Tributes pour in for ANC's Songezo Mjongile

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Songezo Mjongile (Archive)
Songezo Mjongile (Archive)
  • Tributes are pouring in for former ANC Western Cape provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile who died. 
  • He announced in April that he had been diagnosed with colon cancer. 
  • His death on Thursday came as a shock to friends and fellow politicians who held him in high regard.

The ANC Youth League in the Western Cape was shocked by the death of former provincial ANC secretary Songezo Mjongile, who died after a short battle with cancer, while the DA sent its condolences.

"Comrade Songezo was a modern cadre. He started in the youth league and through his commitment rose through our movement's ranks. We mourn him deeply and extend our condolences to his family, friends and comrades," said Lerumo Kalako, convener of the ANC Youth League in the province.

Mjongile's death came after he announced in April that he had colon cancer. He said treatment had resulted in kidney failure and a heart attack.

He was a former leader of the province's chapter of the Congress of SA Students, a former head of the youth league's investment company Lembede Investment Holdings and served on the executive and national working committees of the league.

His death was met with shock by friends and fellow politicians who had known him for many years.

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party was saddened by the news.

He said Mjongile died surrounded by family in Morningside, Johannesburg, on Thursday night. 

He said the former provincial secretary and provincial treasurer, also known by his clan name Madiba, was a dedicated and committed activist. 

Mjongile's life had been intertwined with many others during South Africa's ever-changing political landscape.

This was reflected in messages from people who had worked with him in youth league structures, including former ANCYL presidents Julius Malema and Fikile Mbalula, who also expressed sorrow over his death, as did organisations such as Cosatu, the SA Communist Party and the Land Party. 

Cosas said it was devastated by the news, saying Mjongile had joined the league itself at 14. Cosas extended its condolences to his family and friends. 

The Western Cape's DA leader Bonginkosi Madikizela said despite their political differences, he considered Mjongile a gentleman. 

"He understood that politics were a means to an end and not the end itself," said Madikizela.

Mjongile's life was not without controversy, after he reached a settlement with the SA Revenue Services over tax returns between 2001 and 2005. 

He was also reportedly not allowed to do business with the government until 2014 over an apparent breach of contract which he said was related to a company his ex-wife owned. 

He was also ordered to repay more than R350 000 he received from the late mining magnate Brett Kebble. This was in the course of winding up a Kebble trust, with the ANC also agreeing to repay money the party had received from Kebble.

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