The death of ANC Deputy General Secretary (DSG) Jessie Duarte in the early hours of Sunday July 17 came as a shock to many, even after months of illness which saw her leave her party post.
There has been an outpouring of condolences and tributes from political parties, leaders and other organizations across South Africa as the country remembers the late politician’s strengths and activism.
The ANC had remained hopeful that Duarte would recover from his illness and resume his role and responsibilities as head of the party’s political administration, ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile told a news conference on Sunday. morning.
read in Daily Maverick: ANC’s Jessie Duarte has died
“His death caught us off guard for the worst that we have to face now,” he said.
“Comrade Jessie’s life was and will continue to be one of struggle. She cut her teeth as an activist from an early age, growing up in a family of anti-apartheid activists and supporters.
Duarte has been heralded as one of the best deputy general secretaries the ANC has ever known, with Mashatile stressing that her passing is a huge loss that will not go unnoticed.
The ANC declared a week of mourning in honor of Duarte, with flags flying at half mast.
“Each province is supposed to hold provincial memorial services during this time. The national memorial service will be held this coming Thursday, July 21,” Mashatile said.
Of the political landscape
ActionSA recognized Duarte’s long history in South Africa’s liberation movement, crediting her with founding the ANC Women’s League alongside the late Albertina Sisulu.
“ActionSA sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of ANC Acting General Secretary Jessie Duarte,” said Herman Mashaba, chairman of the party. “We further extend our condolences to the ANC for the loss of one of its leaders.”
The DA describes Duarte as a dedicated member of the ANC.
“Duarte was well known as a fiery character who had worked closely with Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela, and who held various positions in the party and government before becoming general secretary of the suspended Ace Magashule,” said said Helen Zille, President. of the DA Federal Council.
Among EFF members, Duarte was known to be “fierce, firm and direct”, and was recognized for her contribution to the liberation struggle in South Africa.
“She was passionate about gender equality and fought against forms of sexism and patriarchy,” said the EFF said in a statement. “Duarte will be remembered by many young men and women who passed through his hands and grew up on his guidance.”
The National Freedom Party (NFP) said Duarte’s death was a huge loss for South Africa and, in particular, for politics, adding that she was an extraordinary leader, social activist and ambassador for hope.
“She stood above the rest in defending and protecting the right to life of every individual in the country, and probably on the continent, standing firm in her belief that we are all equal,” said the NFP.
“She is a leader who is never shy about speaking her mind. She was never afraid to speak out in something she believed in, which led to her ruffling a few feathers.
The Azanian People’s Organization (Azapo) said it received the news of Duarte’s death with shock and sadness: “Comrade Jessie has dedicated her life to serving others in various capacities locally and abroad. “. said.
The Speakers of Parliamentled by Speaker of the National Assembly Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and Chairman of the National Council of Provinces Amos Masondo, said Duarte had dedicated his life to serving the people of South Africa in various capacities, both before and after the start of the democratic era.
“After South Africa’s democratic breakthrough, Ms. Duarte played a key role in a generation of democrats tasked with laying the solid foundations for a new democratic constitutional order and an inclusive and sustainable system of government. based on the rule of law,” they said.
“She will be remembered as a fiery, spirited voice of reason amidst the most turbulent times in the life of our nation and the majority party in the recent past. South Africa lost a candid and uncompromising critique of social injustice, discrimination and gender inequality when she passed away.
Rest in peace, Jesse Duarte. You fought a good fight. My condolences to the Duarte and Dangor families. 🙏🏾
— Patricia from Lille (@PatriciaDeLille) July 17, 2022
Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia from Lille said“It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Jessie Duarte in the early hours of this morning, on the eve of Tata Madiba’s birthday.
“Jessie has served this country in many capacities. She was a dedicated fighter for women’s rights and a champion of non-racism. His passing will not only leave a void in the ANC but, no doubt, in the country as well.
Today we woke up to the news of the sad passing of our dear comrade and sister in struggle, Mrs. Jessie Duarte. We bow our heads in salute to his immense contribution to the struggle for freedom, as well as his dedication to building a democratic South Africa. We are poorer without it.
— David D Mabuza (@DDMabuza) July 17, 2022
South Africa remained poorer without Duarte, according to Vice President David Mabuza.
It’s not just those in the political landscape who fondly remember Duarte. The South African Council of Churches (SACC) said its members would mourn his passing. According to SACC General Secretary, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, Duarte was always ready to attend meetings between ANC and SACC leaders.
Social justice and service to the people beyond religious traditions has been a mainstay of Duarte’s life, said SACC Acting General Secretary Mzwandile Molo.
“That’s why, although of Muslim faith, she was able to work with Dr. Beyers Naudé of the Christian Institute, finding common cause in their fight for justice. This caliber of leadership will be sorely missed,” he said.
TMF CONDOLENCE MESSAGE ON THE LATE CDE JESSIE DUARTE. pic.twitter.com/NBKRGHdFIH
— Thabo Mbeki Foundation (@TMFoundation_) July 17, 2022
The National Union of Education, Health and Allied Workers remembered Duarte for his commitment, dedication and devotion to the congress movement and the people of South Africa.
“His contribution to the fight against apartheid to create a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa will forever be etched in the hearts of our people,” the union said in a statement.
“Comrade Duarte was an internationalist who adheres to the values of a just and peaceful world and advocates international solidarity with the oppressed peoples of the world.” SM/MC