A tribute to Ace Magashule – ANC

SG was ‘a dedicated young leader in the forefront of our struggle’

ANC pays tribute to its Secretary General Comrade Elias Sekgobelo (Ace) Magashule on his sixtieth birthday

3 November 2019

The African National Congress congratulates and pays special tribute to its Secretary General Cde Elias (Ace) Magashule, on the occasion of the beautiful magnificent day, of his sixtieth anniversary birthday celebration. It was during this joyful day of the 3rd of November. that the science of nature, brought this outstanding revolutionary of our movement. into the horizons of our mother earth, in every life of a human being, turning sixty is one of the greatest milestones and indeed. today, we are revered to celebrate the achievement of a golden life of such an outstanding revolutionary and a freedom fighter, of the caliber of the leader of our national liberation movement, Cde Elias Sekgobeto Magashule.

With great humility, we embrace his history of an unbroken record of a titanic life of a selfless servant of our people, whose contribution to our struggle for the liberation of our people, is a great inspiration to all humanity.

For a period of more than forty years, Cde Elias Sekgobelo Magashute. dedicated his life, to the noble cause of our struggle for the emancipation of our people against imperialism and the racist Apartheid colonial regime. His has been an immeasurable contribution to the noble cause of our struggle for the freedom and dignity of our people.

The Secretary General of the ANC was born on the 3rd of November 1959 in Tumahole. Parys, in the Free State. He was raised single handedly by his mother, who was a kitchen girl in Sasolburg - Tumahole a town of the downtrodden and the working class, which is known as the epicenter of our struggle against Black Local Authorities, Kornof Bills, VAT, and therefore galvanizing the country into ungovernability. We remember the heroic struggle of Tumahole July, 1984, Vaal uprisings, September 3,1984 to Cradock, and the rest of the country.

He completed his primary education at Tumahoie Primary School (now Lembede Primary). Comrade Ace attended secondary school at Phehellang Secondary School, also in Tumahole and later completed his matric at Residensia High School in Sebokeng.

He completed his tertiary education at the university of Fort Hare where he obtained a degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA), he later went to the University of Witwatersrand where he completed just only a year studying for an LLB degree. He also completed a certificate on research and marketing with the University of South Africa (UNISA).

From a young age Cde Elias Sekgobelo Magashule demonstrated his great affection and concern to the appalling material conditions of our people. As a result, he was baptized into the struggle against oppression and exploitation in the late seventies, which saw him later arrested during the year 1982, whilst a student at the University of Fort Hare. Together with his co-accused, they were charged with high treason for their political activism against the repressive policies of the Apartheid regime.

He and the likes of Fekile Dabi, Bheki Mlangeni, Ntate Alfred Metete, from Mdantsane were found guilty of public violence and furthering the aims and objectives of a banned organisation, the ANC. His legal team was Hintsa Siwisa and SC Moerane. After completion of his Batchelor Of Arts (BA) degree, he first taught as a teacher at Moqhaka High School in Sebokeng. and later returned to teach at his home at Phehellang High School, in Tumahole. He was known to be a politically conscious and activist teacher, who was acutely aware of the political consequences of Bantu Education, and therefore a volunteer of our struggle for the transformation of the lives of our people.

He refused to subject his pupils to the racist depravity of the Bantu Education curriculum, and had a huge influence on the political conscientization and liberation of the learners that he taught. Many political activists, who are still serving their communities and are continuing to work for the full liberation of their people, came through his tutelage. He groomed many young leaders in the Free State. the Vaal region, Potchestroom, SOWETO, Eastern Cape, the old Transvaal and manv other parts of the vountry. He is amongst the outstanding pioneers of COSAS, UDF, AZASO, Vaal Teachers Organisation Civic Movement, NECC and many other progressive formations in our country. He was amongst those of our leaders who became instrumental in organizing workers towards the formation of our giant federation, COSATU.

Throughout the years of his involvement in the struggle of our people, he occupied the forefront trenches to lead our people against the brutality of the racist Apartheid regime. He was part of those who became the nucleus of the intensification of our struggle to make the evil racist Apartheid regime ungovernable. This was at the time when he was working closely with leaders like Deacon Mathe and the Cradock Four. This contingent of young heroic revolutionaries, worked tirelessly to establish progressive structures of young people throughout the country.

