Nomvula Mokonyane, ANC deputy secretary-general, used Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s memorial service to emphasise the party’s commitment to fighting patriachy and racism.
Joemat-Pettersson, 59, died on Monday evening at her home in Cape Town.
She had been MEC for Education since 1994, and she had previously led various cabinet responsibilities.
Joemat-Pettersson was chair of the National Assembly Portfolio Committee on Police at the time of her death, having previously served as Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and Minister of Energy.
On Wednesday, the party held a memorial service for her in Kimberley.
Joemat-Pettersson’s death has sparked heated controversy after suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane accused her and other ANC MPs of soliciting a bribe from the husband to halt her investigation.
The cause of her death remains unclear.
Her death comes as the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) prepares to hold its 13th National Conference this weekend in Nasrec.
The ANC Northern Cape chairwoman, Zamani Saul, stated that the province has already begun mobilising for her election as ANCWL deputy president.
Saul described her as a revolutionary who adored her two sons, Austin and Terrence.
“We love comrade Tina, we are inspired by her life of service, we are inspired by her humility and we are inspired by her intellect, we are born of a courage moulded by her resilience and guided by her fighting spirit despite all that is said about her I believe that comrade Tina’s work and love for others are some of the basic ingredients that must define the re-birth and renewable of our movement,” said Saul.
Mokonyane agreed, pushing members to stick to their January 8 commitments.
“In honour of comrade Tina, we call on the ANCWL to go to the conference and come back and carry the responsibility of Charlotte Maxeke, Mittah Seperepere, Ruth Mompati and defend the gains of our revolution, fight patriarchy, fight for non-sexism, fight racism and ensure that the African National Congress emerge victoriously in the coming elections.
“In her honour, we need to make sure that all of us, starting with ourselves as officials of the ANC, the entire National Executive Committee of the ANC and the membership, that we commit to what we shared with the nation and the world emanating from the January 8 statement for 2023, that the ANC acknowledges that we are at a moment of fundamental consequence in the life of our nation.”
Mokonyane emphasised the multiple challenges facing South Africans, for which the ANC has pledged to provide assistance.
“Across the country, people are going through tough times, they are increasingly losing hope of ever finding employment and those trying to act out a living in the informal sector are facing harassment and red tape, the energy crisis undermines economic growth and investment prospects, and persistent loadshedding destroys businesses and compromises the production of food and the provision of social services, such as water and sanitation, community safety, education and health,” said Mokonyane.
“We owe it to the legacy of selfless struggle and the lifelong commitment displayed by Tina.
“We must appreciate comrades, that our internal party squabbles and factional fights are the biggest threats to the survival and renewal of the ANC.
“We must in action and words, provide a seductive thesis to society on why we remain the most capable and reliable agent of social transformation and change in South Africa.
“We must renew the promise of better life for all, and instil a new sense of hope within society, that tomorrow will be better than today.
“To do that, we must immediately stabilise our energy availability and arrest the deterioration in levels and quality of services, and deal with GBV against women and children,” she added.