his ideas were.

"There aren't a lot of people who were like him. Like other speakers said, he would call at any time when he felt the need to tell you something whether it was big and important or small," said Zuma.

Over the years, Radeba had proven to be a staunch ally of the former president, attending many of his court appearances.

"He was a comrade I was close with [and] who ended up being a big friend. We spoke about everything, the big and scary and the nice and joyful. We would argue over who the ladies' man between us was… His home was my home and my home was his home," joked Zuma.

Peacemaker

Zuma hailed Radebe for his bravery and peacemaking efforts during the violence between the ANC and IFP in the province between 1985 and 1990.

"Bhunge was brave and honest men when he shouted and asked what he was doing when he spoke to his counterpart to fix the issue in Hammarsdale. If he spoke, he was accused of selling out but he wasn't. He suffered through that and was even given certain names but he had the bravery because he knew it was not right to fight amongst ourselves as black people and kill each other.

"There aren't many people who would have done that. When I say this man was brave, I say it because I can mention things he stood for, he stood for the truth," he said.

Zuma called Radebe a proud father and husband as well as a pillar of the ANC who would truly be missed.

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