In his lifetime as the leader of our national democratic revolution, he worked closely in the underground with leaders like Chris Hani, Winnie Mandela, Albertina Sisulu, Jacob Zuma. He also rubbed shoulders with leaders such as Oliver Tambo, Alfred NZO, Steve Tshwete, Ike Maphoto, Charles Mabisela, Caleb Motshabi, Fezile Dabi, Peter Mokaba, Ephraim Mogale, Ephraim Nkoe, Sol Tsotetsi, Bheki Mlangeni, Mandla Dlamini, Archie Gumede, Barnard Molokoane, Nthato Motlana, Sister Barnard, Allen Boesak, Thosamile Gwetha, Mafa Gqoci, Max Coleman, Paul Verryn, Duma Ndleleni, Jessie Duarte, Nomvula Mokonvane, Titus Mafolo, Paul Mashatde, Bevers Naude, Tom Manthata, Matthew Phosa, Rapu Molekane, Mike Biya, Stan Mathabatha, Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, Curnick Ndlovu, Samson Ndou, James Stuart, Pro Rabotapi, Borotho Letsoenyo, Kaiser Sebotheio, Thabo Manyoni, Obed Bapela, Fikile Mbalula, Seiso Mohai, and many of the cadres of our national liberation movement.

He was also highly involved in the release Mandela campaign with Cdes like Aubrey Mokoena, Zindzi Mandela, Dali Mpofu, Kgabisi Musunkutu, Jabu Ngwenya, Mzwake Mbuli, Tsheko Tshehlane, Marn Greta Ncaphavi, Curtis Nkondo, Tshediso Matona, Oupa Tekere Monareng, Kgahliso Moeketse. and many others. He was indeed a dedicated young leader in the forefront of our struggle for the liberation of our people.

He also worked closely with some of the outstanding legal minds of our country such as Cdes 
Priscilla Jana, David Dison, Richard Spoor, Chris Waters, Krish Naidoo, Essop Avob, Mathew Chaskalson, Azar Cachalia, Jerome Mthembu, Mosheen Mos, and many others who today have distinguished themselves within the legal fraternity of our country and the world. Curing the mounting police harassment and intimidations. he spent a considerable time hiding at the houses of Mathew Chaskalson and David Dison. This was during the most difficult period when the regime made many young people, refugees in their Own country.

Comrade Winnie Madikezela-MandeIa fondly recalled comrade Ace's numerous visits to her home in Branford where she was banished. The great revolutionary leader that she was, she saw and appreciated the young comrade Ace’s commitment to the struggle, and his leadership abilities. Comrade Winnie and Chris Hani were his ardent mentors, and Winnie Mandela always said she considers him to be one of her own children. She was immensely proud to witness his rise into the ranks of the leadership of the ANC. and proudly celebrated his election as the Secretary General of the ANC, at the 54th National Conference on the ANC in 2017.

He was haunted by the security apparatus of the Apartheid regime for his involvement in the activities Of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the underground. As a result, he was incarcerated and spent nine months of torture in solidarity confinement.

He worked with many MK units during the underground both outside and within our country.

He also assisted many young people to go into exile. including his own relatives whose remains are still in Tanzania. He also groomed and nurtured a group called the 14 which was led by Stompo Seipei.

On his return from exile comrade Ace was elected the Chairperson of the ANC's Northern Free State Region, and Chairperson of the ANC in the Free State. He served for many years as a chairperson of the ANC Free State province and therefore a member of the ANC National Executive Committee, under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma and now Cyril Ramaphosa. Since the democratic breakthrough, which heralded the end of the years of colonial oppression and exploitation, and the beginning of our new democratic dispensation, he served in various leadership position of our democratic government. He served as an MEC of Sports, Arts and Culture. Economic Development. Agriculture and transport and public works. He also served as a premier of the Free State provincial government from 2009 until he was elected as the Secretary General of the ANC at its 54th national elective conference. He was also in the National Assembly serving on the portfolio committees of local government and communications.

During his tenure as both Chairperson of the ANC and the premier of the Free State province, Comrade Ace was hugely popular, and he was especially appreciated as a humble servant of the people. with the ability to get the job done, turned policy into active service delivery, and dedicated to the economic empowerment of black people, especially Africans.

His tenure as premier of the Free State became known for the huge infrastructural developments, and improvement of the roads network with a specific and deliberate emphasis on providing roads and health infrastructure to poor and rural communities.

