Hansard: JS: Tributes to former Speaker of the National Assembly, the late Dr F N Ginwala
House: Joint (NA + NCOP)
Date of Meeting: 06 Feb 2023
No summary available.
MONDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 2023
PROCEEDINGS AT JOINT SITTING
Watch video here: Tributes to former Speaker of the National Assembly, the late Dr F N Ginwala
Members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces assembled in the Cape Town City Hall at 14:03.
The Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces took the Chair.
The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
CALLING OF JOINT SITTING
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members and guests, the presiding officers have called a Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in terms of Joint Rule 7(2) in order to pay tribute to Dr Frene Ginwala, former Speaker of the National Assembly. I will therefore take the opportunity at this point in time to recognise the presence of Dr Ginwala’s family in our midst. [Applause.]
Thank you very much for being with us. We are honoured to have you here today.
Hon members, before we start with the tributes, we will perform a candle lighting ceremony and sign the condolence book here on the stage. I now invite leaders of political parties and the Chief Whip of the Council to join the presiding officers on stage.
Business suspended at 14:06 and resumed at 14:26.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: Madam Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Chief Whip of the Majority Party, hon members, the family and colleagues of Dr Frene Ginwala, it is a privilege and deeply held honour to have the opportunity to contribute to this important sitting celebrating the life of a great South African.
Dr Frene Ginwala was a leader of many accomplishments. She is renowned as a courageous freedom fighter who fearlessly committed herself to the cause for justice and an end to apartheid. In this role, Comrade Frene, as I called her, fully associated herself with the downtrodden, the marginalised and the vulnerable. She was also extensively educated and well- read, having obtained qualifications and training in
journalism and law at esteemed global institutions of higher learning.
Each year we, as South Africans, enjoy the privilege of celebrating the brave women who boldly marched on the Union Buildings in 1956 to demand an end to oppressive apartheid laws. Comrade Frene is of this character of woman in that, as a very young activist of the 60s, she was already underground, organising safe houses for our leaders and cadres, and working closely with president O R Tambo in exile creating ANC offices and communication channels for the underground. It was rare for women to take up the study of the law at her time. I believe this choice signalled her instinctive understanding that the practice of law is deeply linked to the enjoyment of freedom and justice.
I recall conversations we had about postapartheid South Africa’s emerging jurisprudence, and her concern that, as constitution writers, we perhaps had not been insightful in that we crafted the Constitution in a manner that assumed a progressive judiciary that would establish precedents that would advance the progressive intentions of the Constitution. She thought that we may have had too much faith in a sector trained in a common philosophy and not always imbued with a desire to advance transformation. She regretted that the ilk of Justice Mahomed and Justice Chaskalson were not with us
long enough to wield this influence. These were intriguing discussions in which I learned much and, sadly, we never fully concluded them.
I believe Comrade Frene came fully into her own when she was nominated as our ANC candidate for the position of National Assembly Speaker of the first democratically elected Parliament. When she ascended to the Assembly chair after the vote, I think all of us present in that May of 1994 knew that a new era had begun for South Africa ... [Applause.] ... and knew that that new age would have the authoritative stamp of Dr Ginwala on it.
Speaker Ginwala shaped the democratic character of our Parliament, supported by several Members of Parliament, old and new: Rev Arnold Stofile, our first Chief Whip of the Majority Party, Jannie Momberg, our Programme Whip, Douglas Gibson, Chief Whip of the Opposition, Ken Andrew, erudite in understanding law, the inimitable Mr Van der Merwe of the IFP, as well as the hardworking Deputy Speaker Baleka Mbete, a close friend to Comrade Frene. What a team we had!
Speaker Ginwala was determined at that early time that this Parliament would be an open, accessible Parliament of the people – open committees, questions to the executive,
informative debate and regular reminders to all of us that we are all in this together.
The Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios, MAPS, project – we referred to it fondly in that way – which she brilliantly steered with the title “Perspectives of and on Africa”, was an amazing initiative designed to encourage often factiously divided members that it was possible to look at issues from different perspectives, and sometimes even share perspectives not bound by where we sit but what they represent, and not drawn just from the viewpoint of our subjective political and social experiences.
Through intellectual scrutiny of our engagement with the task of transformation, she encouraged us to think anew, and many new unifying conversations were begun. I remember once she was walking along the parliamentary corridor just outside the Old Assembly Chamber and hon Tony Leon and her got into the subject of the MAPS and perspectives. The discussion began to get rather heated, until she explained to hon Leon that what is happening is what she was trying to discourage: You have a perspective and I also have a perspective, and I am asking if we could try to find the unity that may exist somewhere in between.
Her work on the United Nations Special Task Team on Human Security gave shape and content to the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. She was erudite in her conceptualisation of the meaning of human security and sought to encourage us to understand that, for sustainable development, all areas of socioeconomic endeavour had to be addressed and that attention to only one area would not provide the true human security that humanity deserves.
In Parliament, she played a key role in overhauling archaic Rules, including firmly assisting members to transition to saying “Madam Speaker”, after decades of the old “Mister Speaker” apartheid conversations. I cannot forget the hon member who would come to the podium and very boldly begin his speech with “Mister Speaker”. And hon Ginwala would say, “Hon member, it is Madam Speaker” and the hon member would almost close his eyes and grit his teeth to remember and begin his speech again and say, “Mister Speaker”! [Laughter.] After many lessons he did learn to get it right!
She was also able to get former antagonists to shake hands. She stood out in that she respected all political parties. Whether majority or opposition, you had a voice in her Chamber.
She continued to be an internationalist, serving the United Nations, helping to form and steer the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, Ticad – which still exists today – drafting with aplomb the Pan African Parliament protocol along with another stalwart, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma, and serving as an inaugural member of that key institution.
I told this story at her memorial service. When we were working on the draft protocol of the Pan African Parliament, certain leaders of the African continent were not happy with the direction the protocol was taking and felt that it looked like too radical a protocol than what they would want to see an African parliament consist of. So, Dr Ginwala, as the lead crafter, was summoned to a meeting. Off she went, and she came back hours later and we continued to draft what we thought needed to be in the protocol of a Pan African Parliament. I think, if it wasn’t for Frene Ginwala, we wouldn’t have the content of the protocol that we have today. [Applause.]
Hon members, Comrade Frene Ginwala was truly an incredible, well-rounded leader who leaves an indelible mark on the history of postapartheid South Africa.
I must conclude by telling you that sometimes we would join together to intimidate some of the staff of Parliament. We had
a seating arrangement in her office. When someone was going to come in whom we needed to really scare, we would sit in a particular way and we had a manner of who starts and who continues the discussion. After some time, the staff learned that this seating arrangement was an intimidating one and they would enter the office wringing their hands knowing that a grilling was about to begin!
Dear Comrade Ginwala, thank you for your service to our nation. Thank you for your contribution to transformation. May you rest in peace.
Lala ngoxolo, Xabani. (Translation of isiXhosa sentence follows.)
[Rest in peace, Xabani.]
I thank you, hon members. [Applause.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: I think, Minister, it is really apt this afternoon that I get to greet by saying, good afternoon, Madam Speaker.
On behalf of the DA, I would like to formally extend its deepest condolences to the friends and family of Dr Frene Ginwala, to her political party, the ANC, and to all those
whose lives were touched by her work over the course of a well-lived life.
Siyavelana nani kwaye siyayazi ukuba umthi omkhulu uwile.
(Translation of isiXhosa sentence follows.)
[We sympathise with you and we know that a big tree has fallen.]
The death of the first Speaker of the first democratic Parliament comes at a seminal time in our country and indeed for this institution too. The angst, despair and anger amongst South Africans is palpable. This country-wide anxiety about our future coincides with the deaths of some of the founding figures of our democracy, a symbolism we cannot not ignore. It does require South Africa’s leaders of today to recommit themselves in word and deed to the very promise of 1994. It requires us to interrogate what legacy has been left behind by people like Dr Ginwala and how best we can carry on on the path they charted for us all.
The death of this formidable feminist, academic, freedom fighter and trailblazer has made me, a young leader in South Africa, pause for thought about the role that we are playing to better the lives of the people who elected us to serve them. Are we building on the gains of people like Dr Ginwala
so that their life’s work and sacrifices are not in vain? Or have we abandoned the hope and commitment of 1994?
Many have spoken, including our previous speaker, about the gravity of the moment when the first democratic Parliament was founded. She herself spoke about the importance of this institution in changing lives. It was an institution built on the foundation of a racially segregated South Africa, a country that many had written off, pointing to examples across the continent. However, many committed themselves to building a democratic South Africa in which the colour of one’s skin does not determine one’s lot in life. Parliament as an institution was critical to that national project.
It was in those Houses that laws were passed that would go on to give effect to our Constitution, a document lauded the world over. Dr Ginwala, working from a completely blank slate, began the work of establishing the culture, Rules and procedures of Parliament. From the work that was done then, we know now what an effective Parliament ought to do and what its impact ought to be. It elects a President, passes laws, holds the executive to account, and provides a platform for issues affecting South Africans to be ventilated.
Lo msebenzi siwenza apha namhlanje sawuhlakulelwa ngabantu abafana nooGqirha Ginwala. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[The job that we are doing here today was initiated by people like Dr Ginwala.]
In preparing for this tribute, it was important that I not limit my preparation to only what is written about Dr Ginwala, but that I also speak to people who served in Parliament during her tenure as the Speaker of the National Assembly.
I spoke to James Selfe, who has since retired, but who spoke warmly of Dr Ginwala. He too was part of that historic class of 1994 – someone who differed with the Speaker politically, but had immense respect for her work and her commitment to the institution. He recalled to me how fair she was, and how her political persuasions never clouded her judgement when it came to instilling discipline in the House. He recalled well how detail orientated she was, and how committed she was to the spirit and the letter of the Rules of the National Assembly and of Parliament as a whole. He spoke of how her work as the inaugural presiding officer truly deepened South Africa’s democracy.
