An ANC supporter holds a flag of the ANC while the President Jacob Zuma addresses ANC Gauteng Cadre Assembly in Pretoria. Picture: Phill Magakoe

Durban - ANC struggle veteran Reverend Elliot Mgojo died in hospital on Sunday at the age of 80 after a long illness, the party said.

“In his death, our movement and the whole country have lost a distinguished leader and an excellent human being. We are happy that he has left behind a great legacy of a committed and dedicated leader,” said ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary, Sihle Zikalala.

He said Mgojo was a rare leader who earned the love and admiration of the people for his frankness and dedication to the struggle for justice and democracy in the country.

He was one of those religious leaders who openly criticised the apartheid regime and called for equal society, Zikalala said.

His death came at the time when the ANC in the province had decided to make him its chaplain.

“A decision to make Cde Mgojo our chaplain was taken recently and the ceremony was supposed to take place on Thursday last week but his family asked us to delay it as he was in hospital,” said Zikalala.

President Jacob Zuma sent his condolences to the family.

“I wish to convey on behalf of government and the whole country our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and the community. May his soul rest in peace.”

Mgojo's role in the struggle against apartheid especially in the 1980s and his subsequent work in achieving the peace and political co-existence that KwaZulu-Natal enjoyed today could never be measured, Zuma said. - Sapa