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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Key official of South Africa’s ruling ANC party dies

JOHANNESBURG ( Associated Press) – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to Jesse Duarte, the long-serving deputy secretary general of his ruling African National Congress party, who died on Sunday after a long battle with cancer.

Duterte, 68, was elected to the ANC chief in 2012 and was serving until she went on medical leave in November last year.

“Although our dear comrade Jesse has been seriously ill for several months, it is difficult to understand that someone with such vitality and such spirit has left this earth,” Ramaphosa told mourners on Sunday.

“Comrade Jesse was a loyal, dedicated and staunchly loyal leader of the African National Congress,” Ramaphosa said.

He praised her for fighting for women’s rights during and after South Africa’s struggle against white minority rule and the system of racial oppression known as apartheid, which ended in 1994.

“Jesse was tireless in advancing the status of women in all areas of public and private life,” Ramaphosa said.

“They confronted patriarchal attitudes and practices that sought to reduce the role and contribution of women in Parliament, in government and in society,” he said.

Some of the influential roles Duarte has played since his release from prison in 1990 include that of the spokesman for the ANC and personal assistant to Nelson Mandela.

She was a prominent member of the ANC Women’s League and also served as South Africa’s ambassador to Mozambique.

A member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC for more than 25 years, Duterte gained support from rival factions within the party, leading many to describe him as a unifier.

He has often faced criticism for his enthusiastic public defense of the ANC, despite mounting evidence that many of its officials are corrupt and ineffective. A recent judicial inquiry into allegations of corruption during the regime of former President Jacob Zuma from 2009 to 2018 found substantial wrongdoing on the part of the ANC party and some of its top officials.

Duterte has also been criticized in recent years for his attitude towards the media as he often publicly criticized journalists that he viewed as anti-ANC.

Some opposition political parties have praised Duterte for his role in the fight against apartheid and sent messages of condolences to his family and the ANC.

An official funeral according to Islamic customs was held for Duarte at Johannesburg’s Westpark Cemetery where he was buried on Sunday. An official memorial service will be held later this week.

World Nation News Desk
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