In the past weeks, the nation woke up to the sad news of the passing of former Numsa deputy general secretary Bheki Patrick (Magagula) Msibi.
Cde Bheki was born on the 15th March 1965 in Dube, Soweto, Johannesburg. He attended his primary school in Piet Retief and then went to Swaziland where he completed his secondary school.
He was a Qualified by Experience (QBE) diesel mechanic. He used to fix his uncle’s coal trucks in Tsakane in the East Rand. He would always ensure that his car was in good condition and also service his friend’s and comrades cars free of charge.
At that time Bheki was already working for Lascon Lighting as a packer and a driver but not involved in union and community structures. On Saturdays he used to fix cars hence one Sat-urday Denis Mdlalose visited him and found him under the car and requested him to attend the area committee meeting in JHB Saccawu offices.
Cde Bheki, a revolutionary and visionary leader Because of liking to engage in debates, workers saw his potential and he was elected a shop-steward in no time. As a shopsteward, cde Bheki was a revolutionary, principled, bold and visionary leader for all workers.
At the local his participation and articulation would always catch the eye of the organizers and other comrades in the sub-structures. He was then pulled into a Local Education Com-mittee (Ledcom) to teach other shopstewards.
Cde Bheki didn’t stay long in the Ledcom. He was elected a deputy chairperson at the Region-al Education Committee (Redcom). When the chairperson stepped down to pursue his calling as a preacher, he was an obvious choice to step into the chairperson position.
He was a leader for all, especially those who needed empowerment. His hard work led him to be identified by the national office to represent the region at a Marxist school in Cape Town.
It was clear that he will not only end up in education, but he would make a good organizer and that was the next position he held. It is difficult to keep a good comrade down; hence he was elected to the position of the Re-gional Secretary of Wits Central West. Cde Bheki was then elected a Numsa deputy general secretary at most historic and watershed 2000 Numsa national congress in Mafikeng.
This congress had taken place against a background of major challenges in the Union ranging from a collapsing and ineffective administration system. Cde Bheki navigated his role in ad-ministration within this collective framework of leadership, honesty, trust and dedication to the daunting task of the union at the time, to turn it around as the best functioning tool of metalworkers.
In all of these endeavours to leave a legacy for metalworkers, cde Bheki played a crucial role as part of the collective leadership. He had no ambitions of claiming any victories for the success that we made, because he knew that this was a collective effort.
He is survived by his mother, sister and children.
Rest in peace, you have earned your right to rest in peace!
Lala ngoxolo Ndlodlo Gasa!