President Cyril Ramaphosa. File picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA).

POLOKWANE - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday called on South Africans to redouble efforts and intensify the fight against corruption and hold accountable all those who facilitated the capture of the state by private interests.

Delivering the eulogy at the official funeral of veteran African National Congress and Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) member Lesibe Isaac "Ike" Maphoto in Polokwane in Limpopo, he said this would be a fitting tribute to Maphoto, who abhorred corruption and the abuse of the movement to enrich oneself.

Maphoto had been a great soldier, who was also an unwavering patriot, a mentor and friend, a philanthropist, and a much loved father and grandfather. A man of distinction, resolve, immense courage, and selflessness. A man who devoted his life to the liberation of the South African people, Ramaphosa said.

"He suffered the pain of exile. He survived incarceration in a foreign land. He forsook the comforts of ordinary life to pick up a backpack and a rifle in the cause of the liberation struggle. He cheated bullets, and death. He endured hardship that would have crushed the spirit of any human being. But he was no ordinary man. Bra Ike was made of sterner stuff.

"He was from the legion of umgwenya – the detachment of Luthuli, and the standard-bearers of the politically conscious and revolutionary army of Umkhonto we Sizwe. Bra Ike, and the veterans we have from the detachment here with us today [Sunday], answered history’s call. They took up arms in the cause of freedom at a time when the liberation forces were in the cross-hairs of the racist Pretoria regime at a time like no other," Ramaphosa said.

"The story of his life offers many lessons to us today. Lessons in courage, lessons on the virtue of discipline, and on the limitless capacity for endurance of the human being. But perhaps above all it is a lesson on devotion to a mission and to a cause, no matter how long and hard the road."

The Luthuli Detachment was formed to infiltrate South Africa and to open routes for liberation fighters. In joining with their brothers-in-arms from Frelimo in Mozambique and the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Arm (ZIPRA) their lives were in constant danger from the racist armies of the countries through which they crossed.
 
"It is here that we learn about some of the virtues that epitomised Bra Ike. Respect, for the leadership of the movement and for his fellow soldiers. Discipline – an understanding that their mission was difficult, and would take time. And forbearance, the willingness to undergo hardship in pursuit of a bigger goal.

"These were the honour codes that spurred the men and women of Bra Ike’s generation, and continued to guide them even once we attained our liberation. They knew too well that the pursuit of a just struggle such as ours would not end with the ring of democracy’s bell," Ramaphosa said.

"They understood, as we do today, that the cause of building a nation, of truly realising a society that is egalitarian, prosperous and free necessitates sacrifices in pursuit of the common good. Their lives were lived appreciating that to reach our ultimate goal requires courage, fortitude and above all, revolutionary morality and discipline.

"Though he is no longer with us, the ideas for which Bra Ike stood will not die. We are confident that he has left behind men and women determined to continue the fight for a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

"To carry on this legacy we must sharpen our revolutionary conviction to contribute to the ongoing transformation of our country. And that we do so without any motive of material advantage or personal gain.

"Bra Ike abhorred corruption and the abuse of the movement to enrich oneself. I am certain that Bra Ike would have been in the forefront of those against the beneficiaries and defenders of state capture. 

"In his honour, we must double our efforts and intensify the fight against corruption and hold accountable all those who facilitated the capture of the state by private interests," Ramaphosa said.

African News Agency (ANA)