This is, no doubt, an incredible legacy. And now, hon members, the responsibility is ours.
We need to restore this Parliament to the standard and calibre of that very First Parliament. If we are to honour the life of Dr Frene Ginwala, we must rebuild Parliament. We need to make sure that the rubble which was once the House that changed the course of South Africa as we know it is rebuilt without any further delay. We need to make sure that the contribution of the first Speaker of the National Assembly is recorded in the Parliament that will be rebuilt, similar to the Mandela bust which stands proudly in front of the NA.
But, honouring her life cannot just be in the form of memorial material. It needs to be reflected in how we treat this House. We need presiding officers who will commit to the Rules of the institution, unmoved by their own political affiliation. We need to bring back the spirit of working across party lines.
South Africans need to see us united in our commitment to bringing change to their lives. We need to abandon the unprogressive tendency of shooting down ideas because they do not come from our own political party. The issues facing South Africans are urgent, and they require the kind of political maturity that the likes of Dr Ginwala had.
And so, as we bid farewell to her, we also express our deep gratitude.
Silapha nje, kule Palamente enemithetho nemiqathango, kungenxa yemisebenzi yabantu abafana noGqirha Ginwala nabanye. Anga angaphumla ngoxolo, ugqatso ulufezile. SinguMzantsi Afrika siyabulela. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[We are here, in this Parliament with Rules and order, because of the achievements of people like Dr Ginwala and others. May she rest in peace; she has finished her race. As South Africa, we are grateful.]
Thank you for your service Madam Speaker.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Chair of the NCOP, greetings to the commander-in-chief, Julius Malema, and to all fearless ground forces of the July movement that is turning 10 this year.
Speaker, on behalf of the EFF, we wish to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of Dr Ginwala, the very first Speaker of Parliament in South Africa’s democratic era.
I also wish to extend condolences to the family on behalf of the millions of women in this country and on the continent who were inspired by the example and character of Dr Ginwala, who
assumed the role as head of this august institution when it was not common for a woman to occupy a position of such authority in this country and on the continent.
Through her unquestionable integrity, rock-solid commitment to ethical governance, her intellectual depth, her fairness as the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Ginwala provided all of us with a lifetime of examples of what a true servant leader is – something which all of us should be.
She could have chosen to be anything in life, but she chose to dedicate her entire being to the freedom of our people.
When she completed her Bachelor of Law Degree at the University of London and her legal training, she could easily have secured a prosperous legal career for herself. However, Dr Ginwala was repulsed by the apartheid inequalities. The inhumanity with which whites treated blacks in this country enraged her and she decided to commit her entire life to the freedom of our people.
When she worked as head of research in the office of the president of the ANC, Dr Ginwala focused her research on the transfer of military and nuclear technology because she envisaged a country which would not need lethal arms with which to stamp authority on the world. She envisaged a country
whose might would be the sheer force of its moral character, with a leadership that did not lie to its people, that did not steal from its people, that would be obsessed with the development of its people as a whole and with the uprooting of poverty and the removal of structural impediments that were holding back the development of its people, particularly the black majority in the country.
As we celebrate her lifetime commitment to freedom, we must concede that her last days must surely have caused her hurt as she observed the direction her political party has taken. She could never have foreseen that, in her lifetime, the party she belonged to would have a president accused of gross violation of the Constitution ... [Interjections.] ... a President who allegedly hid foreign currency under mattresses in his private residence, violating the laws regulating the handling of foreign currency in this country. She might not have foreseen that the same President who stands accused of using state resources to hunt down those who stole the foreign currency from his farm would enlist the services of the Namibian head of state to search for the criminals, and, after finally catching them, bribing these so-called criminals to not ever mention that the crime had even been committed.
Most painfully, Dr Ginwala would have seen the role the current Speaker is playing by defying the recommendations of
the committee that Parliament and she, herself, set up, which indicated that prima facie evidence exists showing that Mr Ramaphosa had a case to answer for in the matter relating to the crime that was committed at his farm. [Interjections.]
When Parliament shields a potential criminal on the basis of party loyalty – as you are screaming – Dr Ginwala must have felt her soul pierced by the criminality that has engulfed her political party.
We remember her because of the examples she set for how this Parliament and South Africa’s democracy should be led. [Interjections.] We make efforts to hold the executive to account, Lindiwe Zulu. We do so because she taught all of us that the law must be respected, and that Parliament must have the teeth to hold the executive to account. [Interjections.] We will not allow criminals and those who defend criminality to endanger our democracy, hon Lindiwe Zulu. [Interjections.] We will keep her memory alive by doing all we can to prevent Parliament from becoming a toothless entity through the actions a group of criminals who are in the majority and who spit on the Constitution.
May her soul rest in peace and her family be comforted. [Interjections.]
Hon Zulu, I’m turning 40. [Interjections.] She was one of my role models, in case you didn’t know. The EFF is turning 10 and, whether you like it or not, we will be part of this House. [Interjections.] That which you are doing might have pained Dr Ginwala.
We wish to send our heartfelt condolences to the family.
We will forever learn from the ones that came before us to hold you to account. I thank you. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
Mr N SINGH: Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, hon Speaker, His Excellency the President in absentia, hon Ministers and hon colleagues, I deem it a singular honour this afternoon to have been asked to pay tribute to a great South African patriot, somebody with whom I worked in 1994 when I joined the senate.
Although I was a senator then, we met very often in the Constitutional Assembly under her leadership. I also remember going on the first South African parliamentary trip to the parliament of India in 1995, a trip led personally by Speaker Frene Ginwala. During that trip we saw the other side of Speaker Frene Ginwala – the friendly side, the motherly side, and the side of her that even scolded us when, after long days’ sessions, we used to have certain spiritual sessions in
our rooms and get delayed for our evening meetings! That was the hon Speaker Frene Ginwala.
I deem it an honour to read this tribute on behalf of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi who served this Parliament and this country from 1994 and who served with Speaker Frene Ginwala. This is his tribute:
Before I pay tribute to our country’s first Speaker of a democratically elected Parliament, allow me to express my condolences to her family. As you listen to our praises being poured out for your aunt, I pray that it will be a healing balm. Thank you for sharing Dr Frene Ginwala with the country she loved so much.
By the time we convened our first democratic Parliament on
9 May 1994, Dr Ginwala had already earned the respect of every party that stepped into the Government of National Unity. Already she had lived a remarkable life. Already she had a formidable library of academic achievements. Already she had served South Africa with every fibre of her being. For the sake of our liberation, she had spent 30 years away from the soil in which her heart was planted. We in the liberation movement held her in high regard. We knew the role she played in exposing apartheid’s worst aberrations to the world and her
equally valuable role in communicating the ideas of our movement.
When the IFP disagreed with the call for international sanctions against South Africa, I found in Dr Ginwala an articulate and informed adversary. She was the ANC’s spokesperson on sanctions in the United Kingdom at the time I was visiting heads of states like Prime Minister Thatcher, President Reagan, Chancellor Kohl and Prime Minister Den Uyl, persuading them against disinvestment.
When we achieved democracy, it was natural that Dr Ginwala played a central role. Her appointment as Speaker of the National Assembly augured well for our first Parliament. She played the role as it was meant to be played - with dignity, impartiality and firmness. Undoubtedly, there was greater decorum in Parliament at that time, but that is not to say her patience was not tested.
Within the first 10 years of democracy, some 700 major pieces of legislation were passed. My own Immigration Act was passed with the hon Dr Ginwala presiding, and it was no easy task to transform the entire body of law in our country so swiftly, and yet that is what was demanded of her.
For the first two years, Parliament also doubled as a Constitutional Assembly, in which the hon Ginwala made a great contribution in drafting South Africa’s final Constitution.
She was an astute negotiator.
The IFP had 48 members in the Constitutional Assembly and we produced a full analysis of what we felt was needed, evaluating the alternatives and explaining why our options were preferable.
Prince Buthelezi continues and says that he is honoured to have served our country with such a dedicated patriot. May she rest in eternal peace. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr W W WESSELS: Hon Chairperson, Dr Frene Ginwala was a true democrat. She stood up for what she believed in and she had such character and such courage. As the first Speaker of the democratic National Assembly, she actively promoted true multiparty participation and democracy. She also actively contributed to establishing the South African Parliament as a Parliament of the people, and promoted true public participation. She possessed the much-needed qualities required of a Speaker and she had the gravitas to ensure that there was respect and discipline from all sides of the House in the National Assembly. She protected the decorum of the House.
She believed that human rights should not only be codified in the Constitution, but should also be delivered on. We should learn from what she stood for and what she promoted, in particular the values of respect, fairness and true democracy. And we should evaluate if those values are still present in this institution today. Are they still being promoted and respected? She respected the voices of minorities.
Ek het nie, soos die agb Singh wat voor my gepraat het, die agb Ginwala persoonlik geken nie, maar ek het haar leer ken deur televisie te kyk. Daardie tyd was ek so nege of tien jaar oud en dit was regstreeks uitgesaai, terwyl ek gemaak het asof ek huiswerk doen. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[I did not know hon Ginwala personally like hon Singh who spoke before me, but I got to know her by watching TV. At that time, I was about nine or ten years old, and it was broadcasted live while I pretended to do homework.]
I pretended I was doing homework and I watched Parliament on television at that stage. I saw Speaker Ginwala in action. I saw those values and that first democratic Parliament enticed me to become involved in politics.
