Zwelinzima Vavi speaks at NEHAWU 21st Anniversay celebrations
By Anele Siwa and Mishkah Anthony
28 June 2008
COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has today addressed the NEHAWU tombstone unveiling for Bheki Mkhize and the 21st Anniversary celebrations at Ulundi.
“On behalf of the COSATU Central Executive Committee I bring to you revolutionary greetings and messages of solidarity on this important occasion, when you pay tribute to Bheki Mkhize, one of the best unionists you helped to produce, as well as on your anniversary celebrations,” says Vavi.
According to Vavi Bheki was a warrior in the true sense of the word.
“He was fearless! He was an all-rounder who understood that he was a member of the community first. He was in the forefront of the liberation struggles as a member and a leader of the African National Congress,” says Vavi.
Vavi says Mkhize knew that only when the country attained its freedom and democracy could we begin the long process of reconstruction to address the legacy of colonialism of a special type.
“He knew that freedom would be meaningless unless we addressed all the three major contradictions that launched our revolution. He wanted to see an end to the oppression of black people. He hated the oppression and exploitation of workers. He understood that freedom and democracy on their own would not see a complete eradication of the oppression and exploitation of women,” he elaborated.
According to Vavi Bheki was assassinated by the then KwaZulu Police right at his home after he had fought hard battles with the apartheid forces in the Gauteng Province and elsewhere.
COSATU spokesperson Patrick Craven says Mkhize was a role model for the entire trade union movement and set a pattern for NEHAWU which has been one of the strongest, biggest and most militant unions in the public sector.
“The DA and the liberals, and now surprisingly the Human Rights Commission, would be horrified that Bheki Mkhize was so ready to die for his people.
All those who have been distressed by our commitment to lay down our own lives for our revolution, who do not come from this tradition, need to understand that this is not a empty commitment.
It’s a real commitment. This is no propaganda its demonstration of love for basic freedoms enshrined in the constitution,” says Vavi.