Simultaneously the provision of quality housing and the upgrading of facilities in the former townships in the Free State became second-to-none in the whole of South Africa.

His term saw one of the impressive acceleration of housing provision to many of the people of his province. He built state of the art houses for military veterans and equally took responsibility of the education of their children in various disciplines throughout the universities of our country and the world.

During his term as the premier of the Free State province, his department received five consecutive years of a clean audit from the Auditor General. A demonstration of his commitment to clean and accountable administration.

These outstanding achievements of comrade Ace's tenure as Free State Premier, went hand-in-hand with his commitment to protect the character of the ANC as a revolutionary movement, committed towards the liberation of the black people in general and the Africans in particular. The turning point was his overarching people centered program of Hlasela, which culminated in mobilizing many people as part of the ongoing collective effort to improve our living conditions.

His defining feature has been his immeasurable commitment to improve the quality of education and ensuring that the most marginalized gets quality education as a weapon of preparing the youth as the leaders of the future. Together with his collective, he sent more than one thousand and four hundreds (1402) students to various countries of the world such as Russia, Cuba, Vietnam, India, Germany, Bulgaria, USA. Nigeria, Brazil. Belarus, Turkey. and Portugal, He amassed financial support from both black and white business and also contributed from his pocket to support the students.

During his tenure, there was not a single town of the Free State which did not have a student studying outside the country. especially in medicine, nuclear programme, aerospace, agriculture and mining. With his collective, they would make sure that they visit all the students studying in South African universities and abroad without fail. Impressivelv, he would know each and every student by name, family background. and the towns they come from.

The illustrious collective of his government gave opportunities to street kids to go to school and universities and even turning Sex Workers as social workers. This is the epitome of a revolutionary who instilled hope to many of the poor of the people of our country. This sterling work, inspired his collective comprised of Tate Makgoe, Sello Tshabalala, Mahloko Taleng, Thabo Manvoni to establish Tumahole Career-Guidance centre.

In recognition for his unprecedented and relentless service to the struggle of the poor and the working class of our country, and more importantly, his dedication to the upliftment of the standard of education of our people, the Bahcesehir University (BALI) in Istanbul, Turkey, conferred to him an honorary Doctorate in Philosophy in 2017. This was a singular and well deserved honour, which comrade Ace received with his trade mark of humility, as he was at pains to dedicate the Doctorate to all the people in the Free State Who worked With him, as a team. to make his tenure as premier such a resounding success.

We in the ANC know comrade Ace as a humble and selfless servant of our people, who always be the first to say that the outstanding achievements of his tenure as Premier was not his individual achievement, but that of his leadership collective. Comrade Ace is known not to be meritorious. but a quintessential team player, which today make us to appreciate his collective and individual achievements through his life as the leader of our people.

Despite the many pressures of his demanding office, comrade Ace has not allowed his passion for education to wane. Also, now during his tenure as Secretary General, he continues to be the driving force behind sending many students abroad to improve their tertiary education qualifications, the pride with which as a symbolic gesture, he will see them as they depart at the OR Tambo International Airport, is an exemplary leadership and inspiration to all of us in the ANC.

Our Secretary General is known as a straight talker, who does not hide his commitment to Radical Economic Transformation (RET), Which is a conference resolution, and the need for blacks, especially African, people to take control of their own economic destiny.

The ANC is aware that this singular commitment to the full economic liberation of his people has made comrade Ace an enemy and target in certain circles of those forces opposed to the transformation of the South African society, As a consequence, comrade Ace has been the target of a most vicious and sustained media propaganda campaign, which for this - the weekend of his sixtieth birthday celebrations - has deliberately been pushed into top gear.

The ANC, our members, and the people of South Africa who know comrade Ace Magashute's revolutionary dedication, and selfless service, are not swayed by such propaganda attacks, we know that the highest trees always catch the most wind.

Thus, the African National Congress. congratulates our Secretary General on his birthday, and in doing so ensure him of our unwavering support. We also extend our gratitude to his family and loved one's for the manner in which they continue to support him in his important work, and for them sharing this great revolutionary leader with us.

The ANC wishes our beloved, and highly respected SC, a very blessed and happy sixtieth birthday. SG, we wish you the best of health, and many more years of dedicated revolutionary service to our Movement, and to the people of South Africa.

Issued by Pule Mabe, National Spokesperson, ANC, 4 November 2019