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Tribute by SACP General Secretary, Cde Blade Nzimande to Cde Fezeka Loliwe

16 March 2018

As the SACP dips the Red Flag in honour of Cde Fezeka Loliwe, we send condolences to her family, her comrades in Parliament, her comrades in SADTU, her comrades in the Eastern Cape Province and in the ANC, her comrades in the SACP, and all of those who have had the honour to know, live and work with her. Cde Fezeka was always introduced in family functions as "uSister lo untitshayo" and when she was deployed to Parliament as "umntana wase khaya lo uphangela eParliamente" such was the pride and love of this family for their daughter and our comrade.

Cde Fezeka died tragically and too soon, just three days before International Women`s Day. The SACP national International Women`s Day event was held in Metsimaholo and the key address was dedicated to Cde Fezeka. Addressed in the input were issue of building a patriotic broad front, popular left front, the importance of a reconfigured alliance to the national democratic revolution and participatory democracy driven by the views and needs of the people. The important issue of building a progressive women`s movement was covered as inseparable part of this process of organisational renewal, and has to be deepened in memory of Cde Fezeka:

  • An activist from the grassroots in the Eastern Cape, active in the ANC, COSATU, the SACP, the ANC Women`s League and SADTU, in which she was entrusted with various responsibilities as high as the union`s Vice President for Sports, Arts and Culture;
  • An SACP Central Committee Member, first elected by our 13th Party Congress in 2012 and re-elected at 14th Congress in 2017
  • A Member of Parliament, having been elected in 2014 to Parliament, where she served as a member of the Labour Portfolio Committee, formed part of the formidable Parliamentary Inquiry into governance decay at the SABC, our public broadcaster; and served as a Whip of ANC Caucus Disciplinary Committee.
  • A youth education and community empowerment activist, the she was busy with in her Parliamentary Constituency in Fort Beaufort in Amathole District.

Cde Fezeka has appropriately been described as Humble Educator, Labour Rights and Gender Activist, Diligent Servant of the People, and indeed a Communist to the Front. She was a true cadre of the Alliance, and one who understood that the reconfigured alliance must be one that is active on the ground to make a difference to the lives of our people, the majority of whom is the working class, the main motive force of the national democratic revolution. Cde Fezeka understood that a reconfigured alliance must be one that functions under the principles of democratic consensus seeking consultation, collective leadership to the national democratic revolution and accountability not only of individual members but also of leaders to the revolution in making a difference to the lives of our people, the majority of whom is the working class, the main motive force of the revolution!

She took her knowledge and understanding of our national democratic revolution into every forum that she participated in. It is not a surprise that in the massive number of condolence messages, Cde Fezeka is often referred to as our Commissar, whether this is from teachers, from women mine-workers, from women`s organisations - she has been saluted as a humble leader, and a dedicated educator in the class room, in our organisations and in her community and constituency.

Our Central Committee will feel the loss of Cde Fezeka acutely. Without fail, she has participated in Party debates and decision making with clarity and commitment to the socialist future of South Africa. We have lost a strong voice that has led the Central Committee since her first election Central Committee on issues of women`s emancipation, labour matters, working class leadership and transformation of the education sector.

Cde Fezeka must in particular be recognised for her sterling contribution to our 14th Congress in July 2017, where she presented the deliberations of the Commission on Gender Relations and Patriarchy to Plenary and steered the discussion on the very wide-ranging resolution. This resolution has paved the way for every Party member to have direction on the woman question, no matter what sector they are working in.

The way that we salute our fallen comrades is to pick up their spears and ensure that the struggle that they have contributed so much to is depended and taken forward. To do this for a cadre of Cde Fezeka`s calibre means:
* Strengthening the Parliamentary oversight of public sector departments and of public entities to ensure clean governance and service delivery;
* Dealing decisively with corruption, including rooting out the corruption of corporate capture of our state, movement and our overall direction as society;
* Hunting down all state capture fugitives wherever they disappeared to both in South Africa and any part of the world, tracking their collaborators and subpoenaing all of those who are avoiding to appear before inquiries into governance gone wrong in state entities;
* Bringing all the state capture fugitives and their collaborators to book and holding them accountable, including through the forfeiture of all assets acquired by corrupt, irregular, unexplained or other forms of undue means, and where required by law imprisoning them.
* Rebuilding the unity and strength of our trade union movement and build progressive trade unionism across the entire spectrum of the labour movement;
* Building the progressive women`s movement and the working-class women`s leadership of it;
* Strengthening the entire education sector and in particular ensure quality education for the children of the working class;
* Developing rural communities, addressing the land question and advancing agrarian transformation based on the national imperative of bring an end to inequality;
* Building strong, activist and vibrant branches of the SACP and working in broad patriotic and left popular fronts based on forging principled and programmatic unity of perspective and unity in action;
* Decisively tackling the problems of persisting high levels of class, race and gender inequalities, unemployment, poverty and social insecurity in our communities, including wiping out the scourges of gender based abuse, gender based violence, human trafficking, drug dealing and substance abuse.

To take this forward is the only way that we can salute our dedicated and humble sister, comrade and leader - a cadre of top quality who has gone from us too soon.