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Senior SACP Central Committee member, Comrade Sechaba `Charles` Setsubi passes away

12 March 2018

The South African Communist Party expresses its heartfelt condolences to the family of Sechaba Aloys Cosmas `Charles` Setsubi, the Party`s Central Committee and Political Bureau Member, a veteran of our struggle for liberation and social emancipation. Sechaba Setsubi, 70, who was born on 15 January 1948, passed away in the early hours of Monday, 12 March after he was admitted two days earlier, on Friday 9 March at Leratong Hospital in Kagiso, West Rand. Charles Setsubi, as he was fondly known within the ranks of the SACP and the ANC-headed liberation alliance by his combat name, which was his younger brother`s real name, and which frustrated the efforts of the apartheid regime to arrest him, was a full-time professional revolutionary.

The SACP lowers its red flag to half mast in honour of this finest revolutionary, a long standing member of the Party and one of the most experienced stalwarts of our struggle against apartheid, the struggle for liberation and complete social emancipation. Cde Charles was first elected to the SACP Central Committee by the 11th Congress of the Party held in 2002. He served as SACP Central Committee Member with outstanding dedication since 2002 and was successively re-elected by the 12th, 13th and 14th Congresses of the Party held in 2007, 2012 and 2017 respectively. He was deployed to serve as one of the full-time Central Committee members from 2011, specialising in political education and ideological training.

Setsubi started as an active underground functionary of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1970 while a student at the University Fort Hare and left to exile five years later in 1975. He accumulated ideological, political and military knowledge, experience and capacity since then, as well as professional education. He received intensive, extensive and specialised training and education in the spheres of class ideology, politics and military art and science in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) between 1975 and 1976. He was later deployed under the joint SACP and ANC military wing, uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) inside South Africa to establish revolutionary underground cells behind the enemy lines. He performed this task between 1977 and 1979 while also based in exile in Lesotho.

He was a functionary of the MK Military High Command and was deployed between 1979 and 1989 as a Senior Staff Officer at Military Headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia, where he also served as an MK Military Intelligence Officer. Between 1990 and 1992 Comrade Charles served as an ANC Military Attaché in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Through the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) he facilitated education and regular army training of MK personnel in various arms services and operations in different sympathetic countries. He worked with and under the leadership of many outstanding stalwarts of our struggle for liberation and social emancipation, such as Chris Hani, former General Secretary of the SACP and Chief of Staff of the MK.

Comrade Charles was fluent in Russian and completed his Master of Arts in Political Science in 1982-1984 at the Lenin Party School, also known as the International Institute for Social Sciences in Moscow in the USSR; Advanced Diploma in Education in 1992-1993 and Master in Education in 1993-1994 at the Institute of Education, University of London, United Kingdom in 1993-1994; Civil Service Management (Short Course) at Oxford Brooks University, United Kingdom in 1994; Diploma in Education from the University of Fort Hare in the early 1970s. Cde Charles left an important legacy of a good leadership example to the youth of South Africa in the sphere of education and training.

Post-1994 he served in various roles in his continued service to the people, Chief of Staff in the Office of MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture in North West Province in 2010; Delegated Authority of the Special Pensions of the National Treasury and Head of Adjudication in 2008-2009; Head of Special Pensions Unit in 2001-2003; Manager of the Centre for Research and Community Development in 1997-2000 and Co-Ordinator of Student Internship at the University of Natal, Durban Campus in 1995-1997.

He offered his services in international solidarity to comrades in different countries elsewhere in the world and in the African continent, including to our comrades struggling for democracy in Swaziland.

The SACP will continue and deepen the course of our second radical phase of the national democratic revolution and struggle for socialism where the finest revolutionary who dedicated his life to the achievement of complete liberation and universal emancipation has left.

The SACP will issue a public notice of the details of memorial and funeral services after consultation with the family of Setsubi.

The SACP says:

Hamba Kahle Mkhonto

Robala Ka Khotso Commissar