John Nkadimeng. Image via: Presidency / Twitter

Cyril Ramaphosa: ‘Nkadimeng was an unwavering champion’

President Cyril Ramaphosa said now more than ever they needed to stand united in the quest to restore South Africa to its founding values – values which Ntate Nkadimeng lived by


John Nkadimeng. Image via: Presidency / Twitter

President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the late John Nkadimeng as an unwavering champion of the unity of workers and the working class.

He died on Thursday, 6 August 2020, at age 93.

Ramaphosa delivered the eulogy at Nkadimeng’s funeral on Friday, 14 August 2020.

The president said to his dying day, Nkadimeng shared the vision of uniting all trade unions under one federation and firmly believed it would make the working class stronger and more impactful in improving lives.

“With the passing of Ntate Nkadimeng yet another light in a glorious generation has been extinguished”, he said.

“It was due to his work and the work of many others like him that we are today a country founded on human rights and dignity for all. His life stood as an example of how we should each conduct ourselves as we seek to build a more just and humane society”, Ramaphosa added.

Cyril Ramaphosa: ‘He understood the daily struggles of working people’

Further reflecting on Nkadimeng as a true unionist, the president said while he suffered the oppression and exploitation of apartheid capitalism, Nkadimeng used his life to ensuring that workers should enjoy the results of their labour.

“He believed in the unalienable right to dignity for all South Africans, but especially for those who bore the brunt of economic marginalization”, he also said.

“It is that commitment and determination that we need today as the workers of this country face perhaps their greatest challenge since the advent of democracy.”

Nkadimeng was instrumental in the founding of Cosatu and volunteered in the 1952 Defiance campaign and  and charged with treason in the 1956 Treason Trial.

‘Sacrifices must not be in vein’

Ramaphosa wasted no time touching on the reports of corruption that have surfaced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the country risks destroying the gains Nkadimeng’s generation fought for.

“Their sacrifices must not be in vain. We must firmly take back the reigns from those out to destroy our country. Now, more than ever, we have to hold fast to the lessons they taught us about serving our people, about respecting them, about heeding their concerns and about acting in their best interests”, the president said.

“Let this be a turning point in the fight against corruption. Let us use this moment to banish this disease from our politics, from our movement, from our economy, from our country”