SA leaders pay moving tribute to liberation hero, Chris Hani

By Crystal van Wyk
Posted on Wednesday, 11 April 2012 09:37

The South African Municipal Workers Union, SAMWU on Tuesday urged President Jacob Zuma to re-open investigations into the murder of struggle hero, Chris Hani.

Nineteen years after his brutal slaying, thousands of South Africans are this week paying tribute to Hani.

The South African Communist Party and ANC leader was brutally gunned down outside his house on the East Rand 19 years ago.

In a moving tribute to Hani, Cosatu’s Zwelinzima Vavi said Hani remained a “shining example of a true revolutionary leader and the finest embodiment of the traditions of the movement”.

Vavi was one of several leaders attending the wreath laying ceremony at a local memorial park for Hani on Tuesday.

“One of the most deepest scars on the visage of our democracy is the reality that a soldier like you, who toiled and laboured to ensure that the people’s thirst for equality and justice is quenched, has his life brutally taken away at such a defining moment of our struggle against apartheid and capitalism” he said.

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“Hani’s death was designed to unleash chaos in South Africa,” wrote, SACP deputy secretary, Jeremy Cronin.

Cronin said the two people who killed Hani, Januz Walus and Clive Derby-Lewis admitted to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that their intention was to “provoke a racial war” to scupper the negotiations process that was then in “stop-start” mode.

It was 1993 and South Africa’s apartheid rulers were preparing to hand over power to the ANC and negotiations were at a sensitive stage.

a shining example of a true revolutionary leader and the finest embodiment of the traditions of the movement

Hani was a popular leader and loved by many. In fact some opinion polls showed that he was second most popular after Nelson Mandela.

Vavi asked the question what Hani would have thought of the free and democratic South Africa if he were alive today.

“Hani would be devastated that unemployment is at 35.4 per cent, and that it still discriminates according to race, gender and geographical location,” he said.

Vavi added that Hani would have been outraged and angry at the corruption-taking place in the country.

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“Your life continues to inspire a new generation of South Africans, a glittering example of a courageous revolutionary leader of his people, personifying the noblest principles and finest traditions of our liberation movement,” added Vavi.

Hani joined the ANC in 1956 and the banned SACP in 1961 and was among the first to join the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe in the1960’s.

On return to the country in the 1990’s, Hani was the chief of staff of the military wing.

Derby-Lewis, then a Conservative Party member, and Polish expatriate Janus Walus are still serving life sentences for Hani’s murder.

Derby-Lewis provided the weapon and Walus pulled the trigger.

The SACP in collaboration with several organisations, in the course of the week, will host a series of commemorative activities to mark the 19th Anniversary of Chris Hani, which include lectures on the life of Hani.

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