I think, we should all learn from and honour her memory by respecting those values of multiparty participation in this institution. We should promote real public participation, and not make public participation into rubberstamp, something we go through, something that appears in the Constitution or is mentioned in the Rules of this institution. Rather, we should actually listen to the people, to what the people need, and we should deliver on what we say human rights and basic rights are. Let us honour Speaker Ginwala’s memory.
On behalf of the FF Plus, I express our sincere condolences to her family, her friends and her former colleagues. I thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP (Mr A J Nyambi): Hon
Speaker, hon Chairperson, Ginwala family, hon members, esteemed guests, it’s indeed, as hon Pandor said, an honour and a humbling experience to be one of the speakers honouring a stalwart that lived her life to the fullest.
To the Ginwala family, we say it is bad that we have to use this opportunity to try and educate those who don’t have a sense of occasion. [Interjections.]
It would be remiss of me if I did not join the hordes of South Africans, both at home and in the diaspora in congratulating
the trio, Nomcebo Zikode, Wouter Kellerman and Zakes Bantwini on winning a Grammy Award last night. Winning a Grammy for Best Global Music Performance is no small feat! It reminds us as a country of our innate ability to perform at the highest levels. Congratulations to the trio! The announcement of their exploits could not have come at a better time. It is a perfect tribute to the life and times of Dr Frene Ginwala, who defied obscurity and mediocrity.
Her life and ultimate demise remind us of what it means to be of service to one’s people, and her departure emphasises the fact that we have one chance to live and to create a legacy that would be a subject of both scholarly research and casual debates. In her death, Dr Ginwala joins an array of political luminaries such as Charlotte Maxeke, Lillian Ngoyi, Florence Mophosho, Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela, Ruth First, Albertina Sisulu, Nomaka Mbeki and many matriarchs, who made a name for themselves in the trenches and on the battle lines of the fight against apartheid. We hear their voices of discontent in the rumbling thunder of the Highveld and we hear their lamentation in the howling winds of the Cape. We also hear their happy song in the fluttering footsteps of thousands of our learners and students in the halls of schools and universities as they carve a future for themselves.
Lesingakusho kubo kutsi, lalani ngekutfula machawekati akitsi, tsine sitawuchubeka sizabalaze kute kufike lusuku lapho iNingizimu Afrika itawukhululeka khona kutemnotfo njengoba yakhululeka kutembangave. Sitakwenta siciniseko sekutsi akekho lomsikati lotawudlengulwa, ashaywe aphindze abulawe. Nangale kwaloko sitatibophelela etukwekutsi tonkhe timfundziso tenu tibe sibane endleleni yetfu yokuphila nasekuphatseni live leNingizimu Afrika. (Translation of Siswati paragraph follows.)
[What we can say is, rest in peace, our heroines. We will continue fighting until South Africa is as economically free as it is politically. We will ensure that women are not raped, beaten and killed. Beyond that, we commit ourselves to make your teachings our guiding lights in life and in governing South Africa.]
We mourn the passing of Mam’ Frene because there will never be another like her. Yet, we celebrate her love because of the many years of service she gave to us in the fight to eradicate the three-headed dragon of inequality, poverty and unemployment. Mam’ Frene joined the struggle when it was not fashionable to do so. She could so easily have pursued a successful career as a gifted journalist, as an author, or as the academic that she was, but she opted for the trenches.
The colourful speeches and renditions we have made since the sad news of her passing broke are befitting a noble matriarch. However, they do not make up for the life of the hardship she endured. Just like the biblical Moses, she ditched the trappings of a glittering life, and instead chose to fight alongside her people for a just and equitable society. She forewent the comforts of her motherland, instead hopping from country to country, begging bowl in hand, seeking solidarity for a just cause. She chose a life of servitude when she could have been a queen in her living years.
Mam’ Frene hated sexism and nonracialism with passion and devoted her life to fighting against injustice. Any tale told about the history of our revolution which does not feature Mam’ Frene as one of the main protagonists, would be downright incomplete and demeaning of her contribution.
Her love of the country went beyond her political colours – which are clearly black, green and gold. She believed that the unity of the oppressed and the marginalised was paramount and sacrosanct. For that reason, she contributed immensely towards setting up the Women’s National Coalition, which drew its membership from all political affiliations. For her unwavering commitment, she was elected as a convener of the coalition.
This would eventually lead to the drafting of the Women’s
Charter whose preamble clearly resonates with that for which Dr Frene stood.
Let me, for the benefit of this sitting and all South Africans, remind us of the emphatic words contained in the preamble of the first draft of the Women’s Charter:
We, the women of South Africa, wives and mothers, working women and housewives, African, Indians, European and Coloured, hereby declare our aim of striving for the removal of all laws, regulations, conventions and customs that discriminate against us as women, and that deprive us in any way of our inherent right to the advantages, responsibilities and opportunities that society offers to any one section of the population.
I am particularly pleased that the sectoral Parliament under the stewardship of the Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Lucas and the Deputy Speaker, ntate Tsenoli, attaches a high premium of importance on the Women’s Charter. They have in their current term of Parliament instituted a review session of the Women’s Charter. In their quest to improve the lives of the women in our country, this review session has been rolled out to almost all provinces with a view to assessing the charter’s impact.
We need to escalate our support for this programme to cover all women, irrespective of where they could be found in honour of Dr Frene Ginwala, whose mission was to see them liberated. Let’s find them on the shop floor, in professional settings, and on the many farms where they do not have rights equal to their male counterparts, and get paid half of what men earn.
It cannot be that, so many years into our democracy, women continue to be the face of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
When we demanded accountability from the board and management of Eskom on the alleged utterances made by one of its executive members who is said to have branded women as possessing less intelligence than an M16 rifle, we had Mam’ Frene in mind. To give context to those who don’t understand: the M16 rifle is a standard issue shoulder weapon designed to fire small, high velocity rounds. Those with military experience will know that the calibre of a rifle will pale in comparison. For instance, the AK-47, which maintains its effectiveness even after being subjected to harsh conditions
We view such utterances with the same indignation as load shedding, as the one cannot be placed higher than the other. Both deserve to be eradicated and we shall do so to honour Mam’ Frene. We welcome the commitment made by the chairman of
the board of Eskom, Mr Makwana, to investigate the matter and report to the joint committee as expected. In doing so, he will have honoured the legacy of a colossal woman whose work will continue to outlive her.
Dr Frene was appointed as Speaker in the first democratic Parliament, but such accolades concealed years of suffering and persecution. She stared death in the face by challenging the apartheid state machinery and it was only fitting that she was placed at the helm of a House charged with the responsibility to repeal all apartheid laws as the uppermost responsibility of the first Parliament.
Up until Dr Ginwala’s appointment, Parliament had only male leaders, so her appointment was ground-breaking. It paved the way for other women leaders to come in and hold their own.
These women – Joyce Gwali, may her soul rest in peace, Mam’ Baleka Mbete, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, Naledi Pandor, Thandi Modise and now Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, to mention but a few – drew inspiration from her stellar work and have done well to steer the ship during their difficult tenures. All of them have also had the distinct honour of working alongside Mam’ Frene in the various missions which sought to state the case for the liberation of South Africans in general and women in particular. We see you and we honour you.
President Ramaphosa said:
Many of the rights and material benefits South Africans enjoy today have their origin in the legislative programme of the inaugural democratic Parliament under Dr Ginwala’s leadership.
Comrade Frene can be counted as part of a proud lineage of courageous women who have fought for the freedom of all in this country, men and women, black and white. Yet, despite significant progress, women are still underrepresented in positions of authority, responsibility and influence across some areas in public life. We will remember Dr Frene as a pioneer in fighting for the end of apartheid and the building of our democracy.
In conclusion, I want to borrow from the words of Albert Camus, who once said:
In the midst of winter, I find there was within me an invincible summer.
The passing of Mam’ Frene Ginwala may have thrust all of us into a season of winter, but I believe in the collective summer within all of us. Her family, friends and relatives should find solace in that hers was a race well run and a life
well lived. We will strive to emulate her example in our words and deeds.
Notwithstanding what Mother Teresa once said, and I quote:
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.
Robala ka kgotso, mme wa rona. (Translation of Sesotho sentence follows.)
[Rest in peace, our mother.]
Hamba kahle, Mbokodo. Lala ngoxolo ... (Translation of isiZulu sentence follows.)
[Farewell Mbokodo. May you rest in eternal peace ...]
... Madam Speaker. May her soul rest in eternal peace. I thank you.
Mr S N SWART: Hon Speaker, Chair, and colleagues, may I first take this opportunity on behalf of Rev Kenneth Meshoe, the Meshoe family and the ACDP, to express deep thanks and appreciation to all friends, church leaders, to you, Speaker, and to President Ramaphosa for the numerous messages received
following the very sad passing of Ma Lydia Meshoe last week. It is deeply appreciated and we thank you.
Hon Speaker, the ACDP would again like to express its deepest condolences to the Ginwala family and friends and to the ANC on the passing of Dr Ginwala. Dr Ginwala was born in 1932 and completed an LLB law degree at the University of London, qualified as a barrister and obtained a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University. She was elected as Speaker of the new Parliament after the 1994 elections. I was honoured to attend the opening of Parliament in 1994, unbeknownst to me that five years later I would be elected to Parliament.
For 10 years she helped to establish an institution that reflected the great diversity, the struggles, the aspirations, the coach and practices of all South Africans. She performed her role as Speaker with diligence, fairness and integrity and was always mindful that it was her responsibility to serve the people and to do everything within her means to advance their cause – a real servant leader.
An example was her determination to see that the smallest parties were entitled to be respected and heard in every debate. At that stage in 1999, the ACDP was the smallest party, but is now far bigger and still growing ... [Laughter.]
