Pretoria - Ronnie Mamoepa could not be tempted to betray the moral precepts with which he had been raised, nor the revolutionary morality that had become an essential part of his being, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Saturday.
Delivering the eulogy at the official funeral at St Alban's Cathedral in Pretoria of his spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa who died at the age of 56 last weekend from complications after a stroke a few weeks before, Ramaphosa said that as the corrosive effects of power and authority took hold of many within the African National Congress "Ronnie remained steadfast".
"He remained honest, true to his word, and true to himself. Above all Ronnie was a loyal and disciplined cadre of the movement. His discipline was expressed not in blind adherence to organisational authority but in an appreciation that the power of any revolutionary movement lies in the commitment of its leaders and members to serve the people," he said.
Without that commitment, the ANC was ineffective; the struggle futile. He understood this because he was steeped in the history, traditions, and values of the ANC. He knew the struggles that had been fought by those who came before him, he knew the sacrifices they had made, the difficult choices they had faced and the political debates that had raged.
"Having witnessed the destructive power of racial prejudice, Ronnie was a firm champion of non-racialism. For him, non-racialism was fundamental to the struggle for a free and equal society. It wasn’t a concession. It wasn’t an act of magnanimity. It wasn’t an olive branch extended by the oppressed to the oppressor in the hope that it may reciprocated.
"For him, non-racialism – like non-sexism – was an inviolable principle that he would defend, fight for and, if need be, for which he would give his life," Ramaphosa said.
He took upon his shoulders the responsibility to liberate not only those who had suffered so severely at the hands of apartheid, but also those who had perpetuated the system and who had been its beneficiaries.
He understood that he had a role to play to liberate them from the false ideology of racial superiority, which brought great material reward but which eroded their own humanity. He sought a country where all people would be free, where all people would be complete, fulfilled and at peace.
"Ronnie has left us with an awesome responsibility, to prove ourselves worthy of his confidence. He has left us with the responsibility to unite our movement and unite our nation," he said.
"Through his vitality, his passion, his essential integrity and his abiding love for his people he reminded us of what it means to be human. The way he lived his life and the effect he had on so many of us makes us appreciate the immutable ties that bind one person to another.
"We have gathered here to give comfort to [his wife] Audrey, his children Olefile, Muriel, Sakhile, Ntando, and Ofentse, his siblings and all the members of the Mamoepa family. We wish to express our deep and abiding gratitude to them for having shared Ronnie so generously with the nation.
"As we ease your pain with our presence, prayers, and messages to you as a family; we who knew and worked with Ronnie are also here to comfort each other, for we have, each of us, suffered a great loss. We have each lost a friend, a colleague, a confidant, a teacher, a mentor, a comforter, and a constant presence," Ramaphosa said.