Andrew Mlangeni is the last living Rivonia treason trialist. Picture: Tyrone Winfield
Andrew Mlangeni is the last living Rivonia treason trialist. Picture: Tyrone Winfield

Ramaphosa wishes hospitalised Struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni a speedy recovery

By African News Agency Time of article published Jul 22, 2020

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Johannesburg - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday sent well-wishes to ailing and hospitalised anti-apartheid stalwart Andrew Mlangeni, the last surviving member of a group of political activists including Nelson Mandela who were tried, convicted and jailed for sabotage in 1963/64.

Mlangeni, who turned 95 on June 6, was admitted to 1 Military Hospital in Thaba Tshwane in the capital Pretoria last Tuesday, with an abdominal complaint.

"President Ramaphosa, who participated in Bab’ (father/mister) Mlangeni’s 95th birthday celebration ... wishes Bab’Mlangeni a comfortable recovery and extends his best wishes to the veteran’s family and comrades," the Presidency said in a statement.

The ANC has also extended their wishes for a speedy recovery to Mlangeni.

“This stalwart and veteran of our liberation struggle continues to play an important role in the renewal of our movement,” the arty said.

Mlangeni is the only one still alive from the group of political activitsts who were in the dock in the so-called Rivonia Trial after the death in April of 87-year-old Denis Goldberg, who was the only white member of the group.

Mlangeni was born in 1925 in Johannesburg's sprawling township of Soweto, and left school at 12 to look for work and help his mother take care of the family, his father having passed away.

In the 1940s he worked in several industries and factories where he experienced labour exploitation, and labour exploitation, culminating in his participation as a bus driver in a strike for better working conditions and wages.

Mlangeni joined the youth league of the now-governing African National Congress in 1951 and the main ANC in 1954 and was among the first people to be sent for military training outside South Africa in 1961.

On his return in 1963 he was arrested after state witnesses said he was one of the people responsible for recruiting and training an armed force. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.

At Mlangeni's birthday celebration last month, Ramaphosa said the struggle veteran had in his later years been the "conscience" of the ANC, which has governed South Africa since the first democratic elections in 1994 which saw Mandela become the country's first black president.

Ramaphosa said over the years Mlangeni had encouraged and supported the ruling party when it did well, and steered it back on course when it faltered.

"He (Mlangeni) has not hesitated to speak out when necessary," Ramaphosa told those gathered a the celebration.

"t has been of great concern to him, and is a concern we share, that 26 years into democracy we have still not fully met the developmental aspirations of our people, and that this is an affront to human dignity."

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