... in every portfolio committee and in every committee. ACDP
president Rev Kenneth Meshoe can attest to that fact. And today, 30 years later, this is perhaps Dr Ginwala’s greatest legacy - a multiparty democracy where every diverse voice is heard. I had the honour of serving for five years under her leadership as Speaker, from 1999 to 2004, and I can personally attest to a friendship and to these wonderful attributes that she showed.
On a lighter note, she was also an excellent boxing referee. Who will remember the fisticuffs between MPs Manie Schoeman and Johnny de Lange? Johnny de Lange retaliated so quickly that Manie ended up in the ANC in 2001. [Laughter.]
On a concluding note and what is important is that Dr Ginwala had a significant hand in drafting the statement that was made after that incident: The way parties manage their members and set values and codes of behaviour will inevitably be reflected in members’ conduct in Parliament. The levels of violence and disorder in our society are already very high. The manner in which the House conducts its business and the behaviour of members should not give credence to the view that ours is a society in which physical and verbal abuse are accepted norms, but should rather reinforce the founding values of democracy of which we are custodians. Again, the ACDP expresses its deepest condolences. May her soul rest in peace. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N L S KWANKWA: Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces and the Speaker of the National Assembly, on behalf of the UDM, I would like to take this opportunity to extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the Ginwala family and loved ones, as well as to her political party, the ANC.
Today we bid farewell to one of the stalwarts of our liberation struggle: a remarkable women’s rights activist whose strides can be traced back from being a member of the task force, which established the ANC Women’s League, and founder member of the Women’s National Coalition which united women across political, economic, social and religious spheres. Her aim was to empower women and thereby reduce the gender-powered inequalities.
To the Ginwala family, we share in your sadness as we remember the struggle stalwart who belongs to the generation of the titans that once, in Zizi’s words, “pulled us out of the abyss and placed us on a pedestal of hope on which we continue to rest”. This is the generation that looked beyond the debilitating threat of civil war during the struggle for freedom and kept our gaze on the prospect of glory and freedom.
Whatever the circumstances, however daunting the challenges may have been, they made sure that we looked forward to the
sunrise of our tomorrow. As the Speaker of our first democratically elected Parliament, she laid a solid foundation for our Parliament and our constitutional democracy.
As a result, in her memory and honour, we owe it to ensure that this Parliament does not serve as an institution that subverts checks and balances on the executive but rather ensures that we truly hold the executive to account.
Speaker Ginwala regrettably departs at a time when our nation is in dire need of leadership, when our people have had to endure all forms of avoidable hardships due to bad leadership and misrule, to the point where they at times seem to be surrendering to the inevitable night.
Speaker Ginwala, as you depart to join the many departed struggle icons, we hope that you will collectively continue to serve in a galaxy of stars that provides us with a guiding light in what appears to be a forbidding night.
In the poem, She Is Gone, David Harkins says:
You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she’s left
and try to preserve it
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
Our yesterday had struggle icons like Mama Frene Ginwala.
In conclusion, Maya Angelou in her poem When Great Trees Fall
says, and I quote:
And when great souls die after a period, peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be better. For they existed
Menze Thixo aphumle ngonaphakade, umkhanyisele ngokhanyiso olungacimiyo. (Translation of isiXhosa sentence follows.)
[God, make her rest eternally, and give her eternal light.]
Mr M R BARA: House Chairperson, I guess my brief might not have been correct because I heard some political statements being made. But I guess I will stick to the memory of Dr Frene Ginwala and leave the rest for the state of the nation address.
Members of the Ginwala family, hon Chairperson, hon Speaker, hon members, all dignitaries in attendances and fellow South Africans, good day. It is with great sadness, but also with great joy that I am able to address you today. There is great sadness at losing a pioneer in the political sphere, but there is great joy in knowing that the life of Dr Frene Ginwala has truly changed the lives of many South Africans, particularly the youth of our country. I have no doubt that she is and should be a role model to young and aspiring politicians, particularly women. She was a lifelong advocate of democracy well before she walked the corridors of Parliament, an academic through and through having been published on issues ranging from democracy, good governance, human rights, antiapartheid to human security.
The activist work of Dr Ginwala, particularly her published work, no doubt aided in the deinstitutionalisation of apartheid by bringing to light the plight of South Africans during apartheid and garnering international pressure. She served in the Constitutional Assembly and played an instrumental role in developing provisions on the role and independence of Parliament.
After 31 years in exile, Dr Ginwala was rightfully in a central role shaping the transition to democracy and playing a pivotal role in women’s rights in South Africa. She will be remembered as a pioneer of women’s rights. She was part of the inaugural press conference of the ANC Women’s League and involved in the development of the Women’s National Coalition with its aim of drawing up a Women’s Charter. This is a fight our women are still battling close to 30 years after the dawn of democracy, whether it be for equal representation or participation, or simply a battle to stay alive in this country where our women are murdered on a daily basis.
We are here today to celebrate Dr Ginwala who was elected and sworn in as the first democratic Speaker of the National Assembly in 1994 until 2004. Being the first Speaker in the new democratic dispensation no doubt came with numerous challenges as the new Parliament brought together public
representatives from very diverse political backgrounds and got them to work together for the betterment of South Africa.
Dr Ginwala commanded respect from Members of Parliament and the public during her tenure. In my opinion this is due to the fact that she had a strong commitment to the transparency and representative nature of government that garnered respect from allies and those in the opposition benches.
She used her position to truly shape this new institution of Parliament that reflects the entirety of South Africa, our true diversity and culture, and she shaped a political path that allows young democrats such as myself to walk the halls of Parliament with pride. Her influence was felt not only in South Africa, but in Africa as well as she played a leading role in crafting a protocol that led to the creation of the Pan-African Parliament. It is very rare that you find an individual that dedicates their lives to the people, and that is exactly what Dr Ginwala did. Whether trough her published work or her role as Speaker, she understood that it was her responsibility to serve the people, and we thank her for this selfless act.
Upon her departure from Parliament, Dr Ginwala became the first Chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, showing
her continued commitment to improving the lives of South Africans and to education in our country.
I would like to conclude by thanking the family of Dr Ginwala on behalf of all South Africans for allowing this strong woman to be part of our lives as well. We have to remember that having such a politically active life has an effect on family life and we want to thank you for allowing us the privilege.
We share your sorrow, but we also need to rejoice at the amazing work she achieved in her lifetime. We hope that your courageous spirit will guide us as we ponder solutions with the current challenging state we find ourselves in as a country.
Phumla ngoxolo gorhakazi. Wanga umphefumlo wakho ungaphumla ecaleni kwemisebenzi yakho. Maz’enethole. [Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[Rest in peace heroine. May your soul rest next to your achievements. Thank you. [Applause.]]
Mr B N HERRON: Speaker, it is an honour for me on behalf of Good to note our respect for the late Dr Frene Ginwala. When she called South Africa’s first democratically elected Parliament to order in 1994, following 350 years of colonialism and apartheid, she did so with a level of calm
authority, legitimacy and grace that instantly propelled the Office of the Speaker to the very centre of the country’s transformation process.
Her leadership and the establishment of a robust legislature and committee system that would go on to adopt a ground- breaking Constitution was critical to shaping our democracy.
Dr Ginwala’s appointment as Speaker was the culmination of a life of opposition to authoritarianism and injustice. For many years she had struggled for freedom, integrity and dignity for all South Africans. In 1994 she brought these struggles to Parliament. She brought them with her because she knew that a democratic election wasn’t the end point of the process, but a new beginning, a new canvas on which to paint a new picture of a South Africa that cared about all its people.
Every day that we do our work as parliamentarians, we honour Dr Ginwala because it was she who laid down our systems and rules. We must robustly defend the founding principles of our democracy and the integrity of our living Constitution. But if we are truly to honour Dr Ginwala, we must complete the business that she could not finish in her lifetime of dealing with the inequalities wrought by our past.
She exposed apartheid state violence during the 1976 insurrection and the murders and kidnappings of South Africans at the hands of the apartheid security forces. It is in our hands to ensure justice for those whose lives were lost by making sure that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s cases are prosecuted.
It is in our hands to review and update our reparations policy and spend the money accumulating in the President’s Fund. It is in our hands to continue the fight for spatial justice to address the legacy of skewed land ownership, segregated towns and cities and the neglect of rural communities.
By tackling these legacies of the past, we honour Dr Ginwala’s efforts to expose the injustices of the Group Areas Act and forced removals. Conversely, Madam Speaker, when we fail to do so, we subvert Dr Ginwala’s life’s efforts and many other former leaders of integrity. Thank you.
Mr N M HADEBE: Hon Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, hon Ministers and hon members, I did not have the privilege of meeting the iconic Dr Frene Ginwala. However, as greatly described by the IFP Chief Whip, she personified the essence of a fiercely independent-minded woman who would never sacrifice her principles on the altar of political expediency.
We are deeply grateful that we had Dr Ginwala as the first Speaker of South Africa’s democratic Parliament – for the contribution and dedication she extended towards South Africa and its democracy. The role of a Speaker is multi-faceted. The responsibilities are constitutional, statutory, procedural and administrative.
A speaker is an enabler of debate, a protector of the rights of the public and enables public representatives to hold the executive to account. She embodied the full expression of these responsibilities and left an example for all those who follow, setting the standard to never lose sight of our primary goal, which is to serve the people of our country to the best of our abilities.
The IFP would like to extend our sincere condolences to the Ginwala family, her friends and colleagues, as well as to all her comrades in the ANC. May we all remember her as we try to lead our country to prosperity - more so, her character and teachings.
She committed her life to serving South Africans in various capacities. She was a trailblazer and pioneer for women in both politics and academia. As the first appointed Chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, she broke barriers and opened doors for women to not only follow in her footsteps but
also to make their mark as leaders in our country. Her devotion to constitutional democracy began with the drafting of South Africa's Constitution and has never wavered, as she has stood for justice and truth, even in the face of political pressure.
