Ben Turok made sacrifices that helped SA attain freedom - Ramaphosa
Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa and South African Communist Party (SACP) paid tributes to Prof Ben Turok following his passing on Monday.
Ramaphosa said he was deeply saddened by the passing of Struggle stalwart and former parliamentarian.
Professor Turok passed away at the age of 92.
Presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko said Ramaphosa offered his sincere condolences to Professor Turok’s spouse, Mary, and their children Ivan, Fred and Neil, Professor Turok’s friends, comrades and associates in South Africa and around the Continent and the international community.
“Professor Turok was the only surviving member of the original underground leadership of the South African Communist Party.
“He was arrested in 1962 under the Explosives Act and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in Pretoria before being placed under house arrest.
“He fled South Africa without his family and spent two decades in exile as a guest of several African states,” Ramaphosa said.
Professor Turok, who was an economics professor, served as a Member of Parliament from 1995 to 2014 – a period during which he distinguished himself as Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests.
President Ramaphosa said: “I am deeply saddened by the loss of an outstanding yet humble patriot of our nation.
“Professor Turok made enormous personal sacrifices which helped us attain our freedom.
“He was a principled freedom fighter, dedicated to non-racialism and the unity of our nation and of our liberation movement.
“He was a true democrat and servant of our people who stood up to injustice, corruption and the abuse of public office both during our Struggle and into the democratic dispensation.
“Personally and politically, Professor Turok conducted himself strictly in accordance with the values of our democratic Constitution and made invaluable contributions to debates on questions of national importance. He leaves a big void and an equally formidable legacy. He will be greatly missed.”
SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande also paid tribute to Turok after learning about his death while his party was preparing for its special national congress in Bredell outside Kempton Park on Monday.
Nzimande also expressed his party’s condolences to the family.