Hansard: NA: Condolence motion for Ms R Mompati, former MP
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 20 May 2015
No summary available.
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 Take: 1
WEDNESDAY, 20 MAY 2015
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:00
The Chairperson, MsA T Didiza, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
NO NOTICES OF MOTION AND MOTIONS ON 20, 26, 27 MAY AND 2 JUNE 2015
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon House Chair, I move that the House, notwithstanding Rule 29, which provides for the sequence of proceedings, resolves that there will be no notices of motion and motions as referred to in Rule 97(g) on 20, 26, 27 May and 2 June 2015.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY:
MOTION OF CONDOLENCE
(The late Ruth Mompati)
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY: Hon House Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the House –
- notes that the liberation struggle veteran and icon Ms Ruth Mompati died on 12 May 2015 at the age of 89 in a Cape Town Hospital, where she was recovering after a short illness;
- further notes that a special official funeral will be held for her in her home town of Vryburg in the North West province on Saturday, 23May;
- recalls that Ms Ruth Mompati was born Ruth Seikgomotso Seitshoko in the village called Khanyesa in the North West Province on 14 September 1925;
- further recalls after completing her teacher’s diploma in 1944, she taught at the Dithakwaneng village and four years later left for Vryburg Higher Primary School, and also that she was an active member of the North West District Teachers’ Union;
- recognises that she left the teaching profession in 1953 and worked as a typist for TataNelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo in their law practice in Johannesburg until 1961;
- further recognises that she joined theAfrican National Congress (ANC) in 1954 and was elected to the National Executive Committee of the Women’s League;
- acknowledges that she was a founding member of the Federation of South African Women in 1954, and was one of the organisers of the historic Women’s March on 9August 1956;
- further acknowledges that she was one of the first women to go into exile in 1962 and undergo military training in the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe;
- remembersthat she returned to South Africa after the unbanning of the ANC and that in 1994 she was elected as aMember of Parliament in the National Assembly, whereafter she was appointed as ambassador to Switzerland from 1996 to 2000, and that on her return she became the mayor of Vryburg in the NorthWest Province;
- further remembers that in January 2014 the ANC presented Ms Mompati with its highest honour, the Isithwalandwe, Seaparankoe award, which is reserved for those who have distinguished themselves in the eyes of all the people for exceptional qualities of leadership and heroism;
- believes that South Africa has lost a very inspirational liberation struggle veteran who has contributed immensely to the fight for our democracy; and
- conveys its heartfelt condolences to Ms Ruth Mompati’s family and friends -may her soul rest in everlasting peace, knowing that her role in building our country’s future will never be forgotten.
Hambakahle, qhawekazilamaqhawe. [Go well, hero among heroes!]
Thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs A M DREYER
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY
Mrs A M DREYER: Madam Chairperson, Ruth Mompati was born in the North West province on 14 September 1925 as Ruth Seitshoko. However, when she went into exile she took the name of her first-born son - Mompati. Sadly, when Mompati - Ruth Mompati - served as a representative of the ANC in the United Kingdom between 1981 and 1982 she suffered the loss of both her sons, Mompati and Galitsiwe. Having lost a son at the age of 10 years myself, I cannot even begin to imagine the devastation of losing two sons.
These tragic losses were made even worse by the fact that, not long after the breakdown of her marriage, she went into exile in 1962 and had to leave her two young sons with her family - missing two decades of her children’s lives. But as a strong woman, she carried on with her political work. In 1994 she was duly elected as a Member of Parliament and served in various parliamentary committees, including those on gender equality, welfare, constitutional affairs and education. She also served as ambassador to Switzerland from 1996 to 2000, and on her return to South Africa became the mayor of Vryburg, or Naledi, in the North West province,, where a district bears her name.
