ESAU MOKHETHI REBURIAL SPEECH
by AZAPO President Cde. Koti Dikobo
Programme Director, Cde. Nelvis Qekema, Jwarra!!!
Pastors who are present; Pastor Letshelega, Prof. Masango, Rev. Raboroko and Rev. Vilakazi
The family of Comrade Esau Tshehlo Mokhethi, Bataung, the Moeketsi family and all relatives.
The Leadership of AZAPO and Formations: Cde. Strike Thokoane, Cde. Zithulele Cindi and Members of the Standing Committee.
The AZAPO Youth Leadership: Cde. Amukelani Ngobeni and Cde. Thabang Rabalago.
I also want to acknowledge past Presidents of AZAPO: Cde. Dr. Mosibudi Mangena, Cde. Khehla Mthembu, Cde. Ishmael Mkhabela and Cde. Tiyane Lybon Mabasa.
The mayor of the West Rand District, Councillor Paul Nawa Cde. Mudini Maivha of the PAC of Azania. My brother Thabo Ngoepe and his wife.
Comrades and Friends.
Let me start with a disclaimer that I never met Cde Esau Mokhethi. I never had the privilege of shaking his hand, of giving him a hug or talking to him. That is why I have always been envious every time I heard Comrades such as the Deputy President speak about him. I listened attentively today as speaker after speaker extolled his virtues.
There are many in this hall who have never met Cde. Esau. I believe that there are some like me who feel a bit jealous and left out. That notwithstanding, there are things that bind Cde. Esau and all of us.
He was a member of the Black Consciousness Movement of Azania (BCMA), and in a special way therefore a member of AZAPO. We know that in 1994 the BCM (A) and AZAPO merged to produce a new Organisation called AZAPO.
There has never been doubt in our minds that BCM (A) was AZAPO, and that AZAPO was the BCM (A), one operating inside the Country, and the other based in exile. We must never neglect to explain this to our children and to younger members.
Comrade Strike told me that Cde. Itumeleng Mosala presided over the funeral service of Cde. Esau, and that his sermon was based on the instruction that Joseph gave to his people, that when God delivered them from bondage and took them to the Promised Land, they should take his bones with them.
I have also seen that the family of Cde. Esau also drew inspiration from the same text. Today AZAPO and the Mokhethi family have brought Esau home to be buried with his people.
Some among us may grumble and ask why it took such a long time and even lament that some in his family passed on before they could witness his remains being brought home.
I believe strongly in my heart that today is the right day for Esau to come home, that it is a day chosen by God for his reburial.
Joseph said to his people, when you go to the Promised Land take my bones with you. The question therefore may be whether Cde. Esau is being brought back to the Promised Land.
Differently put, is this the kind of Country that Cde. Esau fought and died for? Is what we have now exactly what Cde. Esau gave up his youth, his education and his life for?
Just a quick glance through what is happening in our country to answer that question.
The political atmosphere is highly polluted.
We have witnessed how the ruling party has pushed the Secrecy Bill through the National Assembly. They used their majority to bulldoze opposition parties represented in Parliament. They ignored calls by civil society that they include the public interest clause. Well, who said they were doing it in the public interest?
We have no intention now to go into details on why AZAPO is opposed to the Secrecy Bill, except to say that AZAPO is prepared to go all the way to oppose this Bill being passed into Law. That is why AZAPO is working with other parties to campaign against the Bill.
AZAPO has ignited a debate on abolishing Provinces. We are encouraged by the kind of support that AZAPO’s view has received. We have heard some from within the ruling party talking about reducing the number of Provinces. AZAPO is not saying reduce, we say abolish. Read my lips: “Abolish”!
AZAPO has taken the debate to the next level; we have called for a referendum on the future of provinces. We are not talking about the kind of referendum where Government withholds results if they do not like the outcome.
For two days in September 2010 the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs conducted a referendum in Moutse, to find out whether the people of Moutse wanted to fall under Limpopo or Mpumalanga. The people went in their numbers to the polling stations, but up to now Government has refused to release the results. The Community of Moutse has had two marches to put pressure on Government to release the results, but Government simply showed them the middle finger. Talk about public interest, or the will of the people!!!
We are told that it is a Government based on the will of the people. Which people?
That is why AZAPO has lodged a case with the Office of the Public Protector, to make Government release those results. It is in the public interest that we know what the people of Moutse are saying.
