Late AYO chair Dr Mgoqi described as a beacon of hope for the poor

Dr Wallace Mgoqi. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

Dr Wallace Mgoqi. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 5, 2023


Cape Town - Described as a leading light in South Africa’s transformation, with undeniable credentials of self-sacrifice and a desire to see South Africa justly and fairly through its transition from apartheid to democracy, tributes have poured in for former chairperson of AYO Technology Solutions, Dr Wallace Mgoqi, who passed away on Monday.

In a statement, AYO said the news was received not long after the recent settlement between the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and AYO, which saw a long running battle settled amicably.

Retired advocate, attorney, businessman and activist, Mgoqi joined the AYO board in 2018, and was a champion of AYO’s broad-based black economic empowerment mandate to transform the South African ICT sector.

“His unwavering support for the group ... through years of tribulation at the hands of repeated inaccurate media reporting was stoic, but ultimately it took its toll,” AYO said.

“A respected member of the judiciary, a champion of human rights and a keen business mind, Wallace was also very much a loving family man and a man of the people.

“Wallacedene, Cape Town (Kraaifontein) is named after him for his contribution to the Struggle.

“AYO will forever be in debt to the support Advocate Wallace Mgoqi, friend and champion, has given us. We are eternally grateful,” AYO said.

Mgoqi’s long-time friend and chairperson of the Sekunjalo Group, Dr Iqbal Survé, paid tribute to him by saying he was also a mentor.

“Wallace’s passing is a devastating blow for the entire Sekunjalo family. His wisdom, his presence and his unashamed commitment to this Group will be sorely missed.

“He has walked the journey with Sekunjalo for over two decades and has left us with many lessons in leadership and resilience, for which we will always be immensely grateful. South Africa is all the poorer for his loss.”

The chairperson of the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) in the Western Cape, Advocate Zuko Mapoma, said that in the same stature as giants, such as Dumisa Ntsebeza and Dikgang Moseneke, Mgoqi didn’t separate his legal career from social activism, particularly as it related to the liberation project against apartheid.

“This is evinced by the work he did for landless communities which faced forced removals and illegal evictions by the apartheid government, especially in the mid-to late 1980s. This he did against the persecution by the repressive regime, and the threat against his then burgeoning legal career.

“His relentless efforts saw an area of a landless community that was being forced out of Kraaifontein being named after him.

“The name Wallacedene, as it became known, was a token of appreciation and gratitude by the people of that community to name the place after this lodestar, as it became a beacon of hope for the rest of persecuted landless communities in the Peninsula and the province,” he said.

Mapoma said Mgoqi’s legacy entered itself through the annals of history, and his name shall forever be etched in the memory of the poor and the landless, for whom he spared no efforts, putting up a gallant fight for their dignity.

During a respected judicial and public service career, Mgoqi served as acting judge in the Land Claims Court from 2014 to 2019, as Chief Land Claims Commissioner in 1999, on the Commission for Gender Equality between 2012 and 2019, and as city manager for the City of Cape Town between 2003 and 2006.

He also served on the board of the National Development Agency, UCT’s Alumni Advisory Board and the Ernest Mancoba Advisory Board.

He held three honorary doctorates – from UCT, Walter Sisulu University and New York University.

Cape Times