However, Mompati’s history is not entirely uncontroversial. During an interview in London in 1987, she said, “Being gay is abnormal.” But she later changed her position on the matter and even wrote a foreword to a book called Sex and Politics in South Africa, which deals with sexual equality in the Bill of Rights. One of the editors of this book, Graeme Reid, whom I knew during the tumultuous 1980s and the two states of emergency, explained that he had asked her about this controversial pronouncement and was struck by her sincere response to it. On the spur of the moment he asked her if she would write a foreword to his book and she agreed. Graeme Reid said:
I respected Ruth Mompati for her ability to reflect on the past in a perceptive and self-critical way.
And he continued:
No, the foreword is not a ringing endorsement of gay rights, but it is testimony to her willingness to change her views. As she says in her own words, “Times change and attitudes change”. And there is no doubt that she was deeply committed to the values enshrined in South Africa’s Constitution, including the provision on sexual orientation.
She was a resolute woman of strong character. She overcame the loss of her family while she was also prepared to reflect critically on her own views and to change her position to allow for greater diversity. We salute her for that. Rest in peace, Ruth Mompati. [Applause.]
Ms H O MAXON
Mrs A M DREYER
Ms H O MAXON: Madam Chairperson, we rise, as the EFF, to express our sincere condolences to the family of Ms Ruth Mompati, to relatives and friends, as well as to the people of South Africa. We have indeed lost a struggle stalwart and a true leader who remained humble throughout her entire life. Ms Ruth was a champion of our people who selflessly served this country at a time when the apartheid system was viciously killing and persecuting our people.
She tirelessly served the people of South Africa in the pre- and post-apartheid era with distinction. And she remained committed to this course until she met her death recently after a short illness. She served our people in many other leadership roles during her lifetime and we salute her for her bravery and selflessness.
When South Africa attained political freedom - we single out political freedom because we have not yet attained economic freedom - she was among the first generation of women to serve our people in this Parliament, and she also had an opportunity to serve as an ambassador in Switzerland later on.
This struggle hero passes on at a time when our country is experiencing a serious leadership crisis. We believe that she passed on with a heavy heart at seeing the country she fought so hard for, plunging and deteriorating to the lowest point since the dawn of democracy under this current government.
Under the current government, corruption is the order of the day and opportunists within the so-called liberation movement have become the defenders of corrupt leaders. Under this current administration, we have seen the largest number of service delivery protests in this country since the dawn of democracy. It is under the current government that studies show that we are one of the most unequal societies in the world. It is under this current administration that more than 21% of our people live in extreme poverty. Twenty years after the attainment of democracy, our people still lack proper housing, electricity, water sanitation and land.
Our country is in deep trouble as things stand. Therefore, there is absolutely no hope that the situation will change anytime soon. It is clear that our country – which Ruth Mompati fought for - needs new leadership with new ideas. May the soul of Ms Ruth Mompati rest in peace. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M A MNCWANGO
Ms H O MAXON
Mr M A MNCWANGO: Hon Chairperson, the IFP extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mama Ruth Mompati. This country indeed mourns the loss of a great soul who touched the lives of so many during her long and fruitful life.
She was the recipient of the ANC’s highest honour, the Isithwalandwe award, and honoured for her exceptional qualities of leadership and heroism. She easily stands shoulder to shoulder with our greatest struggle heroes and heroines. Mama Mompati’s life was a life of service to her people and her country; it was an accolade to the triumph of the will to do good over all adversity.
From her early days in the ANC in the 1950s to her life in exile and training in UmkhontoweSizwe, she held leadership roles in the ANC Women’s League and was a founder member of the Federation of South African Women. Mama Mompati had a magnanimous disposition of character, which endeared her to many and which easily allowed her to play the role of a mother to all.
I had the distinct honour and privilege of travelling overseas with Mama Mompati and can therefore personally attest to her magnanimous character, benevolence and kindness to all.
A great light has left our land but her legacy will continue forever in our hearts and minds and those of our future generations. I thank you. [Applause.]
