JOHANNESBURG, July 24 – Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) on Monday joined the growing list of individuals and organisations that have expressed their condolences at the passing of Ronnie Mamoepa, the spokesman for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Mamoepa, who suffered a stroke last month, died on Saturday at a Pretoria hospital at the age of 56.
“It was with shock and a deep sense of loss that MKMVA received the news of the untimely passing away of comrade Ronnie Mamoepa,” said the veterans in a statement.
“In comrade Ronnie our liberation movement had one of the most dedicated and capable cadres. He joined the ANC (African National Congress) at a very young age and served selflessly and with dedication until the very end. MKMVA extends our heart-felt condolences to comrade Ronnie’s wife Audrey, his children, his family and all his friends.”
Mamoepa became involved in the liberation struggle at a very young age. At the tender age of 15 years he was arrested in Atteridgeville for ANC underground activities. In 1980 at the age of 18 he was found guilty of terrorism and given a five-year prison sentence on Robben Island.
“Such an experience could easily have broken someone less committed than Comrade Ronnie. However, he served his sentence with fortitude and grew hugely through engagements with the senior political leaders on Robben Island. Prison truly became comrade Ronnie’s school and he used every day that he was there to learn and grow,” said the veterans of the ANC’s military wing – Umkhonto we Sizwe.
At the weekend the ANC said it was “gravely saddened by the loss of one of its finest sons”.
The ANC added: “Comrade Ronnie was a militant, loyal and dedicated servant of our people who earned his stripes in the youth movement, our people’s parliaments and government. He was a distinguished Communications Commissar who served our movement and the government it leads with humility, diligence and excellence”.
President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Ramaphosa both expressed sadness at the death of Mamoepa, who is being remembered as a liberation fighter and a distinguished government communicator.
“This is a great loss to me personally, to the Presidency and government at large,” said Ramaphosa.
The Democratic Alliance also extended “its heartfelt condolences” to Mamoepa’s family, friends and loved ones.
Tributes from political parties and others continued to flow in on Sunday for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa, who has died at the age of 56 in a Pretoria hospital.
Mamoepa died late on Saturday night after battling complications from a stroke he suffered last month, according to a statement issued by Mamoepa family spokesman Groovin Nchabeleng. Mamoepa served five years of his youth in incarceration on Robben Island in Cape Town.
The South African Communist Party said in a statement it was profoundly saddened by the death of Mamoepa, “a stalwart of our struggle for liberation, a seasoned communicator of our movement, and government”.
The SACP conveyed its message of condolences to the Mamoepa family, friends, comrades, and the people as a whole for the sore loss suffered.
After the democratic breakthrough in 1994, Mamoepa joined government and served the people with distinction as a communications practitioner. His extensive experience included various communications roles, notably the presidency, the then department of foreign affairs, and the department of home affairs, as well as the ANC, the SACP said.
“In memory of cde Ronnie, the SACP will strengthen its efforts to forge the broadest possible patriotic front in defence of our country’s Constitution and deepening of our democracy,” the party said.
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise, on behalf of Parliament, expressed their deep sadness and shock at Mamoepa’s death.
Mamoepa was a loyal servant of the people and an activist who dedicated most of his life to fighting against the unjust system of apartheid and for the improvement of socio-economic conditions of South Africans, they said in a statement.
“A brilliant political mind, organic intellectual, and quintessential soul, Mr Mamoepa was respected by his generation of struggle activists as an erudite teacher of dialectical materialism and socialist economy. He was admired for his tremendously unique photographic memory, which was pivotal in the execution of the clandestine, underground anti apartheid operations on behalf of the ANC.
“As a public servant, Mr Mamoepa was a consummate professional – extremely humble, selfless, patient, passionate, and always willing and ready to go above and beyond the call of duty,” they said.
Parliament extended its sincerest and heartfelt sympathies to the Mamoepa family, his friends, and comrades.
