President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa have expressed sadness at the death of Mr Ronnie Mamoepa, who passed away in Pretoria on Saturday, 22 July 2017, at 23h15.
The President and Deputy President conveyed their sincere condolences to Mr Mamoepa’s immediate and extended family, comrades, friends and colleagues.
Mr Mamoepa (56), a former political prisoner and member of the Gauteng provincial legislature, was a highly regarded and accomplished public servant and veteran communicator who served the African National Congress and various departments in government with distinction.
In his latest role, since 2014, Mr Mamoepa served as Spokesperson for the Deputy President.
“This is a great loss to me personally, to The Presidency and government at large,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa.
“However, our thoughts are firstly and foremost with Ronnie’s wife, Audrey, his children and his siblings. I offer my sincere condolences to Ronnie’s relatives, friends, comrades and colleagues who have suffered the loss of someone who was much loved and respected across our country and beyond. We shall miss him greatly.”
Deputy President Ramaphosa, who visited Mr Mamoepa in hospital several times during his illness, expressed his appreciation to the management and staff of Unitas Hospital as well as other medical professionals who attended to Mr Mamoepa for their sustained efforts to make Mr Mamoepa comfortable during his extended illness.
Details of memorial events will be made known as soon as they are finalised with the Mamoepa family.
THE UMKHONTO WE SIZWE MILITARY VETERANS ASSOCIATION MOURNS THE PASSING AWAY OF COMRADE RONNIE MAMOEPA
It was with shock and a deep sense of loss that MKMVA received the news of the untimely passing away of comrade Ronnie Mamoepa. In comrade Ronnie our Liberation Movement had one of the most dedicated and capable cadres. He joined the ANC at a very young age and served selflessly and with dedication until the very end.
MKMVA extends our heart-felt condolences to comrade Ronnie’s wife Audrey, his children, his family and all his friends. We share in their pain and loss, in the sad knowledge that we as the ANC and comrade Ronnie’s comrades have lost a dedicated comrade whose skill and commitment is irreplaceable, and his absence in our ranks leaves a deep void.
However, it is at times of such deeply felt loss that we can learn much from the life and example of a departed comrade. Remembering the life-examples of those who have dedicated their lives to our liberation always provides us with guidance about how to conduct ourselves in the continuation of the struggle for full liberation.
Comrade Ronnie became involved in the liberation struggle at a very young age. At the tender age of 15 years he was already arrested in Atteridgeville for ANC underground activities, and in 1980 at the age of 18 he was found guilty of terrorism and given a five year prison sentence. This sentence he served as one of the youngest political prisoners on Robben Island.
Such an experience could easily have broken someone less committed than Comrade Ronnie. However, he served his sentence with fortitude and grew hugely through engagements with the senior political leaders on Robben Island. Prison truly became comrade Ronnie’s school and he used every day that he was there to learn and grow.
All of us who knew him can recall how warmly and engagingly he shared his prison experiences, and talked about how much he learnt from his engagements with the likes of former President Nelson Mandela, comrades Walter Sisulu, Elias Motsoaledi and many others. Comrade Ronnie was part of the prisoners’ maintenance/building team and in the process of moving around with that team to do maintenance work in the prison, he played an important role of keeping comrades in the various
sections of the prison in contact with each other and to disseminate smuggled newspapers and other news that all the prisoners were hankering for.
On his release comrade Ronnie emerged from prison a politically mature and even more dedicated cadre than when he went in. Thus he continued with a life-time of commitment and dedicated service to the ANC and to the people of South Africa. Comrade Ronnie’s area of chosen work was in the area of promoting the ANC as the people’s liberation movement through the media. With the strong political grounding coming from his early life as an activist in Attridgeville, and the years of political schooling on Robben Island, comrade Ronnie was politically solid. He added to this excellent people’s skills an ability to formulate the ANC’s policy positions concisely and clearly. He was a natural spokesperson, and excelled when he was appointed as Spokesperson for the ANC in the old Pretoria-Witwatersrand- Vaal (PWV) region, that later became Gauteng. Later he moved to the ANC Head Office, which was then still in the old Shell House, and excelled as a Spokesperson at national level for the ANC.
Comrade Ronnie did not shy away from hard work. He would often be in the offices of the ANC’s Department of Information and Publicity (DIP) as early as 06:00 in the morning preparing media briefings and almost every day he would not leave before 22:00 at night, working full-out.
His rapport with journalists was unequalled, whether in agreement or disagreement with them about how they reported Comrade Ronnie always had the ability to engage with them and to convey the message of the ANC that needed to be communicated. Many a journalist who have worked with Comrade Ronnie over the decades that his career spanned speak with the greatest of admiration about his abilities as a spokesperson and communicator, but they also do so with great appreciation for his integrity and engaging warmth as a caring human being.
In his long career Comrade Ronnie served as an ANC Member of the Provincial Legislature (MPL) in Gauteng. However, he especially excelled as a civil servant. In his positions as Head of Communications in the Departments of International Relations (then still called Foreign Affairs) and the Department of Home Affairs he served his Minister, comrade Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, with great distinction. He did so similarly for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, when he moved from Home Affairs to the Presidency when Dr. Dlamini Zuma became the Chairperson of the Organisation for African Unity. In all these positions comrade Ronnie was the consummate professional with an exemplary work ethic and a commitment to communicate as effectively as possible while always serving the interests of the ANC lead government.
Comrade Ronnie became part of the African National Congress family at a very young age. He was literally brought up by the ANC, and knew nothing else but the ANC. He was totally dedicated to the liberation ideals of the ANC. He cared greatly about the unity of the ANC, and the ANC’s position as the leader of our South African society. During his career Comrade Ronnie occupied influential positions, but he never abused those positions in order to promote personal or factional
agendas. Until his last days he remained loyal and committed to the ideals and the discipline of the ANC. He understood and lived the principles of Ubuntu and Batho Pele.
Now at the age of 56 his spear has fallen.
The young skinny kid of Sekhukhune and Atteridgeville who, through commitment and dedication, became an icon of our liberation struggle is no more. It is our revolutionary duty to pick up his spear and to continue the struggle for the full liberation of our people. In doing so we remember Comrade Ronnie’s dedication to the unity of the ANC and the Tri-partite Alliance. In dedication to his memory, and the huge sacrifices that he made, we dare not fail to maintain our unity in dedication of serving our people in order to create a better life for all.
Issued by the President of MKMVA, Comrade Kebby Maphatsoe