If we cannot get the results in Moutse, how sure are we that Government will not withhold the results if they do not like them?
There is a lot that we could say to show that it is not yet Uhuru!!
We could talk about the e-tolling saga, and how we were lied to. When the roads were being fixed and improved, citizens were told that it was in preparation for the FIFA 2010 World Cup. The Country was told that after the World Cup there would be a legacy left behind. Well, here we are!! e-tolling, what a legacy? Then citizens are invited to some consultation, when the roads have been completed.
We could stand here and say how the ruling party has failed the children of the Eastern Cape, and how the Section 100 Intervention has failed to make a difference. Education has collapsed in the Eastern Cape, and children are used as pawns and hostages in a struggle for positions in the ruling party.
To add salt to injury, they are now being referred to as refugees by Premier Hellen Zille. We do not want to waste time on this one, except to say that many Black people would feel offended and insulted by this classification, even if Hellen Zille did not intend to offend. That is why we had expected her to admit that it was a bad choice of words on her part.
Comrades, how do we build a Monument for Cde. Esau Mokhethi? How do we build a Monument for all AZAPO, BCM (A) and AZANLA cadres?
There are many ways of remembering and paying tribute to a Hero.
Others erect tombstones, like we will be doing for Cde. Esau today. Others erect statues, others name roads, streets, hospitals, bridges etc, after their Heroes. I want to propose today that we build a different Monument for Cde. Esau and those who went before him: a living Monument.
The things I mentioned are important and all have their use.
If we are agreed that it is not yet Uhuru, if we are agreed that what Cde. Esau lived and died for has not yet been realised, how do we take the struggle forward? I propose that we build a living Monument for Cde. Esau Mokhethi, that Monument is AZAPO.
Let us first agree that AZAPO is not well. We have agreed that AZAPO is not doing well. Let us also agree that AZAPO carries the Hopes of the downtrodden and marginalised.
We have agreed on a Programme of Action for our Organisation, and we have identified four (4) Key Performance Areas.
We have agreed that we would build and revive our Structures, that we would build a strong administration, that we would build a strong financial base for AZAPO, and that we would raise the Media profile of AZAPO.
That is our Programme. These are our Marching Orders. I heard you Cde. Mosibudi Mangena when you said all hands on deck. I am repeating the clarion call, and urge all AZAPO members to enter the playing field. To arms all of you!!
Let us go and build structures in our areas. Let us go and brighten the corners where we stay. I assume that by now we have come to the painful realisation that cursing the darkness does not chase it away.
I am making a special call to all members of Azanian National Liberation Army (AZANLA) to come back into the structures of AZAPO and help us in the rebuilding. Many of you have skills that we need. Where are those Political Commissars of AZANLA? We are aware that many of you are struggling to make ends meet, but we are telling you that you stand a better chance of addressing your issues while you are within AZAPO, than when you are out there.
Let us build this Monument in memory of Cde. Esau Mokhethi. Let us build an AZAPO that we will all be proud of, an AZAPO that is with the people, that walks with the people, an AZAPO that is part of the people.
In conclusion, on behalf of AZAPO I want to thank the family of Cde. Esau for sharing him with us. We thank you for supporting him and the organisation that he had chosen.
But even more, thank you very much for allowing us the space to be part of his life up to here. We thank you for the cooperation that you gave to AZAPO as we were organising and planning for this reburial.
We pray that God gives you comfort, and that what has happened yesterday and today help you to find closure.
Our thanks also go to Link Funerals in Gaborone and Phuti Funerals of Polokwane for the assistance they gave us during the exhumation and preparing Cde. Esau for the journey home.
We are indebted to Ledwaba Funerals of Atteridgeville for transporting Cde. Esau from the Botswana Border to Soweto. Our thanks also go to JD Funerals who are providing the service today.
Thank you to all AZAPO members who played a part in making this event a success. Thank you very much AZANLA Military Veterans Association.
Cde. Esau Mokhethi, your family and Organisation have kept the promise they made before God and the people in 1987 in Gaborone. They have brought you home. We thank God for your life, a life well lived, a life of Service. You have fought a good fight, you have finished the race. You were faithful to the end, faithful to your God and your Organisation.
Robala ka Khotso Motaung wa Rapuleng, wa Makgwa, wa Moletsane, a Soldier of the Cross!!