Skweyiya's fight was against the defilement of the ANC by 'some members' – Nqakula
ANC MP Charles Nqakula apologised to the late struggle stalwart Zola Skweyiya for "some members" of the ANC having called him a "so-called veteran" and "empty tin".
Nqakula was the ANC's final speaker in a motion of condolence by both houses of Parliament for Skweyiya, who served as an MP and member of Cabinet from 1994 until 2009. He died on April 11 after a long illness.
Nqakula told of how he and "Comrade Nosiviwe" – as he referred to his wife, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula – visited Skweyiya in hospital about six weeks before his death. When they arrived he was asleep, but as he awoke he pulled himself upright and started "pumping [them] with political questions" and discussed "matters relating to the organisation (ANC)". Nqakula said he didn't want to raise those matters.
"I want to apologise to Comrade Zola that some members defined him as 'so-called veterans' and 'empty tins'."
Without being specific, he said Skweyiya fought against the "defiling of the ANC by some members".
In November 2016, 101 ANC veterans penned a letter titled "For the Sake of our Future", berating the party's leadership at the time for moving away from the founding values of the liberation movement. Skweyiya was one of them.
'Mama, give us a signal'
Former president Jacob Zuma referred to these stalwarts as "so-called veterans" and Defence and Military Veterans Deputy Minister Kebby Maphatsoe, who is also chairperson of the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association, called them "empty tins".
The EFF's participant in the motion, Godrich Gardee, also brought this matter up.
He said it was a pity that President Cyril Ramaphosa was not present because he would have told him to start apologising to the other veterans who signed the letter.
Nqakula also said Skweyiya would have been very happy that Parliament adopted a motion to consider expropriation without compensation.
The DA voted against this motion. Nqakula said EFF leader Julius Malema might say: "Mama, we don't know what to do with the DA. Mama, give us a signal."
Malema broke out in a big smile as Nqakula said this.
Members from all parties who participated in the motion lauded Skweyiya as a person of integrity.
After the motion of condolence for Skweyiya, a similar motion was brought for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.