Prof N M KHUBISA
Mr M A MNCWANGO
Prof N M KHUBISA: Hon Chairperson, hon members, the NFP responds with great sadness and pain to the passing on of Mama Mompati. Painful as it is, this is a life to celebrate, a life well lived, a life to emulate as well. The history books will tell future generations of a struggle heroine who tirelessly dedicated her life to a cause for liberation and democracy, a woman who embodied the values of resilience and compassion. It will tell of a life in exile, one of deep pain and personal loss, yet also a life characterised by extraordinary achievement and service to her people.
Her deeds and actions are well documented and her warmth and caring nature remembered with great fondness by all whose lives she touched. She was in many ways a truly remarkable person. History will tell a story of a struggle icon who served the people with honour, dignity and humility, as secretary, teacher, Member of Parliament, ambassador and mayor.
As South Africans we owe it to the memory of Dr Mompati to cherish our liberty for which she fought tirelessly. We owe it to her memory to strengthen our democracy and strive towards equality among ourselves, for she embodied the struggle for liberation and democracy with dignity.
One of the last true heroes of our liberation, she fought against apartheid, and in spite of torture and suffering she stood like a colossus and maintained her strength like a baobab tree.
We wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Mama Mompati, knowing that their grief is deep and their sadness immense. However, our prayers are with them even at this time, and we know that the good memories will triumph over the desolation that they, together with us, feel now.
We also extend our condolences to the ANC, her political home for many years. You have lost a stalwart, someone of stature, a unique person upon whom you have bestowed your highest order. We salute her.
Sithi akalale ngoxolo; ukuzikhandla kwakhe nokubekezela kwakhe nokusebenzela kwakhe isizwe, nemisebenzi emihle yakhe yonke kuyomlandela. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[May she rest in peace; her hard work, her endurance and her dedication in working for the nation, and all her good deeds will follow her.]
Thank you, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Ms C N MAJEKE
Prof N M KHUBISA
Ms C N MAJEKE: Hon House Chairperson, hon members, the UDM extends its heartfelt condolences to the family, the ANC and friends of the late Member of the National Assembly, Ms Ruth Mompati. A heroine with a good sense of humour and respect for mankind, a towering icon who was exemplary to our nation has fallen.
Ms Mompati was blessed with resilience beyond measure. She was obedient to her calling and dared even her oppressors to embrace love. Her majestic ways were indicative of more than a mere person – she was indeed an extraordinary human being. Her model is one for the ages, and we are thankful for her sacrifice. We are blessed in having had the rare opportunity of sharing her in our lifetime. She was a good servant of the people, a great leader and a mother par excellence.
When we pause and literally look back into our past at this momentous juncture of South African history, one is just amazed at how Mama Mompati weaved her magic of humaneness until the last day. Indeed, we are much poorer without Mama Mompati. She was a moral compass, our star of hope, humility and compassion, and the greatest giant of them all.
Mama Mompati epitomised humility in her actions, togetherness in her ways, and joy in her nature. She touched and influenced the lives of many to be selfless, to be humble, to appreciate all that we have, and to be dignified when faced with tough decisions.
We are eternally indebted to her for her monumental contribution to the freedom and democracy we now enjoy. She has now gone to join other stalwarts. Ours is to hold fast to her teachings and to the memories of her selfless concern for the welfare of others. We cherish her hard work and leadership.
We are what we are today because of the contributions you have made, Mama Mompati, in bringing freedom to our lives and our children. May your soul rest in eternal peace. To her family, the ANC and its alliance, and friends, we hope that, in time you will be able to close the chapter and allow her to rest in the heavens, which have already integrated her as part of the family.
Robala ka kgotso Mme Mompati, ore lwetse wa fenya. [Rest in peace, Dr Mompati; you have fought and won.]
I thank you.
Dr C P MULDER
Ms C N MAJEKE
Dr C P MULDER: AgbVoorsitter, dit is gepas dat ons die gebruik en tradisie in hierdie Huis het om op hierdie wyse hulde te bring en ons meelewing te betuig met die familie, en ’n politieke party wat ’n senior lid in sy geledere verloor het.
