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Tributes pour in for KZN UDF activist Shakes Cele

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Jul 26, 2020

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Durban - ANC structures and senior members are mourning the death of Shakes Cele, a ANC stalwart who passed away in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday.

Cele was not only an ANC stalwart in the KZN Midlands but was also decorated activist who gave the apartheid regime a headache while serving as leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in the then Natal Midlands.

He is also credited for being one of the ANC leaders who led the re-establishment efforts of the ANC structures in KwaZulu Natal’s old Midlands region. It was there where he rose from being a regional executive committee member to regional secretary and later regional chairperson.

He also worked with the late Harry Gwala, current deputy minister of justice and correctional services John Jeffreys and the late Reggie Radebe who was assassinated in October 1992 during the violence that had engulfed the province.

In its tribute to Cele who served as ANC MP until the 2019 provincial and national elections, the Harry Gwala Foundation said like many leaders of his time, he chose the Struggle instead of submitting to the vile and racist apartheid minority system that oppressed the majority.

“Instead of political docility in the face of a brutal and dangerous enemy state, he elected to become a freedom fighter with all the risk to life associated with such a choice. He survived many attempts on his life and was known as a scorched-earth underground operator who was rigorous in his tactics of confusing the enemy about his movements and whereabouts whilst doing political work.”

“Comrades were a target of assassinations both by state police apparatus... As part of the leadership of the biggest regions in the country at that time, a region whose communities was destabilised by the internecine violence, he was in constant surveillance by the enemy. He survived assassination on the 27th of October 1992 when he, comrade Reggie Hadebe and comrade John Jeffrey were driving between Richmond and Ixopo and were shot by the enemy,” the foundation said in a statement on Sunday.

Political Bureau

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