The African National Congress said it was gravely saddened by the loss of one of its finest sons.
“Comrade Ronnie was a militant, loyal, and dedicated servant of our people who earned his stripes in the youth movement, our people’s parliaments, and government. He was a distinguished communications commissar who served our movement and the government it leads with humility, diligence, and excellence,” ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said.
Mamoepa was a critical component of a notable corps of political communicators who consolidated and strengthened the work of the ANC’s department of information and publicity following the unbanning of the ANC.
The ANC sent its heartfelt condolences to his wife Audrey, his children, and the Mamoepa family at large. “As a movement, we share the deep sorrow they feel during this difficult time,” Kodwa said.
Earlier on Sunday, the Democratic Alliance, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor – who worked closely with Mamoepa during her time as home affairs minister – and Ramaphosa and President Jacob Zuma also expressed sadness at Mamoepa’s death and conveyed their sincere condolences to Mamoepa’s immediate and extended family, comrades, friends, and colleagues.
“This is a great loss to me personally, to the presidency, and government at large,” Ramaphosa said.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa died at the age of 56 late on Saturday night, his family and the presidency announced.
“It is with profound sadness that the Mamoepa family announces the death of their beloved son Ronnie Mamoepa, at the age of 56,” Mamoepa family spokesman Groovin Nchabeleng said.
“Ronnie passed on in the late evening at a hospital in Pretoria after battling complications arising from a stroke he suffered last month. He was receiving the highest medical care.
“Ronnie Mamoepa is an icon of the country’s liberation struggle having served five years of his youth in incarceration at the infamous Robben Island prison in Cape Town,” he said.
“At the attainment of liberation in 1994, Ronnie joined government and served his country with distinction as a communications practitioner. His extensive experience included African National Congress communications and various communications roles in government, notably the presidency, the department of foreign affairs, and the department of home affairs.
“The Mamoepa family are asking the people of South Africa to join them in prayer as they come to terms with the untimely loss of Ronnie. The family expresses its sincere appreciation to the management and staff of Unitas Hospital who cared for Ronnie in the course of five weeks.
“We are also grateful for all the tokens of support received from members of the family, friends, colleagues, and associates from Ronnie’s extensive network around the country and internationally.
“The Mamoepa family also appreciates the close interest taken in Ronnie’s well-being by the management and staff of the presidency as well as the Minister and Deputy Minister of Health Drs Aaron Motsoaledi and Gwen Ramakgopa. Our thanks also go to various senior specialists who volunteered their services to care for Ronnie and comfort the family. Details of funeral arrangements will be released in due course,” Nchabeleng said.
Earlier, Ramaphosa and President Jacob Zuma both expressed sadness at Mamoepa’s death at about 11.15pm.
Ramaphosa and Zuma conveyed their sincere condolences to Mamoepa’s immediate and extended family, comrades, friends, and colleagues, the presidency said in a statement.
Mamoepa, a former political prisoner and member of the Gauteng provincial legislature, was a highly regarded and accomplished public servant and veteran communicator who served the African National Congress and various departments in government with distinction, it said.
In his latest role, since 2014, Mamoepa served as spokesperson for Ramaphosa. “This is a great loss to me personally, to the presidency, and government at large,” Ramaphosa said.
“However, our thoughts are firstly and foremost with Ronnie’s wife, Audrey, his children, and his siblings. I offer my sincere condolences to Ronnie’s relatives, friends, comrades, and colleagues who have suffered the loss of someone who was much loved and respected across our country and beyond. We shall miss him greatly.”
Ramaphosa, who visited Mamoepa in hospital several times during his illness, expressed his appreciation to the management and staff of Unitas Hospital as well as other medical professionals who attended to Mamoepa for their sustained efforts to make Mamoepa comfortable during his extended illness.
Details of memorial events would be made known as soon as they were finalised with the Mamoepa family.
– African News Agency (ANA)