Dit is so, as ŉ mens na die mosie wat vandag voor die Huis dien en die besonderhede daarin gaan kyk, dat ons voormalige kollega wat in 1994 hier gekom het en vir ’n kort tydjie in die Parlement was, ’n lang en kleurryke loopbaan in haar gemeenskap gehad het waar sy eers gedien het as parlementslid vanaf 1994, dan as ambassadeuren ook later as burgemeester. Haar toewyding aan haar party en die ideale waarin sy geglo het is bo enige twyfel en staan vas.
Dit is so dat een mens, man of vrou, op die regte tyd op die regte plek ’n verskil kan maak, en as ŉ mens deurlopend na Ruth Mompati se loopbaan kyk, het sy telkens die geleentheid gehad om daardie verskil te maak.
Namens die VF Plus wil ek graag ons opregte meelewing aan haar familie en naasbestaandes, wat in hierdie tyd hartseer is, betuig, maar ook aan haar party wat ’n kollega verloor het. Ons ondersteun graag die mosie. Baie dankie. [Applous.](Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[Mr C P MULDER: Hon Chairperson, it is fitting that we should have the tradition in this House to honour and express our condolences in this way to the family and to a political party that has lost a senior member from among its ranks.
It is true, when one looks at the motion presented before the House today and considers the details it contains, that our former colleague, who arrived here in 1994 and spent a short time in Parliament, had a long and colourful career in her community, which she first served as a Member of Parliament from 1994 onwards, then as an ambassador and later also as mayor. Her dedication to her party and the ideals in which she believed were beyond any doubt and were solid.
It is true that one person, male or female, at the right time and in the right place can make a difference, and if one were to examine Ruth Mompati’s career as a continuum, she frequently had the opportunity to make that difference.
On behalf of the FF Plus I wish to express our sincere condolences to her family and those near to her, who are grieving at this time, but also to her party, which has lost a colleague. We are happy to support the motion. Thank you very much. [Applause.]]
Mr M G P LEKOTA
Dr C P MULDER
Mr M P G LEKOTA: Chairperson, apparently there was an attempt to exclude us from the debate and discussion but I’m very happy that you have protected us. [Interjections.] I’m sorry but obviously there was a misunderstanding in the administration.
Let me say that we have lost one of the best leaders from amongst the people of South Africa. We first learnt of Ms Ruth Mompati – certainly our generation – when she was already in exile. The work and performance of the generation that saw the people’s congress and that led the march to the Union Buildings was told about in whispers within our communities because the organizations of the people had been banned. These were not stories or accounts that you came across or heard abouteasily. It took us a journey at state expense to Robben Island to hear a full account of who she and her generation were. Therefore, it was a real privilege when, with the unbanning of the liberation organisations of the people, some of them returned from exile and joined together.
Very many times, when people tell you about somebody you haven’t seen and whom you don’t know, the work that they have done makes you form a picture of a huge, strong, six–foot-tall person, and all of that. Yet, when Ms Mompati arrived with others and we met her for the first time at the first internal conference at the University of Durban-Westville, she was herself. She was a very trim lady, not with a loud voice but very soft-spoken, attesting to what our people say:
Ha ho tume dimelala, le ba basesanyana ba a e lwana. [Fame is not only for those with giant bodies; even the smaller ones can fight.]
Somebody like that,who had done the work that we had been told about and that she continued and carried forward, was a source of deep inspiration and a pleasure to know.
I was privileged to travel with her to Germany to fetch our S101 submarine, of which she was to be the patron, and she made some very telling comments on that occasion. Her life will remain an inspiration for generations to come. May her soul rest in peace. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms C DUDLEY
Mr M P G LEKOTA
Ms C DUDLEY: The ACDP would like to pay our respects to the memory of former ambassador and former Member of Parliament Ruth Mompati, who died last Tuesday at the age of 89 following a long illness. To all Mama Ruth’s family, friends and colleagues, we extend our heartfelt condolences and pray you will experience peace and comfort in knowing that she has gone to be with her Father in heaven.
