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President pays tribute to the late Rita Alice Ndzanga

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his sadness at the passing of struggle veteran and pioneering trade unionist, Rita Alice Ndzanga.

Ms Ndzanga passed away on Wednesday, 17 August 2022, at the age of 88.

She was an Esteemed Member of the National Order of Luthuli, who was honoured in 2004 for her lifetime contribution to the struggle for workers’ rights and to the realisation of a non-racial, non-sexist, free and democratic South Africa.

President Ramaphosa’s thoughts are with the family, friends and comrades of the late veteran who was subjected to detention and banning as a result her activism against apartheid.

Born in Ventersdorp in 1933, the young Ms Ndzanga became a labour organiser in male-dominated industrial sectors and played a role in the formation of the South African Congress of Trade Unions.

President Ramaphosa said: “Our nation and especially our progressive movements and organised labour, will remember and continue to honour Mama Rita Ndzanga for dedicating the many decades of her life to advancing the fundamental rights of all South Africans.

“As a young woman who witnessed the birth of apartheid and its ravages over time, Rita Ndzanga took a stand that endangered her own freedom and security so that all of us could be free and secure today.

“The death in detention of her husband, Lawrence, was among the many profound sacrifices forced on Mama Rita during her life of struggle in which she put the interests and comfort of others first.

“Her service to workers on the factory floor and her contribution as a Member of Parliament are part of a legacy we can and should respect while this stalwart rests in peace.”

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President - 082 835 6315

Issued by: The Presidency