As the IFP, we wish to acknowledge her life and the remarkable legacy she leaves behind. May her soul rest in perfect peace. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Thank you, hon Chairperson. Let me acknowledge and welcome the Deputy Speaker. I think that it is long overdue that you came back, sir. Thank you very much. Let me also acknowledge the presence of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and hon members in this House. Whether you say Frene Ginwala or Frene Ginwala, there is only one ma or mother Frene. I think we often tend to forget about the sacrifices many of our freedom fighters made so that we could enjoy the fruits of those sacrifices and the freedom we have today.
To the ANC, it was mama Frene Ginwala who set your first offices outside the borders of South Africa. It was mama Frene Ginwala who was called upon to provide an escape route for our former leader, Oliver Reginald Tambo. These are just some of the sacrifices that some of our leaders have made.
Now, hon Speaker or let me rather say, Madam Speaker, so that I don’t make mistakes, in order to pay tribute to our late mother, the befitting thing to do in this particular honourable House is to bring back the dignity that she set here in 1994. [Applause.] What we have today is clearly not the vision that mama Frene Ginwala and many of our other leaders had when they fought for our freedom in this country. So yes, I can stand here all day and all night and attempt to say a lot of things, but the fact is that I will not be able to do justice to the role that our former leader, Frene Ginwala, played so that we today can enjoy the fruits of that freedom.
However, having said that, I think that one of the examples that she learnt and that she raised time and time again was that we are different when it comes to religion and culture, but in the interest of the country we must all come together. If there is one thing that we need to take from here then it is that advice and guidance of hers. We are all South Africans. We need to come together despite our differences, in order to honour mama Frene Ginwala for the role that she and all our leaders that have left us played.
To the family of Frene Ginwala, on behalf of the NFP we want to extend our condolences. Thank you for giving her to us.
Yes, she made great sacrifices, even in her personal life. Our
condolences to the ANC. Indeed, you have lost a great and an inspirational leader. [Applause.]
Dr M S MOTSHEKGA: Hon Speaker, hon Chair of the NCOP, the family of Comrade Ginwala and distinguished members of this august House, it is a great pleasure and honour for us in the ANC to pay tribute to a distinguished companion of O R Tambo.
There were three main pillars of the African struggle for national liberation as our icon Walter Sisulu defined it. It was mass mobilisation, the underground and the international pillar. Comrade Frene Ginwala was one of the master architects of the international pillar of our struggle. Comrade Frene can also be defined as a companion of O R Tambo, par excellence.
In Bemba language, umkhalisani [a fellow].
Following the banning of the ANC in 1960, the underground ANC leadership sent Comrade Frene Ginwala into exile to prepare for the establishment of the international pillar of our struggle. Comrade Frene was cut out for this task. She grew up in a passive family in Johannesburg that had business interests in Mozambique. She completed her law degree at the University of London and then completed a Doctor of Philosophy, PhD, in Philosophy at Oxford University. However, instead of pursuing a career in the UK, she moved to East Africa to assist ANC members escaping the crackdowns that
followed the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960. One of the first persons she assisted was O R Tambo himself who had been sent underground by the ANC to establish the ANC’s external mission outside.
Comrade Frene could be defined as one of the outstanding female companions of Comrade O R. She worked closely with O R for many years. Comrade Frene worked as a journalist and a broadcaster in Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania. She was the managing editor of the Standard and Sunday News in Tanzania. There she founded an edited spearhead, a monthly journal highlighting the liberation struggle. The name of the journal referred to the spear of the nation, uMkhonto weSizwe.
During her time in exile, as an intellectually polished political activist Comrade Frene wrote extensively on the subject of sanctions. She relied on international law to make a case for sanctions against the apartheid regime and also the responsibility of the democratic world towards the victims of inhuman apartheid policies.
As a highly respected, forceful and independent-minded person, Comrade Frene never ceased to drive home to the overwhelming male ANC leadership the extent to which the creativity and wisdom of women members was being suppressed by traditional sexist expectations and behaviour. Comrade Frene demonstrated
the creativity and wisdom of women in 1960 when O R was instructed to leave South Africa to mobilise international support to bring down the apartheid regime. At that time, Botswana and Zimbabwe were under British colonial rule and the British colonial administrators were unsympathetic to the struggle of the African people.
On 22 March 1960, the day after the Sharpeville Massacre, O R was instructed to travel to Tanzania to establish the ANC’s mission in exile. He had to travel through these two British territories where he ran the risk of being kidnapped by apartheid agents or deported by British colonial officials in Botswana. From Botswana, O R still had to cross more than
2 000 kilometres of colonial territory to reach Tanzania. He met up with Yusuf Dadoo and a journalist named Segal. It was the creativity and wisdom of Frene Ginwala that made it possible for O R and his companions to reach Dar es Salaam.
After the Kabwe conference, Frene Ginwala was not appointed to the constitutional committee. When the Department of Legal and Constitutional Affairs was established, Frene Ginwala was not appointed. This means that Frene Ginwala was not a careerist. She continued to work for the organisation. Together with the likes of Johnny Makhathini, they were able to organise the conference in Arusha in Tanzania, called the world united against apartheid. Again, Frene, working with the likes of
Father Trevor Huddleston and O R himself, was able to organise a conference in Harare in 1987 meant to be on women and children under apartheid.
When we dealt with developing the constitutional guidelines for a democratic South Africa, Frene made sure that the rights of women and children were top of the agenda. From the conference in Harare, working with the likes of mama Albertina Sisulu and Sister Bernard Ncube, she ensured that in this country for the first time we had what we called the National Committee on Children’s Rights. The rights of women and children that we talk about in this Parliament would not have been there if Frene had not worked underground and after the unbanning to ensure that at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa, Codesa, the rights of women and children were placed high on the agenda.
If we were to honour Comrade Frene, I would say that all the parliamentary constituency offices must go and establish committees on women and children, and revive what we used to call community law centres and community–based advice centres
... [Applause.] ... so that we do not rely on the state machinery to combat gender-based violence and femicide. We need to mobilise our people to defend themselves, because as O R taught us, the people are their own liberators. We can’t rely on the police and give an additional job description to
Comrade Cele. He has enough work to do. The people must be empowered to go and defend themselves. That is possible. That is what Comrade Frene has left for us.
The work that she did made it possible that today we have powerful South African women lawyers. These lawyers are now swelling the ranks in the executive, in Parliament, in business and everywhere. So, I have no doubt that the young women that are here and who are the products of the good work of Comrade Frene Ginwala, will carry on with the work that she did. On behalf of the ANC, I thank you for the opportunity to talk to you. [Applause.]
Mr S M JAFTA: Hon Chairperson, it is really a great honour to be one of many South Africans celebrating the life of Dr Frene Ginwala. She is known for her gallant commitment to the struggle against apartheid and gender inequality. She tore the apartheid regime and its architecture apart.
In her term as the Speaker of Parliament from 1994 until 2004, she was part of the democratic Parliament which passed many transformative laws. These include the Child Care Amendment Act passed in 1996, the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act which was also passed in 1996 and the Public Finance Management Act passed in 1999. This also includes the Division of Revenue Act, among many other legislative reforms which
were aimed at transforming the social, financial, crime policing and economic architecture of South African politics.
This illustrious contribution to the project of reconstructing a constitutional democracy is unmatched. It is in this regard that the country is not only mourning her loss but also celebrating her colossal life. Her commitment to the struggle of women came alive on many occasions, such as when she formed part of the working group which led to the formation of the ANC Women’s League.
She also played a critical role in setting up the Women’s National Coalition as its national convener. She represented women in the diaspora in our country and abroad with sterling leadership. Sadly, this selfless leadership is missing in South Africa’s body politic. Servant leadership has long left our national consciousness.
We bid farewell to this selfless giant. Finally, we thank her family for allowing and supporting her to serve South Africans. Thank you. [Applause.]
Nk S A LUTHULI: Sihlalo, umuntu akabingelele kubabukeli emakhaya, abingelele emndenini kaDokotela u-Frene Ginwala, abingelele nama ... (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[Ms S A LUTHULI: Chairperson, let me greet the viewers at home, the family of Dr Frene Ginwala and the ...]
... ground forces of the EFF. The first Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Frene Ginwala, demonstrated how someone can leave an inspiring legacy of love, sacrifice and perseverance. Dr Frene dedicated her life to compassion and equality, to liberate our people and to advocate for women’s rights. Despite how modest she was about her achievements, our memories of Speaker Frene Ginwala resonates strongly because hers is a life story that causes us to reflect on South Africa’s history and this Parliament, and it inspires people, even today.
Dr Frene will be remembered for the important role she played in women’s liberation. She will be remembered as a fierce feminist who championed the struggle against patriarchy, guided by her deep faith to engage the world around her and to act as an agent of change.
Her persistence in the face of the apartheid regime is a story of an extraordinary woman, which is why today we connect with Dr Frene because of her liberation efforts, as her life story
... [Inaudible.] ... bravery and faith.
Today we remember her efforts in spreading awareness throughout the world of the violation of human rights and dignity committed by the apartheid government against black people. Dr Frene remains a representative of ...
... ubuqhawe nobuqhawekazi ... (Translation of isiZulu sentence follows.)
[... heroism and heroine ...]
... and came to symbolise extraordinary leadership in the face of overwhelming odds. We shall remember her commitment to freedom and her commitment to advancing the ideals ...
... ebekwe uMthethosisekelo. (Translation of isiZulu sentence follows.)
[... that are enshrined in the Constitution.]
In Parliament as a Speaker of our National Assembly, she ruled with a firm and fair hand and was instrumental in establishing training programmes for women in Parliament. Dr Frene was instrumental in the development of Parliament during the first
10 years of democracy, especially in relation to oversight matters and the effective running of committees. She ruled with dignity and commanded the respect of all Members of
Parliament and the public. She interpreted the rules of this House impartially and did not only represent the views of the ruling party ...