In remembering Mama Ruth, we are reminded that between 1953 and 1961 she worked as a typist for the late former President Nelson Mandela and ANC stalwart Oliver Tambo in their law practice, and that during that time she joined the ANC and was elected to the national executive committee of the women’s league.
As a founding member of the Federation of South African Women, she is fondly remembered as one of the leaders of the historic Women’s March on 9 August 1956, which is commemorated every year on Women’s Day. Mompati, who headed the ANC’s board of religious affairs at one time, served as the chief representative of the ANC in the UK and was part of the delegation that opened talks with the South African government at Groote Schuur in 1990. Rest in peace, Mama Ruth. [Applause.]
Mr L M NTSHAYISA
Ms C DUDLEY
Mr L M NTSHAYISA: Hon Chair, hon members, family members and relatives of Comrade Ruth Mompati, the passing away of Comrade Mompati is not only a loss to her family members and relatives but also to the whole nation. On behalf of the AIC, I convey our heartfelt condolences to her family, relatives and the ANC for the loss they have suffered. You are not alone in this suffering.
The contribution that she has made to the freedom of this country cannot be forgotten. She did good work for the country. She was prepared to die like a patriot. She will be remembered for having braved the anger and hatred of the oppressors in 1956, together with other women, and marched to the Union Buildings to burn the notorious passes. This was one of the remarkable freedom struggles in which Ruth Mompati participated. We still need people of her calibre and courage so as to fight the evils and social ills that are facing our beloved country.
Be comforted, therefore. It is done. May her soul rest in peace. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L R MBINDA
Mr L M NTSHAYISA
Mr L R MBINDA: Hon Chair, as an organisation that is fond of the role of women in society, the PAC of Azania would like to take this opportunity to convey our sincere condolences to Mama Mompati’s family. It has never been easy for female comrades to fully participate in the liberation movement, as they have had to abandon their expected societal responsibilities and take up arms as equals with their male comrades. The women veterans’ undying revolutionary commitment is what kept them going. There is an Azanian People’s Liberation Army slogan that says, “When you educate a woman, you educate a nation”. This is evident in the formidable women that the struggle has produced.
I would like also to take the opportunity to convey the message from the PAC Women’s Organisation, which reads as follows:
You were a shining star of Africa, walking in the footsteps of African women warriors, the likes of Nehanda Nyakasikana of Zimbabwe, Queen Nzinga of Angola, Yaa Asantewaa of Ghana and Makeda of Ethiopia. Your light is streaming across the field of time and space. Go well, noble daughter of the soil. We shall continue with the struggle for total liberation of African people.
A person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for she is still alive in our hearts and minds. This mother of Africa lived a life worth living. She committed herself to the fight for women’s emancipation in totality. The departure of this struggle stalwart vindicates that women from Azania internationally should fight dearly for the psychological, mental and political liberation of women in the Diaspora.
Lastly, the PAC also wants to commend the President for the acknowledgement of our freedom fighters by declaring Mama Ruth’s funeral a state funeral.
Sithi nangamso, uyenze nakwabanye. [We say thank you, and do the same for others as well.]
May your courtesy cut across all political lines. Our heartfelt condolences go to the family, friends, comrades and loved ones of umama. She has lived a full life and accomplished all she could.
IPAC of Azania ithi uhambe kakuhle. Ulale ngoxolo ntombi yesizwe. [Kwaqhwatywa.] [The PAC of Azania says go well. May you rest in peace, daughter of the soil!] [Applause.]
Mr N T GODI
Mr L R MBINDA
Mr N T GODI: Hon House Chair, comrades and hon members, when a person passes away we naturally look back at the life they lived. In this instance we remember Mama Ruth Mompati, the parliamentarian, the diplomat, the mayor and, above all, the freedom fighter. She belonged to a generation that discovered its mission, never to betray it. She served, suffered and sacrificed for its realisation, which was freedom for the African majority.
