SACP lowers the Red Flag to half-mast in honour of Comrade Mandla Makupula, Party Central Committee Member
8 October 2018
Comrade Mandla Makupula, SACP Central Committee Member and Eastern Cape MEC for Education ceased to breathe in the early hours of this morning, Monday 8 October 2018, just a day before his 57th birthday. The SACP is deeply saddened by the loss, and announces it publicly with great sorrow. SACP General Secretary Comrade Blade Nzimande, on behalf of the Central Committee and the entire membership of the Party, conveys our heartfelt condolences to the Makupula family. The SACP will consult with the family and the government and in due course announce details of memorial and funeral services.
Mandla Makupula was born on 9 October 1961 and grew up in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape Province. He was identified and recruited by the underground machinery of our movement for liberation and social emancipation while he was a learner at Wongalethu High School. He became one of the young activists in the underground politico-military structures of the movement. The entire movement had been banned by the apartheid regime, starting first with the Communist Party in 1950 under the Suppression of Communism Act.
Comrade Mandla was an activist of the South African Students Movement and participated in the establishment of the Congress of South African Students in 1979. He furthered his studies at the University of Fort Hare, where he continued his student activism and underground political work. He became one of the stalwarts of the struggle. His unflinching commitment attracted the reaction of harassment. He left to continue his tertiary education at the University of Transkei (Unitra).
Comrade Mandla was affectionately known as the "Principal", in recognition of his love and passion in teaching Marxism. By this time he had acquired substantive Marxist education and political content from the underground structures of the SACP as well as the ANC. In pushing the struggle against labour exploitation by capital, and for complete liberation and social emancipation, he further worked closely with the leaders of the South African Allied Workers Union; Wonder Ndwebisa, Thozamile Gqwetha and others.
He taught mathematics and physical science after qualifying as a teacher and joined the South African Democratic Teachers` Union to continue the course of struggle.
After unbanning in the 1990s, Makupula became part of the SACP and ANC interim leadership cores and participated in building the structures of the movement. He was elected and served diligently as the Secretary of the former Transkei region of the SACP, which was formed from the amalgamation of the Border, Transkei and Eastern Cape regions of the Party. He was also elected to serve as the Regional Chairperson of the ANC and then as its Secretary, and continued his selfless service to the struggle.
Comrade Mandla rose through the ranks of the SACP and was elected to the Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Committee and as the Provincial Secretary. He carried out his duties with consistent loyalty to the working class, and was elected by way of unanimous co-option by the 12th Congress Central Committee of the SACP to serve as its Member. He was re-elected by the 13th and 14th Congress of the Party in 2012 and 2017 respectively.
In 1999 Makupula was elected to the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature. He served successively as the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of the Office of the Premier, Public Works, and Education. He was later appointed and has since been serving as the MEC for Education.
The SACP salutes Comrade Mandla as an incorruptible and loyal servant of the people, the majority of whom is the working class.
Makupula is survived by his wife Gugulethu and six children.
The SACP says: Hamba Kahle Mkhonto.
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