... njengabanye abantu esibabonayo. (Translation of isiZulu sentence follows.)
[... like some other people we have seen.]
She maintained order and defended the rights of privilege of all members without exception, including the right to freedom of expression.
Siyazi ukuthi anikwazi lokho. (Translation of isiZulu sentence follows.)
[We know that you have no clue about it.]
Dr Frene’s leadership style differed to that of the current Speaker which we have been subjected to as this House. This House has in recent years degenerated into this toothless House which only serves to rubber-stamp decisions made by the ANC. This House lacks accountability and fails to scrutinise actions taken by the ruling party; a failure that was noted by the state capture commission. The executive is hardly held accountable for their destructive actions and the role which
they continue to play is pushing the country into becoming a failed state.
The Constitution gives Parliament ... ANC, listen to this. The Constitution gives Parliament the authority and the obligation to oversee the exercise of public power and to hold the executive to account. Yet Members of Parliament come to this House and waste their time, and do not fulfil the constitutional mandate of representing the interests of the public.
This House is on its knees and has abandoned the rule of being a watchdog. There exists a decline of decorum in this House which is a direct cause of the inability of the Speaker to rule Parliament in a neutral and impartial manner. Parliament is factional and is biased towards the ruling party. It has a clear agenda to suppress opposition parties so as to protect its President and his useless and directionless Ministers ... and borders, and squanders state resources. Parliament uses force and physical assaults against members during parliamentary sittings in order to protect the ruling party.
It also mutes Members of Parliament on the virtual platform without just cause.
Parliament has become but an extension of Luthuli House as political needs often ... [Inaudible.] ... those of the
people. Unless this is corrected, this House shall be reduced to nothing more than producing corrupt, excessive spending members.
Nosiviwe Nqakula rules this House with an iron fist ... [Interjections.] ... whenever opposition parties pose questions in the ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order hon members! Order members! To heckle a bit is not a problem but to drown the speaker represents a particular challenge. So I urge you to please ... Yes, hon members, let’s have a bit of order please. Proceed.
Ms S A LUTHULI: I repeat, Nosiviwe Nqakula rules this House
... [Interjections.] ... with an iron fist whenever opposition parties pose questions to the President and the ruling party. Her conduct and leadership style stands in sharp contrast to Dr Frene. Dr Frene Ginwala was a fighter.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I see there is a point of order there. Hon Radebe?
Mr B A RADEBE: Hon Chairperson of the Council, I think that from the side of the presidium there must be a ruling to respect the dignity of this occasion. I don’t think that this is the time to antagonise other people. We are here to respect the memory of a revolutionary. So she cannot just cast
aspersions around in the way she is doing. And, we cannot call each other on first name terms, Chair.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you very much. I’m sure that the member knows that you can’t just refer to members on a first name basis, but equally hon members, as I plead for progress and for movement forward, let’s ensure that heckling is kept to a minimum. Thank you very much. Please proceed.
Ms S A LUTHULI: Chairperson, I know that when one touches a nerve you hear people ...
... bebanga umsindo. (Translation of isiZulu sentence follows.)
[... making noise.]
As I was saying, Nosiviwe Nqakula rules this House with ... [Interjections.] ...
... isandla sensimbi ... (Translation of isiZulu sentence follows.)
[... an iron fist ...]
... whenever opposition parties pose questions to the President and the ruling party.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Naledi Pandor, on what point are you rising?
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: Hon
Chairperson, I rise in terms of the rules which are very clear. In this House — I don’t know whether in the other House that the hon member comes from — we address hon members as hon members. The hon member on the podium has referred disrespectfully to the Speaker of the National Assembly.
Chairperson, we would not refer to you in that way and we would ask you to ask the hon member who is speaking to respect the rules of the House of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces as well as our presiding officer, the hon Madam Speaker.
Asibangi umsindo ... (Translation of isiZulu sentence follows.)
[We don’t make noise ...]
... I wish to remind the member. We are saying that in terms of the rules you are not following the rules. I thank you, Chairperson.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Luthuli, I’m sure you know this. You can’t just refer to a member by name. Members are hon members and it’s standard. So, I am really appealing to you to desist from doing those things that are not in keeping with the rules.
Ms S A LUTHULI: As I was saying, hon Nosiviwe rules this House
... [Interjections.] What do you want now? ... rules this House with an iron fist whenever opposition parties pose key questions to the President and the ruling party. Her conduct and leadership style stands in sharp contrast to Dr Frene’s.
Dr Ginwala was a fighter and her legacy will echo throughout the ages. We shall remember her aspiration of economic ...
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: Chair, on a point of order. Chair, on a point of order.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, I think that inside and outside of this House we have to really ensure that the decorum of the House is not undermined. We can’t repeat the same thing over and over again, having been urged by the presiding officers to toe the line and to comply.
Hon member, can you please move ... [Inaudible.] ... as we move towards closing because your time is really being eaten away by things other than the business that is in front of the House. So I urge you to move towards concluding your speech please.
Ms E N NTLANGWINI: I rise on a point of order, Chair. On a point of order. Chairperson, you are not ... You are biased in your approach because our members are being howled at. I was howled at earlier on and you never ruled. They are doing that continuously.
Secondly, we are not going to be told by any person whatsoever how to do our condolences, and which sentence to write and which sentence they don’t feel comfortable with. We are going to use this time because this is our time by the EFF given by the EFF. So allow our members to say whatever they need to say within their speeches. If they are going to be micromanaged from Rupert’s farm, it’s their own indaba, but allow us ...
She must read what is said there by the Winnie Mandela house in Johannesburg. Thank you.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon member, you are now abusing freedom of speech and delivering a long-winded speech that really has nothing to do with the matter in front of us. As presiding officers, we have a responsibility to be impartial,
but impartiality does not mean that members can stand up at any point in time and say whatever they want to say in a manner that is not sensitive to and in keeping with how the business of the House ought to be run. Hon member, please desist from doing what you have been doing.
Ms S A LUTHULI: Chairperson, Dr Ginwala was a fighter and her legacy will echo throughout the ages. Ekskuus [Excuse me.] We shall remember her aspiration of economic transformation and her insistence on women being represented in positions of political power. Hers was a remarkable life which offers lessons to all of us today. Her name will remain forever memorialised in this House and in our hearts.
Siyi-EFF, sithi, lala kahle. Uhambe kahle. Ulale ngoxolo, comrade Frene kodwa ... (Translation of isiZulu sentence follows.)
[We are saying as the EFF, farewell. May you rest in eternal peace comrade Frene but ...]
... Chairperson, respect is earned; it is not forced. Thank you.
Mr M NYHONTSO: Hon Chairperson, Dr Frene Ginwala conducted her duties as Speaker of Parliament with the highest distinction
and moral standards, to give respectability to a forum of political debate, whose mandate is to question the wrongdoing of the executive. Ginwala was a pioneer in the initial steps of a historic phase, when the new political dispensation began in 1994. She brought dignity, fairness and high discipline to the conduct of the business of the National Assembly.
World-renowned author, Alice Walker could as well be talking about the life of Dr Frene Ginwala when she said:
A womanist is one who unites women of emerging nations from the peripheries of the world, with the centre of feminist women at the intersection of race, class and gender oppression.
Walker further clarified that a womanist is a black feminist. These are women who are deeply committed to the wholeness and wellbeing of all humanity, male and female.
Before assuming the position of the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Ginwala spent her life in the struggle against apartheid and settler colonialism. She did not want glory bestowed on her because she understood how intricate and sometimes fragile the struggle itself was. She emphasised attention to detail and that all activities were linked to each other at the long turn
of events to come to the ultimate freedom and national liberation that we all desire to achieve.
The PAC of Azania understands Dr Frene Ginwala’s entire devotion to the cause of gender parity and the emancipation of women on a worldwide basis. She overcame bias and sectarianism.
It is only the misguided and myopic who would find fault with Dr Ginwala during her term as Speaker of Parliament. Dr Ginwala, like the late Mam’Nomvo Booi, Elizabeth Zibekwe and Zondeni Sobukwe and others, fits amongst the plenty of mothers of the nation, who contributed immensely to the struggle for national liberation.
We take off our hats to her memory. May her soul rest in peace. Thank you. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON OF THE COUNCIL (Ms S E Lucas): Hon
Chairperson, hon Speaker, hon Deputy Speaker and family members of Dr Ginwala that is present here today at this very important Joint Sitting. Madam Speaker and hon Chairperson, for me it is, indeed, an honour to be able to reflect on the life and times of the late founding Speaker of our democratic Parliament, Dr Frene Ginwala. The year 2023 marks 28 years since the inception of our constitutional democracy as we
reflect on the importance of this turning point in history as accompanied by the founding provisions of South Africa’s interim Constitution, it is imperative to recognise the immeasurable contribution that was made by trailblazers such as Dr Ginwala. Our democratic parliamentary dispensation was, indeed, shaped by a leadership ethos and the character which has fought over decades of struggle for the attainment of freedom and democracy in South Africa. We appropriately pay tribute to a legacy in recognition of the selfless leader she was and the extraordinary contribution that she made in the history of our country charting a course for many of us to follow. Therefore, I must say that some of us must really rise to the occasion and forget about our personal political interests. [Applause.] Hon members, Dr Ginwala was a true activist or a well-rounded cadre and she was also very instrumental in establishing the ANC’s international presence. She worked in Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique the United Kingdom, you name it, as an ANC official, and as a journalist and a broadcaster in East Africa and Europe.
