Ricochet News

Tributes pour in for Fort Beaufort MP killed in accident

Mar 6, 2018
Tributes pour in for Fort Beaufort MP killed in accident

The ANC Caucus in the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature on Tuesday said that it was shocked to receive news of the untimely passing on of National Assembly Member, Fezeka Loliwe.

"Eastern Cape born Loliwe joined the National Assembly in 2014, and displayed her prowess on the numerous Committees and Study Groups to which she was deployed. These included her sterling contribution on the Communications Committee’s enquiry into the SABC and its Board," said Mawethu Rune, Head of ANC Caucus Support Services at the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature.

"Comrade Loliwe was an astute cadre, who cut her political teeth as a student activist, where conditions of the time propelled her to be the outstanding fighter and strategist that she became.

"Her immense contribution to organised labour with particular reference to the sector is highly acclaimed. The role that she played in the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union affirmed that the position of women is not in the kitchen – it is in fact where the site of struggle is."

Rune said that true to this sentiment, she was the only female who was elected into the position of Provincial Secretary in her tenure in the Provincial Executive Committee of SADTU.

"This was an acknowledgement that women were equally capable to lead in working towards the emancipation of the people of South Africa from the shackles of patriarchy, poverty and discrimination.

"Her election into structures of the ANC as well as those of the South African Communist Party was an embodiment of the interconnectedness that is incumbent on the Alliance. Her departure thus comes as a loss to the Mass Democratic Movement in its entirety," he added.

"The ANC Caucus bids farewell to this flower of the revolution, and maintains that her role in the fight for a better life for all will forever be etched in the pages of our revolution.

"We doff our hat to this true gem – a revolutionary, activist, teacher, organiser, feminist, trade unionist, intellectual, people’s representative, communist and cadre par excellence. May her revolutionary soul rest in eternal peace."

Meanwhile the South African Communist Party (SACP) also said that it received the news with "shock and deepest sorrow".

Loliwe was in the Party’s Central Committee Member.

"Comrade Loliwe died after a motor vehicle accident late afternoon on Monday, on her way from her Parliamentary Constituency in Fort Beaufort in the Amatole District Municipality to East London in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality," said Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo, Head of Communications & National Spokesperson for the SACP.

"The SACP conveys its heartfelt condolences to the Loliwe family, the ANC, our Alliance, Parliament and country as a whole."  

Mashilo added that Loliwe, 53, was born on 17 August 1964 in Frankfort, King Williamstown in the Eastern Cape in a working class family.

"She was first elected to the SACP Central Committee by the Party’s 13th Congress held in July 2012. At the time of her death she was serving her second term as a Member of the SACP Central Committee following her re-election by the Party’s 14th Congress held in July 2017.

"Before her first election to the SACP Central Committee she served as the Party’s Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Committee Member and from 2011 as its Provincial Working Committee Member," he added.

"Comrade Fezeka Loliwe was elected to Parliament as an ANC MP in 2014. She served as a Member of Parliament’s Labour Portfolio Committee, a Whip in the Committee and later its Chairperson. She served in the SABC Parliamentary Inquiry Ad Hoc Committee. She performed her duties diligently."

Mashilo said Loliwe’s involvement in the struggle for liberation and social emancipation dates back to her student activism in King Williams Town at the Lennox Sebe Teachers College, later renamed Griffiths Mxenge College of Education.

"She was expelled in 1986 in reaction to her political activism against apartheid. She completed her teaching qualification at Dr WB Rubusana College of Education in Mdantsane, East London in 1988. In the early 1990s she was active in civic mobilisation and in the Frankfort Youth Organisation.

"Comrade Fezeka Loliwe’s leadership role in the ANC as in the SACP and the labour movement was a product of an organic process of activism from the grassroots. She served as the Branch Secretary of the ANC in King Williamstown," he said.

"At the time of her death she was serving as the Member of its Regional Executive Committee in Dr W.B Rubusana Region covering the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality.

"When she became an educator she joined the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu), where she was later elected to serve as the union’s site steward and Branch Deputy Secretary respectively.

"She rose through the ranks of Sadtu to become its Eastern Cape Provincial Deputy Secretary, Acting Provincial Secretary and Provincial Secretary, and Vice President for Sports, Arts and Culture successively." 

Loliwe is survived by her two sisters and her brother.

"The SACP lowers its flag from the summit to half-mast in memory of the stalwart of our national democratic revolution and the struggle for socialism," Mashilo said.

"In memory of Comrade Fezeka Loliwe, a labour movement and gender transformation activist, the SACP will deepen its programme on both fronts against labour exploitation and patriarchal domination towards complete liberation and social emancipation.

"The SACP will publicly announce memorial and funeral service details in consultation with the family as well as with Parliament."