Umama, like thousands of her generation, was prepared to forsake personal and family comforts for the sake of the struggle. She left her two small children when going into exile. What a sacrifice! It is these kinds of self-sacrifice that those who were spectators or mere intellectual converts to the struggle cannot and do not fully appreciate.
Her life and example are worthy of emulation. As we remember Mama Ruth Mompati today, may it be so that we remember all those unnamed and unsung freedom fighters who died in accidents, of diseases, of natural causes, in prison, etc, who did not live to see Freedom Day, and those who still walk down the streets of our country unrecognised.
For, whilst the struggle for freedom has brought forward leaders like Mama Ruth Mompati, it was always a collective effort and any occasion to remembers one of our leaders must remind us of all those who have risen to the national call. It must relink us with the vision of our struggle, the values and traditions of the liberation movement. Their memory must be a mirror for ourselves to see how much we have changed or how far we have strayed from our ethos and revolutionary morality. Her memory is best honoured by us carrying forward the struggle to improve the material conditions of the African people in general and the working class in particular, fighting inequality, poverty and unemployment.
Anything less would just be words, empty words. Occasions like this would be mere rituals, not signifying much. Umama has played her part and she will always be remembered. As Robert Sobukwe said, “bayosho bathi sasikhona”. [they will say we were also there].
As the APC we convey our heartfelt condolences and solidarity to her family and comrades in the majority party. May her soul rest in peace. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms M R MORUTOA
Mr N T GODI
Ms M R MORUTOA: Hon Chair of the House, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, and hon guests, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Mama Ruth Mompati. Mama Ruth was a mother to many. She was called “Mama Ruth”, “Ma Rute”, “Aunty Ruth”. Ma Ruth had a deep love for all children. The years she spent in exile with ANC children were very hard on her as a mother, but this deepened her love for all children. To all Mama Ruth’s children, our prayers and thoughts are with you during this time.
A fearless freedom fighter, an ANC stalwart and a disciplined member of ANC. Fellow Comrades, allow me to brag about some of Ruth Mompati’s accolades as an ANC comrade. Ruth Mompati not only joined the ANC but she also worked as a typist for Comrade Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo’s law firm from 1953 to 1961. Ma Ruth was involved in the defiance campaign in 1952. She co-founded the first multi party women’s organization in South Africa, the Federation of South African Women, FEDSAW, which developed the Women’s Charter in 1954.
She was among the leaders of the 1956 anti-pass march. She went into exile in 1962 and underwent military training. Shew as the head secretary of the Women’s Section from 1962 to 1972. She was head of the ANC Board of Religious Affairs. She was a Chief Representative of the ANC in the UK. She was Chair of the ANC in Kimberley from 1991 to 1994. She was a Member of Parliament. She became a South African Ambassador in Switzerland from 1996 to 2000. In 2001 she became the Mayor of Vryburg.
I’m talking about Ma Ruth Mompati, the negotiator. She was one of the two women who were in the ANC leadership that met President De Klerk to negotiate the Groote Schuur Minute that led to a commitment from the government of the day to ensure the release of all political prisoners and indemnity from prosecution for returning exiles. Her presence in these pre-democracy negotiations paved the way for a peaceful transition to democracy because she was a woman.
Mama Ruth Mompati,Isithwalandwe. She was also a member of the National Orders Advisory Council. The advisory council processes nominations of deserving South Africans and foreign nationals and advises the President and assists him in the execution of this responsibility.
During the unveiling of her statue, in her reply speech, Mama Ruth Mompati said:
This statue symbolizes the struggle of all races because it is the struggle I was involved in. I dedicate it to all South Africans, especially the people of Vryburg and women of this country. The sculpture must always be seen as a mark of unity, which all mustembrace.