I will focus on certain of the attributes of Dr Ginwala because they’re so many, and you can really not in one speech cover everything that she tried to do. That is why I say that a well-rounded cadre, someone that could do anything to make sure that she contributes to the freedom of our people. Prior to her return from exile in 1999, Dr Ginwala, as many have
said before, was head of the political research unit in the office of the ANC president, Comrade Oliver Tambo, and she was well-published on issues of democracy, good governance, human rights and human security. History also reminds us that after an absence of 31 years she returned in 1990, when the ANC was unbanned. As we already know by now she became the first Speaker of the National Assembly in 1994, establishing Parliament as a democratic institution and providing the impartiality, integrity and authority required to preside over the establishment of a new democratic order through the necessary legislative provisions to transform and unite a divided nation, as we so clearly heard from people like the Minister of International Relations who spoke so fondly of the years that they worked together.
She presided over the adoption of a series of defining and transformative legislative instruments which were critical for establishing democracy and equality in South Africa thereby giving concrete expression to the mandate of Parliament. She led this very critical process of repealing apartheid laws which significantly strengthened efforts towards nation- building in our country. Through her work as a Speaker, she also introduced the concept of an open Parliament with open plenaries and committee meetings thereby establishing democratic systems of openness, transparency and public participation which stood in direct contrast to the
exclusionary system that we had before. To illustrate how committed she was to establishing an open Parliament, let us recall an interview that she conducted with Daniel Lieberfeld about the concept of an open Parliament, where she articulated clearly the importance of an open Parliament stating as follows, and I quote:
I want people to know that Parliament is open to them, that it’s not a citadel on the hill for the gods to play around in.
She rolled out programmes of public education and numerous initiatives aimed at improving public involvement and participation which are all critical aspects of a participatory democracy. These systems and progressive ideas that she championed have shaped the manner in which we approach our sectoral responsibilities as hon Nyambi has mentioned. The Deputy Speaker and I are responsible for sectoral Parliaments and other sectoral initiatives. As we strive to create public participation platforms for all sectors of society, indeed, today public participation stands as one of the key pillars of our democratic Parliament and we must pay appropriate tribute to the champions of this important pillar of our parliamentary democracy in recognition of the systems as established under Dr Ginwala’s leadership.
We must also recognise Dr Ginwala as a genuine Pan-Africanist as she was the prime mover behind the formation of the Pan- African Parliament. This also speaks of a legacy in advancing Pan-Africanist principles and ideals for the benefit of all Africans through the legislative houses across the continent. As we reflect on her legacy in the legislative environment, it is also imperative that we remember her contribution towards advancing gender equality not only in the ANC but also in the impact of a feminist ideas on South Africa’s constitutional and legislative landscape. She was an important voice championing the struggle against patriarchy and the oppression of women, which is a phenomenon that slightly still affect the status of women in South Africa today. Her work in championing the struggle against patriarchy began when she was in exile when she worked with the ANC women section to ensure that ANC principles include nonsexism. It was a long and conflictual process but, by the mid-1980s, and all ANC documents carried the commitment to a nonracial and nonsexist democracy.
It is also important to emphasise that this was so much more than a linguistic shift. It enables feminist within the ANC and women to demand that the commitment to advance nonracial and nonsexist democracy be followed through in programmes and policies of the country. She also set up the ANC Emancipation Commission in 1991, which was dedicated to advancing gender equality and combating sexism in the movement. Although it was
never intended to compete with the women’s league, it did have strategic status that was ensured by placing it under the authority of the then ANC President Oliver Reginald Tambo.
This was a strategic base from which Ginwala could drive the demand for gender equality in support of the women’s league’s efforts and endeavours, during the multiparty negotiations to end apartheid when it became apparent the gender concerns would sink to the bottom of the list of priorities.
She led the process of forming an independent women’s organisation, the Women’s National Coalition that would unite women across political parties and ideological alliance. She described it as a conspiracy and I quote: In fact, as a conspiracy of women, the central aim of the Women’s National Coalition was to draw up a Women’s Charter while reflecting on the divisions of the first charter which was developed in tandem with the Freedom Charter. She was subsequently elected national convener of the coalition where she demonstrated the robust leadership in ensuring that women’s issues are appropriately considered as part of South Africa’s transitional arrangements. The Women’s National Coalition had two key demands which included the inclusion of women in all decision-making processes regarding the shape of the post- apartheid state and Constitution and bringing an end to violence against women. Many content that she knew that the transition process offered an important window of opportunity
to insert feminist principles into the new state, but she also understood that the window of time was fleeting. This made her very impatient at times with other leaders who wanted to build a coalition from the bottom up. She was concerned that the often slow consultative process would mean that the charter that would not be ready to be included alongside the Bill of Rights in the Constitution and at the moment for greatest impact would lapse without any long-term gains being made for women.
Although the charter was only adopted after the main constitutional debates or concluded the coalition ensured that gender equality was firmly embedded in the country’s final 1996 Constitution. We should, therefore, recognise the critical provisions around key concepts of equality as embedded in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution which locates women as equal across the broader development spectrum in South Africa. We must also recognise her immense contribution, particularly in ensuring that the formation of our understanding of the concept of transformative constitutionalism to fundamentally also include gender provisions. The concept of transformative constitutionalism with its founding tenets of shaping a constitutional framework to transform the lives of the dejected and oppressed importantly also includes a significant recognition that women’s rights also form part and parcel of the key thematic
issues for discussion in South Africa’s transitional arrangements and the country’s development landscape.
Dr Ginwala was also passionately concerned about economic transformation, particularly as it impacted women’s economic status in South Africa. She, therefore, proceeded to set up numerous study sessions on issues such as unpaid care and how women’s contribution are often not properly remunerated despite the hard work and industrious efforts. She also wrote a hard-hitting challenge to the 50 male economists who crafted the ANC’s key economic policies as it took power. Given the current state of our economy and the status of women, as though still disproportionately excluded from participating in the economy, it is imperative that we carry on the work that she started by ensuring that the economic policies and legislative instruments in our country are appropriately amended to clearly articulate women’s access to economic activity across all economic sectors.
In conversations and seminars amongst them Dr Ginwala was insistent that political representation was only a lever for feminism and not its end goal. We still have much to do to positively transform the status of women in South Africa.
Sadly, the same issues that Dr Ginwala and the peers so passionately fought against are still challenges that women in South Africa are facing today. Issues of gender-based violence
and femicide have deepened, resulting in an ongoing low- intensity war against women in this country. Women’s economic status in South Africa is still a cause for serious concern as the majority of women are still economically excluded, while black African women still form the majority of the poor, unemployed and socially marginalised. It is, therefore, no coincidence that the Women’s Parliament of 2019, took a decision to review the 1994 Women’s Charter for effective equality.
In order to assess progress made in implementing the provisions of the charter, this process was undertaken by Parliament. It followed in the footsteps of Dr Ginwala and the peers who recognised that the shifting political landscape necessitated that women organise themselves across party political lines to ensure that women’s rights are effectively built into the systems, policies and legislative framework of our growing democracy. Joo! I’m so afraid Chairperson will say your time is up and I’ve got so much to say. So, how do we honour her legacy? The question that we ought to answer is how we honour the enduring legacy of this South African giant.
Some proposals that I want to make is that we jointly consider amending the Money Bills and Related Matters Act in order to ensure the gender responsive planning and budgeting becomes mandatory when considering and passing our national budget.
The status of women will significantly improve if we can
ensure that the budget is not passed without considering gender implications.
This will ensure that women receive an equitable allocation of the national budget while ensuring that the provision of services are provided in a very gender responsive manner. We must employ every effort to institutionalise the precepts of equality across all sectors of society and reposition them as key tenets of the sociopolitical and economic fabric of our society. We need to further forge a social compact and resolute commitment to re-engineer systematic and institutional arrangements across the three spheres of government to enable gender-sensitive and good governance practices, policy redesign, planning, budgeting and implementation practices.
We also have to inculcate poverty-mapping perspective in our gender-responsive planning and budgeting process and ensure that it is institutionalised as imperative for planning.
Parliament through its committees ... I told you that. However, in conclusion, let me just say that Dr Ginwala did not die but she multiplied. Let more of us work together as leaders in our contribution towards building a united prosperous and equal South Africa. May her revolutionary soul rest in peace and rise in glory.
Ke a leboga. [Thank you.]
Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Baie dankie. (Translation of Afrikaans sentence follows.)
[Thank you very much.]
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: As-salaamu-alai-kum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu. (Translation of Islamic sentence follows.)
[Peace be with you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.]
Chair, a befitting tribute to Comrade Frene would be to recognise and practice the concept of a national integrity system which she described as fundamental to the development of an anticorruption discourse.
We will do justice to our great legacy to have strong and determined leadership that would lead by example. An example from top levels of political power.
I start by quoting Comrade Frene:
One cannot expect integrity from others unless leaders conform to the highest ethical standards.
On behalf of Al Jama-ah I extend our sincere condolences to the family, friends and the ANC on the loss of Dr Frene Ginwala. A struggle veteran who not only fought for justice but also passionate in a fight against corruption.
Comrade Frene continued to remind the government of the importance of the national integrity system, which was formed to fight corruption. At the 3rd National Anticorruption Summit in 2008, she said the following:
That our constitutional values and institutional arrangement should be the basis of the SA National Integrity System.
A year later she expressed her disappointment at the failure of National Anticorruption Forum to produce an annual report and a follow-up workshop.
Inspired by Frene G, Al Jama-ah is leading political parties with the numbers in the City of Johannesburg. [Applause.] Al Jama-ah is no one’s pawn. Al Jama-ah will throw our weight behind a kid from Soweto. This is the new Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, his worship Alderman Abu Bakar Thapelo Amad, well-groomed for this position for a decade. [Interjections.]
