Tribute to Comrade Leka `Teenage` Monama as delivered by Cde Blade Nzimande, SACP General Secretary
25 February 2018, Modimolle
On behalf of the Central Committee, Political Bureau and the entire membership of our Party for the workers and poor, the South African Communist Party, the SACP, I want to express our heartfelt condolences to the Monama family and community for the loss of Comrade Leka Jacob Monama. The death of Comrade Teenage Monama, as he was fondly known within the ranks of our Party and movement for liberation and social emancipation as a whole, left our Party and the working class poorer without his life and revolutionary activity. The mountainous weight of the death of Comrade Teenage however weighs heavier on the family than on all of us combined.
On behalf of the SACP, I want to use this moment to express our Party`s sincere appreciation to the family of Monama for sharing with us his time and life from an early age. He was involved in the founding of the Congress of South African Students, Cosas, in his early 20s in 1979. To be precise, born on 20 September 1957, Comrade Teenage was 22 years old when he participated in the formation of Cosas. But by then he had already developed his political consciousness and conviction to fight against colonial oppression and its reigning apartheid version in our country and to advance the struggle for liberation and social emancipation. Cosas as we all know contributed to the struggle in many ways. It was part and parcel of our struggle`s mobilisation of the youth and development of their political consciousness.
It was very difficult to handle the sad news of Comrade Teenage`s death on Sunday, 18 February. Our Central Committee members and I lost a comrade we served with in the Central Committee for all the time he served as our Limpopo Provincial Chairperson. At the time of his death, Comrade Teenage was in his second, three-year term of office as our Limpopo Provincial Chairperson. Our Limpopo Provincial Executive Committee will no longer have Comrade Teenage among its members. They will, like all the members of our Central Committee including myself, miss Comrade Teenage. Our Party`s District and Branch organisations in Limpopo Province will miss his deployment. Our Provincial Council and the next Provincial Congress sessions will miss him from the front in his capacity as the Limpopo Provincial Chairperson.
In our Central Committee, we have veterans of our joint SACP and ANC armed wing, uMkhonto weSizwe, the MK, to which Comrade Teenage was recruited and served as part of Peter Nchabeleng Unit that operated in the then Northern Transvaal, now Limpopo Province. Comrade Teenage was prepared to pay a high price of his life for the liberation and social emancipation of our oppressed and exploited people, the majority of whom is the working class and poor.
Comrade was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months by the apartheid regime in the 1980s. He was tortured. Comrade Teenage defeated the torture, unbearable as it was. He decisively stood his ground and refused to testify against his comrades. He did not demobilise after his release. He remained resilient and continued the course of the struggle for liberation and social emancipation. He left the country to continue his MK duties in exile and returned in 1991 in the struggle to defeat the oppressor regime and the exploiters of our people. It was during this period that he also served the movement as a technician. Our MK veterans and indeed the whole of our movement lost a cadre in Comrade Teenage. His revolutionary life and times speak for him without question.
Young comrades in our movement have their cue to take from Comrade Teenage Monama`s revolutionary youth life. Over and above his participation in the formation of Cosas, Comrade Teenage made an invaluable contribution to the formation of the national youth organisation and associated youth congresses that built awareness and mobilised young people to fight against oppression and exploitation.
After his return from exile, and during the difficult period of 1992-1994, Comrade Teenage was part of the National Peacekeeping Force. In 1995, he was integrated into the South African National Defence Force where he was promoted to the rank of Major. He left the service 1998 and continued his activism in the SACP and the ANC.
In particular Comrade Teenage loved political education and ideological training. He loved engaging in political discussions and getting involved in cadre development. In memory of the Commissar, who served the MK Military Veterans Association in various provincial leadership capacities in Limpopo Province and as its National Deputy Chairperson from 2012 to 2017, we must deepen institutionalised political education not least in the SACP but in the whole of our National Democratic Revolution Alliance.
In memory of Comrade Teenage, who despised corporate capture of our movement, its structures and components and of the state, we must intensify the struggle against the scourge. We have achieved a breakthrough from the resignation of former President Jacob Zuma, whose friends, the business partners of his son, the Guptas, have now been declared fugitives. All the money that they acquired unduly and from corrupt and unexplained dealings must be recovered. This is the time to intensify the struggle to dismantle parasitic networks of corporate capture of the state and to dislodge its patronage networks within the ranks of our movement.
The emerging visible action taken against state capture and other forms of corruption by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as the Hawks, as well as by the Asset Forfeiture Unit, must, albeit belated, be welcome. But without being buttressed by continuing social mobilisation things can go a wrong way. Given the degree of penetration of corporate capture of our state, it is inconceivable that members of the Gupta family who left South Africa to Dubai and India or elsewhere did so without prior knowledge of their impending arrest. How, when and which ports of exits they used to leave South Africa must be investigated as part of an investigation into whether they were tipped off about their impending arrest.
The working class are the main victims of corporate capture of the state and other forms of corruption and wrongdoing in our state. All of these things always and everywhere in our country involve and are driven by private interests. It is the direct result of the rot and the use of our state in pursuit of factional agendas, and by no small measure, that the workers and poor are now facing an increase of 1 per cent of value added tax, the VAT, from 14 per cent to 15 per cent as announced in Parliament this week in the national budget speech by the Minister of Finance. We would not find ourselves in this situation if measures were taken to manage our public resources and state owned entities prudently. It is the looters and the rich who have won the day.
We need to strike back harder as the working class. This requires intensified struggle for socialism in the here and now, in memory of Comrade Teenage. We must counter the trajectory of deepening capitalism in the name of Africans in particular and Black people in general, while the system in fact only benefits a few and the masses are left not empowered and remain exploited and poor. For so long as capitalist exploitation prevails and it is deepened, regardless of the colour and gender of the exploiters, there will be no social emancipation for the workers and poor.
We need socialist policy orientation as the genuine thrust of the National Democratic Revolution. It is this that will systematically lessen economic exploitation and domination of the majority, the workers and poor, by the minority, the capitalist independently of race and gender. Without this there is no way that the National Democratic Revolution will successfully reach its logical conclusion, the indispensible basis for an advance to socialism. In memory of Comrade Teenage, we must not allow the National Democratic Revolution to be hijacked and re-routed to serve corporate state capture networks or other classes and strata.
The struggle for complete liberation and social emancipation continues. As the SACP we will pick where the spear has fallen and intensify the struggle in memory of the gallant revolutionary life and times of Comrade Teenage Monama.
The SACP will continue to pushing for the reconfiguration of our Alliance to move with the times, build collective leadership of our National Democratic Revolution and ensure that those deployed in the name of the revolution are held accountable.
In the same vein, the SACP will push harder to forge a widest possible patriotic front and a left popular front in defence of our country and Constitution, to deepen and further develop our democracy, and to solve the problems of the masses of our people, the workers and poor, both rural and urban areas.
In memory of Comrade Teenage Monama;
uMkhonto weSizwe Combatant;
National Democratic Revolutionary;
Above all a Communist Cadre,
Hamba Kahle Mkhonto!
Tsela Tshweu Lerumo La Setshaba!