Thank You Programme Director, Provincial Secretary Comrade David Makhura
Lelapa laha Nkoe
Mme le bana ba Comrade Ephraim Nkoe
Friends of Comrade Ephraim, in particular Comrade Rapu Molekane
NEC and PEC members here present
Regional Chairperson and Executive Mayor of Joburg Comrade Parks Tau
Veterans of our struggle here present
Comrade Amos Masondo, former Chair and Executive Mayor of Joburg
Chief Whip of the ANC Caucus, Comrade Brian Hlongwa
Leadership of the Alliance
Branch leadership of Mpethe Mosaka (Ward 22)
Comrades and Friends:
We have gathered here today, at the Walter Sisulu Square of Dedication, to pay our last respects to one of the greatest revolutionaries of our time, Comrade Ephraim Nkoe, whom I have known for as long as I have been in the ANC.
On behalf of the leadership and the entire membership of the ANC, I take this opportunity, once more, to say to Comrade Ephraim`s family, friends and relatives; Gomotsegang.
Comrade Ephraim was one of us. Your loss therefore is our loss too.
We share your pain. And we are with you during this moment of sadness.
Comrade Ephraim`s passing on has left a huge void that we will find difficult to fill.
His towering intellectual presence will be missed by all. The liberation movement is poorer without him.
May the soul of my dear Comrade rest in peace!
Comrade Ephraim was one of the best and brightest brains to be ever produced by the ANC.
To us he was in the league of Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Mzala and many other great intellectuals of our movement and indeed our society.
He was an intellectual par excellence!
Because of his sharp intellectual mind we knew that before engaging with him on any issue we needed to be well prepared.
He was able to bring ideas into life.
He could eloquently articulate his view point and subsequently make it the view of the collective.
It was for these reasons that we elected him to be the head of political education in the South African Youth Congress (SAYCO).
His passion for political and ideological matters inspired many of us to equally sharpen our understanding, so that we can make a meaningful contribution towards changing our society for the better.
Indeed Comrade Ephraim represented the best among us!
He was a cadre of a special type; the kind of cadre our movement requires in this second phase of our ongoing transition from colonialism and apartheid to a national democratic society.
It is cadres such as Comrade Ephraim that the "Decade of the Cadre", as pronounced by our 53rd National Conference, is intended to produce.
These are cadres with a high level of political consciousness. They possess the requisite skills to locate events within their proper political context.
They can articulate and defend ANC policies and programmes. And they can engage effectively in the ongoing ideological and political contest.
Today, as we continue to transform society, learning from the exemplary life of this great revolutionary, we must increase our focus on political education and training as well as cadreship development.
We must continue to prioritise education and skills development not only in society but also among ANC members.
This we must do in order to produce a highly skilled cadreship that will contribute to the growth and development of our movement and society in general.
It is in this regard and in line with resolutions of our 53rd National Conference, as Gauteng we have decided to strengthen efforts aimed at offering every ANC member and leader a proper grounding in the politics of our movement; thus improving the skills profile of our membership and leadership.
Comrade Ephraim would have played a leading role in ensuring that our Political School, in Gauteng, achieves its goals; especially in terms of knowledge creation and sharing.
Because he is no more, we are confronted with a challenge of producing more cadres of his calibre.
Comrades, we have lost one of our finest cadres, who was a father, a brother and a leader who loved his country and his people. In return he was loved by his people.
Those of us he has left behind pledge to defend and deepen his proud legacy.
We will march on his footsteps. We will pick up his spear.
We will draw lessons from his life of sacrifice, dedication and unwavering commitment to the National Democratic Revolution.
When it was not fashionable to swell the ranks of the youth and student movement, Comrade Ephraim decided to do so.
He responded to the call by former President Oliver Tambo to render the country ungovernable and the apartheid system unworkable.
He also understood that in order to overcome the effects of the inferior education given to black people at that time, there was a need for self-improvement.
He knew that education and intellectual advancement was a powerful tool against the enemy.
