Deputy President David Mabuza with former Minister Zola Sweyiya's wife Thuthukile Skweyiya at the special official memorial service Dr Zola Themba Skweyiya. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

Pretoria - Deputy President David Mabuza says struggle stalwart Dr Zola Skweyiya can peacefully rest assured that the ANC is on a path of renewal.

“We want to assure his spirit that the organisation he so loved and dedicated his entire adult life to, is on an irreversible path of renewal as the true and honest servant of the people,” said Mabuza.

Mabuza spoke fondly about Skweyiya and said the struggle stalwart, like many ANC veterans, was concerned and hurt about the direction of the party as it was being riddled with factions and corruption in last few years.

“Dr Skweyiya detested cliques and factions and was known always to stand above all such formations in the ANC. He expressed his unease with the developments in the South African government,” said Mabuza.

“At the sunset of his life, with such a stand, he lamented that we the leaders of his beloved movement had become hostile. He despised the purging of comrades by dominant factions. And he bemoaned gate keeping, disunity, and corruption.” 

Mabuza was speaking at Skweyiya’s official memorial service in Pretoria on Wednesday. He died last week following an illness. 

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The deputy president said Skweyiya would have been happy about the outcome of the ANC’s December conference.

“Like many members of the ANC, Dr Skweyiya would have been relieved by the outcomes of the 54th elective conference of the ANC in December 2017. As we mourn his passing, we wish to assure his spirit and the entirety of the veterans of the ANC that we regret some of the omissions we have committed in the service of our people,” he said. 

Mabuza also spoke about the role played by Skweyiya in transforming the government after the ANC took office in 1994.

The former minister of public administration, who had a doctorate in law, worked hard along with former ANC President Oliver Tambo to instil a culture of rule of law within ANC camps during the struggle.

“It was under his sterling leadership that our government began restructuring that fragmented public service into an instrument of transformation. It should be lost in our memory that we had inherited a public service that was skewed in favour of white minority,” he said.

“It was under Dr Skweyiya that we began reshaping public service and administration into a single one that serves all South Africans with dignity.”

Mabuza said the loss of a struggle giant like Skweyiya is a painful loss for the ANC, but he leaves behind a long lasting legacy.

“The loss of our stalwart is as painful as the loss of one’s piece of the body and we are poorer without his presence and wisdom. He leaves a rich legacy of intellectual rigour, of social activism, and as a man of honour,” said Mabuza.

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