NUMSA statement on the tragic death of Gauteng's MEC of Economic Development Nkosiphendule kolisile.
The National Office Bearers’ (NOBs) of National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) have learnt with extreme sadness and shock that Gauteng’s MEC of Economic Development Nkosiphendule Kolisile is no more.
As recent as 21 May 2013, Comrade Kolisile in his capacity as the MEC graced the opening of NUMSA’s eco-refurbished offices in Johannesburg’s central business district. Characteristic of his deep appreciation of the transformative role that trade unions can play, in his speech on that day he commended NUMSA for a “bold stance in embracing efficiency in its buildings” and argued that the union’s initiatives were in line with his mandate as the MEC.
Our four regions around Gauteng also have fond memories of him when addressed their gatherings in his capacity as the Chairperson of the South African Communist Party (SACP) between 2007 and 2010. They still remember his passion and oratory skills when he came to their meetings to explain the internal SACP debate on “state power” where he advocated a position that would have allowed Communist Party members to stand as independent candidates in electoral contests.
He clearly took this passion into his new role after he was amongst a few communists cadres deployed onto the state as an African National Congress (ANC) activist. As the Chairperson of Gauteng Province's Economic Development Portfolio Committee, Comrade Kolisile convened a number of Workers Parliaments where he solicited union views on the economic direction that the province had to take.
In NUMSA’s interaction with Comrade Kolisile, we were convinced that our union was dealing with an all-rounded, honest and principled communist; that strongly believed in building a strong Communist Party rooted in the labour movement. Unfortunately these principles and beliefs did not endear him with many.
Comrade Kolisile dies at a very critical time when he was entrusted with huge responsibility by our democratic government to deliver on the ANC-led Alliance electoral commitments. We will remember him for leading a number of campaigns, notably the mass-led campaign that rejected the reincorporation of Khutsong and Merafong district into the North-West against the will of the people.
As NUMSA, we extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to his family, relatives, friends and comrades. To honour Comrade Kolisile’ s unflinching and revolutionary commitment to build a socialist South Africa, NUMSA’s leadership commits itself to keep the working class mobilised and do all in its power to ensure that this class is able to defend its revolutionary gains and to demand more. To Comrade Kolisile, the metalworkers say; Hamba Kahle Mpondo! Robala ka kgotso Lion of Merafong!