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The Presiding Officers of Parliament, led by National Assembly (NA) Speaker, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and National Council of Provinces Chairperson (NCOP), Mr Amos Masondo, are deeply saddened by the passing on of former Member of Parliament (MP) and struggle icon, Mrs Rita Alice Ndzanga aged 89.
Mama Ndzanga, an anti-apartheid struggle activist and fierce unionist, played a crucial role in organising and forming labour movements to resist apartheid brutality in the workplace in the 1950s. She dedicated her life as an unflinching combatant of our liberation and as a quintessential legislator of our post-apartheid and democratic Parliament.
Mrs Ndzanga was amongst the first generation of legislators that blazed a trail for future Parliamentarians. She served as a Member of the first, second and third democratic Parliament and played a critical role in setting up oversight mechanisms, public participation systems and law-making processes. With her calm, unassuming demeanour and profound intellectual depth, Mrs Ndzanga brought passion, care and humanity to her role as a people’s representative. She was an embodiment of unmatched integrity, love, selflessness and loyalty to the course of freedom and prosperity of her people.
Like other like-minded and fearless political activists of her time, she suffered persecution under the apartheid regime. She was detained, harassed, charged and jailed several times. She was arrested and imprisoned alongside Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Thoka Mngoma, Martha Dlamini and Joyce Sikhakhane.
We salute her lifetime contribution to the struggle for freedom of women, the rights of workers and her selfless pursuit for a non-racial, non-sexist, free and democratic South Africa. In recognition of her contribution to the attainment of freedom, nation-building, justice and peace, former President Thabo Mbeki awarded her the Order of Luthuli in 2004, while she was serving in the National Assembly.
Parliament’s Presiding Officers salute Mama Ndzanga for her determined advancement of the cause of social justice and liberation, particularly her relentless struggle against the ruthless apartheid government’s oppression and harassment.
Parliament will fondly remember her for her sterling service and resilience towards attaining the political freedom we enjoy today.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, political home the African National Congress and the nation. May her soul rest in peace!
Issued by Parliament