Saturday, April 17, 2010
Zuma calls for unity
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Johannesburg - The reburial of revolutionist Lesley Massina provides an opportunity for bonding between workers and the revolutionary movement, President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.
"Through his life he was courageous, committed and a die-hard cadre of the ANC," Zuma said at the funeral service for Massina in Randburg.
Massina, a teacher by profession, left teaching to work at a laundry factory in 1946 and organised laundry workers to join a union and later served in the executive committee of the African Workers' Union.
He was the founding member of the SA Congress of Trade Union (Sactu) in 1955, and become its first secretary general.
He left for Swaziland in 1961 where he died while in exile in 1976.
In February this year the Swazi government granted permission for his remains to be exhumed and repatriated to Johannesburg.
He was exhumed on March 22.
No campaigning in time of Massina
Zuma said during the time of Massina, leaders in the ANC were not campaigning for positions.
"The movement identified leaders based on their work and commitment to the movement," he said.
He said there was no trading of names before congresses as it was currently happening.
"Branches were never under pressure to considering names for leadership, that is the ANC we know, not the one where people stand up and want to be elected," Zuma said.
He warned ANC members to think before they speak as whatever they say will have an impact on the party.
"Think before you speak whether it will be advancing the ANC or against it... if Zuma says this, it will have an impact on the ANC, so think before you speak," he warned without indicating to whom the warning was directed at.
But mourners speculated that he was referring to ANC youth league president Julius Malema.
"In memory of Comrade Leslie Massina and his generation we must also give renewed meaning to comradeship. The cadres of that time did not use the word "comrade" very lightly... they understood its real meaning. For example, they would not engage in any activity that would harm other comrades."
Zuma said as the remains of Massina were laid to rest, few fundamental issues should be remembered.
"These are the unity of our movement broadly, of the Alliance specifically, and the unity of our people as a whole.
"Unity is paramount for the success of our democracy. No one among us should do anything that undermines our unity. That is why I have said that we must think before we act, think before we speak in public," he said.
Liberation songs sung for Massina
Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu), Zwelinzima Vavi said Massina understood from the beginning that the struggle for national liberation and the struggle against super exploitation of workers was intertwined and could not be separated.
"Comrade Massina was not just an embodiment of the Alliance but was a fighter par excellence," Vavi said.
He said right from the beginning Sactu launched a campaign for a national minimum wage of one pound a day.
"This was one of many campaigns Sactu led, until the great repression after the Sharpeville massacre drove the Sactu leadership into exile," Vavi said.
Crosby Moni, a member of the SA Communist Party (SACP) central committee, said if he was to meet Massina he would tell him that South Africa is a united, non sexiest democratic country with a progressive constitution.
"I will also tell him that he would not go to Swaziland without a passport again." he said.
Moni was referring to an incident in 1954 when Massina went to Swaziland without a passport to attend an international trade union conference.
Liberation songs were sang to pay tribute to Massina before his remains were laid to rest at the West Park cemetery.
Comments by Sonny
Who was Lesley Massina?
Was that his code name or was he a foreigner?
....."Think before you speak whether it will be advancing the ANC or against it... if Zuma says this, it will have an impact on the ANC, so think before you speak,".....
These words don't seem to be applicable on Malema and the other 'fat cat' cronies
within the ANC!
How many foreigners were recruited into the ANC while in exile?