We recall with fondness that when he was part of the student and youth movement he did a lot of writing and contributed in many debates about our National Democratic Revolution.
Equally aft the democratic breakthrough in 1994, Comrade Ephraim contributed immensely in the development of various policies intended to build a better life for all.
Therefore when we celebrate the successes of our freedom and democracy, Comrade Ephraim will be counted among those who made a massive contribution to these successes.
Whilst, as the ANC, we note that significant strides have been made to change our society for the better, we are the first ones to admit that a lot more still needs to be done.
We are clear in our minds that, despite the challenges we face, our country is a much better place now, almost twenty years into freedom and democracy, than it was before our liberation.
In honour of this great leader of our movement, Comrade Ephraim Nkoe, we must work hard to defend, expand and deepen the gains of our liberation.
In particular, we must strengthen and defend the institutions as well as symbols of our freedom and democracy.
We must also do everything necessary to address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment.
We must strengthen our focus on skills development, especially for young people, to allow them to access employment and other economic opportunities.
We must work hard to fight the a-political and counter revolutionary conduct of gender-based discrimination and violence. We must continue to protect the vulnerable in our society.
We must also strengthen the work we are doing to promote social cohesion and nation-building as a part of ensuring that ours become a truly caring and humane society; a society at peace with itself and the world.
We must also not loose focus on our strategic task of building a developmental state that has the capacity to mobilise resources and the broadest sections of society towards supporting development.
Equally, as ANC members and drawing lessons from Comrade Ephraim, we must rededicate ourselves to the renewal of our movement.
This will require that we restore the ANC to its core values of unity, selflessness, service, collective leadership, democratic centralism, internal debates, humility, honesty, hard work, constructive criticism and self-criticism, discipline and mutual respect.
It will also require that we continue to put more effort towards building strong branches of the ANC that are rooted in communities.
It will also require that we continue to prioritize the unity and cohesion of our movement, above all else.
We must continue to build a strong ANC led alliance at all levels of the organisation.
Our alliance must be based on a clear programme of action that binds us to collective action towards the realisation of a national democratic society.
We must also ensure that the ANC continues to be on the side of the oppressed and the poor in the world and works with like-minded organisations towards the goal of a Better Africa and a Better world.
Comrades, we must do all of these things to ensure that now and towards its second centenary, the ANC of Comrade Ephraim remains the true custodian of the aspirations of the people of South Africa; and a reliable ally to all those fighting for a just, humane and equitable world order.
We are saddened that Comrade Ephraim passed on, on the day we unveiled the Moses Kotane Volunteer Brigades campaign, in preparation for the 2014 general elections.
Comrade Ephriam would have been among the most enthusiastic volunteers of this campaign.
He would have been among the first to raise his hand to say; Uma ufuna amaVolonteer; thuma mina!
Now that he is no more, he will be glad to hear that the ANC volunteers in Gauteng decided that; in the coming months, until the 2014 general elections, they will visit every house, every factory and shop floor, every church, synagogues and mosque and everywhere where our people are gathered, to spread the message that; the ANC is the only organisation that can deliver a better life for all.
Our volunteers are ready to counter and defeat, politically, the strategies of our ideological opponents.
Today, as the ANC we commit ourselves that; in honour of Comrade Ephraim, we will ensure that we win the elections next year with a two thirds majority!
Comrades, there is no doubt that Comrade Ephraim is now in the company of stalwarts such as Moses Koatane, Solomon Mahlangu, Peter Mokaba, Joe Slovo, Mam Bertha Gxowa, Johny Issel and many others.
They have welcomed him in their fold. And like us they recognise him as a true patriot, visionary and revolutionary.
We thank his family for making him available to serve his movement, his country and his people with such distinction.
Comrade Ephriam, you have run a successful race. You have done your part.
Go rest in peace my dear comrade. I will miss you.
Long Live the spirit of Comrade Ephraim Nkoe, Long Live!