Former MK member Eric "Stalin" Mtshali. PHOTO: Sibusiso Ndlovu/African News Agency (ANA)

Parliament - The Presiding Officers of Parliament have paid tribute to renowned anti-apartheid activist and former MP Eric Mtshali who died in Durban on Friday, aged 84.

Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbeka and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Thandi Modise said in a statement they had learnt with sadness of the death of Mtshali.

"Mr Mtshali, who was fondly referred to as 'Stalin', was an anti-apartheid stalwart who joined the liberation movement in Natal as a young man.  He served first as a trade unionist who mobilised organized labour to protest against the injustices of the apartheid machinery. 

"Mr Mtshali then became a member of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and African National Congress (ANC), becoming one of the founding members of its military wing, Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) where he served in several capacities, which included Chief of Personnel under Moses Kotane and JB Marks. Together with Chris Hani, Benson Ntsele and Don Nangu, Mr Mtshali founded Dawn, a weekly MK journal.

"In 2015, for his gallant fight against apartheid and immense contribution towards the liberation of the people of South African, Mr Mtshali was awarded with the Order of Mendi for Bravery in Silver by former President Jacob Zuma."

The statement added: "In Mr Mtshali’s passing South Africa has lost one of the most outstanding and fierce warriors for social justice, equality, freedom, democracy and human rights. We pay tribute to this gallant revolutionary who has made immense contribution to the liberation we enjoy today."

The Presiding officers extended their heartfelt condolences to the Mtshali family, friends and colleagues. 

African News Agency (ANA)