To me this confirms that she was against any prejudice, including xenophobia.
A phenomenal woman, and a gender activist. To all women Parliamentarians and the majority of the citizens of this country, the women, join me in paying tribute and homage to Mama Ruth Mompati.
Mama Ruth Mompati was very outspoken about women’s issues and always insisted on equal opportunities for everyone. She even fought for equal rights within the ANC.She was instrumental in the development of the Women’s Charter. In August 2014 Ruth Mompati presented the Women’s Charter to 500 women in Kokwana Village. I remember that whenever she met me, she would ask me about the ANC women’s league and say:
Wen angwananyana, wen a Storey, leetsang ka mokgatlo wa bomme? Ke fetole ka hore, re etsa jwalo ka hale re laetse, mme Ruth.[“You, young lady, Storey, what are you doing with the women's league?” I would then answer by saying, ”We are doing as you have directed us, Ma Ruth”.]
The Multi-Party Women’s Caucus, MPWC,is considering reviewing the progress accomplished in terms of the articles of the Women’s Charter during August 2015, and Ruth Mompati would have participated in that process. To all South African women, the struggle for women’s emancipation continues. Let us take the baton and move forward.
Mama Ruth Mompati, a teacher and a trade unionist. Mama Ruth Mompati came from a family with very limited resources, but she was determined to get an education. She had to leave school after completing standard 6 and worked as a domestic worker for a white family. She was determined to get an education and later went to Tiger Kloof Teachers’ Training College and became a school teacher.
As a teacher she joined a teachers’ union, not only to fight for better working conditions but also for better education for children.
In 1996, Mama Ruth was awarded an Honorary Masters Degree in Education by the University of the NorthWest in Mahikeng. In 1998, the Medical University of South Africa awarded her an Honorary Doctorate.
Mama Ruth Mompati was also a humanitarian. Amongst her many humanitarian activities she was involved in the following: She was a founder of Naledi Hospice, which started operating in 2010. The Naledi hospice provides residential care for the terminally ill, palliative care, counselling and support to the patient and the family. She started a Ruth Mompati bursary fund. This fund is currently being administered by the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality and is currently providing full bursaries to seven learners. The fund has also assisted 44learners with registration for the 2015 academicyear.
She assisted in the provision of a soup kitchen for a local orphanage known as BAPS, which was founded by Mr Willie Neser.The orphanage has since been relinquished to the Adrian Losper Soup Kitchen and is currently running, providing lunch to 250 to 300 needy children on a daily basis. The soup kitchen also provides about 180 food parcels to granny-headed households, school uniforms, blankets and clothing to needy children. They are also running support groups for foster families and always offer assistance to victims of shack fires in the area.
She was a patron of the Tiger Kloof Educational Institution.
To all fellow South Africans, I want to assure you that Ruth Mompati was deeply committed to the values enshrined in South Africa’s Constitution, including the provision on sexual orientation, even though she was regarded as anti-gay, based on an interview she held in 1987 with gayactivist Peter Tatchell and was quoted as saying that gays and lesbians were not normal.
In 2005 she wrote a foreword to a collection of essays exploring the journey taken by South Africa in ensuring sexual equality. Comrade Ruth Mompati confessed at the time to her change in attitude regarding the matter. This confession has shown her ability to reflect on the past in a perceptive and self-critical way and as an open-minded person.
Robala ka kgotso mme Ruth Mompati. [Rest in peace, Ma Ruth Mompati.] [Appause]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): Thank you, hon Morutoa. That concludes the speaker’s list on this matter. I take it there are no objections to the motion being adopted. Will members please rise to observe a moment of silence in memory of the late Mama Ruth Mompati.
Agreed to, members standing.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms A T Didiza): You may be seated!
On behalf of the Speaker and all other presiding officers, we wish to associate ourselves with the motion. The condolences of the House will be conveyed to the Mompati family.
The House adjourned at 14:48.
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