I was a kid from District Six, groomed by my mother. So, as leaders who were kids in our townships’ struggles like Soweto and District Six, we will govern.
This good governance is our tribute to Frene G. The legacy we are building is a legacy for Frene G.
I recognise the daughter-in-law of Chief Albert Mvumbi Luthuli, Queen Nkomo of the Nama Royal House, and Amir Gamieldien, leader of the National Shura Council, the national African leaders of the Muslim community, all came to pay tribute to Frene G and we will leave that legacy behind. Thank you very much, hon Chairperson. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
Dr A LOTRIET: Hon Speaker, hon Chairperson, not many have the opportunity to be part of the making of history. Even fewer, have the opportunity to be present at the seminal point between a country’s history and its future, and only a select few can use that point and opportunity to determine the future of a country and its people.
The position of Speaker in the newly-democratically-elected National Assembly in 1994 was of critical importance. It would determine the success of a new Parliament. It would set the tone. It would give direction and guidance to this new configuration. A daunting task and responsibility. So much
depended on that moment, when the newly-elected Speaker would preside over the Assembly. The person to be elected had to be someone with gravitas, intelligence, skill, patience, and the ability to navigate an unfamiliar and uncertain process with unique dynamics.
It was indeed a blessing that the new Speaker of the National Assembly, was someone of a calibre of Dr Frene Ginwala, a lawyer, a journalist, a politician, and academic. Although she had no prior experience of being a Speaker, she displayed a deep understanding and appreciation of the office. Previous speakers today have spoken about Dr Ginwala’s vast experience and contributions, specifically in the field of gender equality, where she made her voice heard and her actions tangible.
But in addition to this, I want to pay tribute to her legacy as Speaker of the National Assembly. In Cannon’s Concise Guide to Rules of Order, he states that:
To become an affective Chair ...
and we can read in Speaker -
... the individual must establish goodwill, respect and trust between the Chair and the Assembly.
Now to my great regret, I never had the opportunity to experience Dr Ginwala as Speaker. But by judging from what the former Members of Parliament have said, it seems clear that Dr Ginwala was the embodiment of requirements as set out by Cannon. She has been described as someone with brains and presence, as well as impressive qualifications. And what stood out was that she respected each and every party, regardless of their size.
As former DA Chief Whip, Douglas Gibson said:
She was determined to see to it that the smallest parties were entitled to be respected and heard in every debate, in every portfolio committee, and every other committee.
She exuded authority and dignity. That respect also resulted in members of all parties respecting her in return. She was also however known for her sterling work, her determination, but above all, for firmness combined with fairness.
Dr Ginwala’s legacy will be based on that moment in history in 1994, when she held the future wellbeing and effectiveness of the National Assembly, Parliament, and by extension, the country in her hand. At that moment, which could determine the future direction of our Parliament, she rose to the occasion, navigated the complexities of a new democracy, and blazed the
trail for the rest to follow. We – our Parliament, presiding officers and members - should honour this legacy. I thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: The Speaker of
the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces. Hon members, it would be fitting, and it would be right, to look up to that green blouse in the gallery, to remember that some of us wore that blouse because Frene Ginwala was around ... [Applause.] ... to remember that in her struggle, not only as a descendant of a people who were colonised - and no colonised people asked to be colonised, we never invited colonisers – not only that, a descendant from a colonised people who were then trafficked and brought to South Africa as cheap labourers.
This is the woman whose descendants were not able to stay in certain parts of this country - Just for the younger ones, Indians were not allowed to stay in the Free State at a particular point in the history of this country - This is the woman who not only became an activist, a feminist, a lawyer, but an agent provocateur for the people, a planner of missions for the people, a nurturer and a mother even though she was childless, for those of my age who joined the ANC. This is the woman who never reminded us of what contribution she gave to the people of South Africa. This was the woman who was chosen
at the tipping scales, when this country was going forward, when we did not know, even after the long, but not so long discussions, talks, and negotiations of whether this country would hold.
This is the woman who was given the responsibility to be the first Speaker of a democratically-elected National Assembly of South Africa. This is the woman who led the House under the Government of National Unity with the first Deputy Speaker of this country at that point being Ntate Ranchod. We never picked up any tensions between Ranchod and the Speaker. We had a relationship of the presiding officers, which led.
This is the woman who pushed those of us who were younger than her – I don’t know about you Ausi Naledi, but I was pushed into Rules, and into finance because as she went through my background, she realised I had read some of those things. This is the woman who – as I said – had issues with her background, but was motherly enough to know that unless you push and push for women, nothing is going to happen.
The ANC’s women section at a particular point convened all women from all political hues of this country in Amsterdam in 1989 to the Malibongwe Conference. It is in that conference that we did not see many of our white counterparts, but saw many of our black counterparts under the flag of the then
National Party. It is at that particular state when some of us were fresh from jail and were agitative for war because we had been hurt, we had been tortured, we had not seen our children, we had been stripped of all humanity, and we had given birth under the glare of little boys who had been taught to be police.
This is the woman who, when we arrived at Malibongwe furious, calmed us down and organised counselling for us because she thought that angry people would not be able to deliver a stable South Africa. [Applause.] This is the woman who helped us marshal ... because of our hatred of the SA Defence Force and the police then, and said you shall have something that is pro-people, that resides with people, and does not have the same aggressive stance against its own people. Therefore, we must have a police, and that is why we came out, Minister Cele. It was at the Malibongwe Conference where we firmed up the ANC position to have a police service in this country. [Applause.] It was at that conference where we looked at the armed forces and said we were never again going to allow the soldiers to kill their own.
It was a Frene Ginwala who became the Speaker, who had to set up the first committees of this House. It was a Frene Ginwala who was called in from time to time when a Thandi Modise in the Joint Standing Committee of Defence or Tony Yengeni in the
Joint Standing Committee of Defence took on the likes of General Meiring because we did not agree. It was a Frene Ginwala who – if you remember, we were a beautiful model of all hues in Parliament at that point, from all the extremes, from the Bantustans, and from the progressive, we were there – said, I am a Speaker who shall have a programme which will reflect the voice of the people. It was a Frene Ginwala who dealt with the arms deal fallout. Very quietly and very calmly, set up a mechanism which did not have this Parliament falling apart, which reasonably got access to that report and read.
It was again a Frene Ginwala who was the Speaker of the National Assembly who dealt with the Meiring report and its possible fallout ...
... en wie die leisels van die land in haar hande gehou het
... (Translation of Afrikaans sentence follows.)
[... and who held the reins of the country in her hands ...]
... and did not allow us to deteriorate to the point where that report was trying to push us to. It was a Frene Ginwala who helped the two Houses, especially the National Council of Provinces to become what it is from the old House. It is under her leadership as the head of the third arm of state, where
the recommendations were made to relook at the current NCOP, to relook at its representivity, its size, and its ability to deal with all the issues of section 139, section 154, and section 100.
Standing here, I feel very bad that we cannot say ...
... hamba kakuhle Frene ... (Translation of isiXhosa sentence follows.
[... farewell Frene ...]
... as far as the NCOP is concerned, we have delivered, because we have not delivered.
It was a Frene Ginwala amongst the giants of the ANC like Mashope and Adelaide Tambo at the ANC conference who started morusu [fracas] of the 30% representation within the ANC. [Applause.] It was a conference that did not give the ANC women what they needed, but it was a small caucus Comrade Speaker, that sat down and said, we are not letting go. And who was the big agitator? Frene Ginwala who said, you can go see Madiba and OR. We are not yet at the elections. And yes, the women of the ANC threatened, cajoled, blackmailed if you like, and we said, we are the women of South Africa. Remember, at that point, at that national women’s coalition – there were
no elections there – there was a Frene Ginwala who was the chairperson of the national coalition. There was a young woman, very religious, very beautiful, Thoko Msane, who was the chairperson of the national coalition. It was deliberate, an older woman and a younger woman put together because what we realised was that the charter that we had of the rights of women had always in this country been determined and channelled by the black women and the progressive few whites, Indians, and coloureds. We wanted a charter that came out of the South African women. [Applause.] That charter, today, is the cornerstone – and I hear a lot of people who don’t like us saying this and that. I would like to say that charter came out of the villages, towns, and cities. It came out of the women of this country, black and white, rich and poor. [Applause.] For me, you cannot give any praise to anybody but to those who guided us.
The negotiations – Speaker, I always remind people that there was a day when we warned that we would close off the Trade Centre if the other negotiating parties were not bringing women to the table. Frene and others did not have to agree because the ANC had women represented, but we were still ...
... osiyayinyova ... (Translation of isiZulu sentence follows.)
[... the disruptive picketers ...]
... because it was important to bring the voices of women from every political corner of this country. It wasn’t that when she became Speaker, she had it easy. You know, from ...
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: We are in trouble in terms of time.
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Okay ...
... ndiyagqibezela. (Translation of isiXhosa sentence follows.)
[... I’m concluding.]
... Thambo Lenyoka ... [clan name]
... to the guitar strings of Ferguson, and to the young women who were lactating and nursing at that time, the demand for toilet spaces and respect in this Parliament was thrown at Frene Ginwala. So, she was graceful. She pushed us everywhere, the UN, the AU, and all the fighting forces in this country
knew the anthem of the ANC Women’s League, Malibongwe. [Applause.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you very much. Please allow me at this point to state that the presiding officers of Parliament associate themselves with the sentiments expressed by the members.
Members rose to observe a moment of silence in memory of the late Dr Frene Noshir Ginwala.
The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces announced that the condolence books would be available at the back of the Chamber immediately after the Joint Sitting for members to sign. The period of signing the books would be extended to Thursday, 16 February 2023 and a special bound copy of members’ contributions would be sent to the Ginwala family to convey the sentiments expressed by Parliament.
Joint Sitting adjourned at 16:48.