Former Eastern Cape Premier, Rev Stofile laid to rest, Pityana attacks Zuma


Former Eastern Cape Premier, Ambassador and Minister of Sport and Recreation, Rev Makhenkesi Stofile, who passed away on the 15th of August, was laid to rest on Thursday after a funeral held at the University of Fort Hare Indoor Sports Centre, in Alice. He was Chancellor of the university at the time of his death.

High ranking African National Congress (ANC) mebers; Eastern Cape Legislators and politicians, who included the Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa; Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle; and Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula along with former Deputy President of South Africa, Kgalema Motlante, joined the Stofile family as they paid their last respects to Rev Stofile.

Still, some speakers used the podium to bring attention to the political crisis in both the ANC and the country with businessman and former top government official, Sipho Pityana, launching an attack on President Jacob Zuma and going as far as to ask him to resign.

Pityana said that President  Zuma continually flouted the Constitution of the Republic and had plunged constitutional bodies into crisis. He claimed that both the state and the ANC had been captured by a thrid force.

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"Our setbacks are self-inflicted. We’ve ceded our moral high ground to our opponents. We say we are a party for the Constitution … but many doubt it because we give them reason to do so. No less a person than the president of the country takes every opportunity to show nothing but disdain for the Constitution," said Pityana.

He said the ANC was "in denial" by continuing to blame a "hostile" media, western forces and non-governmental organisations for its woes.

Also paying tribute, Stofile family representative, Hintsa Siwisa, said that some ANC veterans cannot stomach what is happening in the ANC.

Stofile was a kind father

Meanwhile, one of Stofile’s daughter conveyed a tribute honouring his life and described the kindness of her late father and the love and values he shared to everyone.

“My father wasn’t a perfect man, but he was an excellent father. He was a man with dignity, full of humanity and grace as a father he never tried to force any of his beliefs in us, he was not impressed by conventional wisdom and always  encouraged critical thinking,” said Mathahle Stofile.

She added that, He taught them to always do what they believe is right and that nobody has monopoly in goodness, not the rich or poor, educated or illiteracy not ANC or himself.

Stofile was at one time the Chairman of the ANC Eastern Cape and was its first Chief Whip in Parliament in the first democratic elected government.

A combatant of social justice

Deputy President Ramaphosa, delivered eulogy - on behalf of President Jacob Zuma, honouring the life of the late Rev Stofile and the positive contributions he made in the country.

“He was a principled political leader; he lived his life in pursuit of the biblical injunction that the oppressed shall be set free and the hungry shall be fed,” said Ramaphosa.

“As we gathered here on this sad day but also a celebration, we can say in conviction that Bra Stof’s life was not given to regret for he was an architect of life and commandant of social justice.”

He added that his remarkable life will continue to embolden the hearts to those who knew him and that the whole country is yearning because of his passing.

“Comrade Stof was a person of great Character and that is one of the key attributes that I think many of us will remember him for.”

He served the people with distinction

Former Deputy President Motlante also conveyed a tribute and applauded the great memories Rev Stofile left behind.

“Comrade Stof will no longer bear the brunt of stresses and strains of a human condition. Human vulnerability to the arbitrary acts of faith intervention in human life can only be offset by setting our sights on memories left behind,” said Montlante.

“To mollify our pain, soothe our grief and assuage our sorrow, we can only focus our minds on the way that life Comrade Stof lived which indulge to the human experience with imperishable memories,” he added.

Also speaking at the funeral, Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, highlighted the efforts Rev Stofile made in developing the country and the lessons learnt from him.

“We gathered here today to pay our last respect to the great fallen tree, may he rest in peace and don’t tell lies when we say you have done your duty, you’ve served your people with distinction.”

He added that transformation in this country was something that was conceptualised long before the unity talks in South Africa and that government was now implementing some of the policies the late Rev Stofile and his generation designed.