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Media Centre  |  COSATU Speeches

Speech Delivered by COSATU President at the Memorial Service of Comrade Collins Chabane, 19 March 2015, Tshwane

20 March 2015

The master of Ceremonies
Members of the family of Comrade Collins
The Alliance leaders and leader of the MDM structures present here today
The ministers and dignitaries present
Comrades, activists, cadres revolutionaries and friends

Please accept warm and revolutionary greetings from COSATU.
We are gathered here today to pay our last tribute to a comrade, an activist, a cadre and a revolutionary who lived his entire life in pursuit of complete freedom for his people.
We have come here today to pay tribute to a complete human being.
We are here today to give our utmost respect and salute to a great freedom fighter.
This is a man who never enjoyed his youth because he chose the trenches and barricades of war against the oppressors than to live a life of treachery and uselessness.
He chose to pursue the interests of his people than his own because he knew and understood that his life was intertwined to that of his own people.
Comrade Collins was and remains our liberator
He stood firm in defence of the principles which defines the content of the liberation of his people.
Comrade Collins was prepared to die in pursuit of the liberation of Black People in general and African in particular.
Comrade Collins was prepared to die in pursuit of free, democratic, united and prosperous South Africa
A gentle giant has fallen!
He occupied the front ranks of those who were the flag bearers of revolutionary discipline within the movement.
He never compromised his stance against rowdiness instead of reasoned arguments
He never compromised quality debate for noise.
He never looked down upon his own comrades because of the position he occupied both with the movement and in the state.
He never identified with the people but was and remained the people.
He knew and understood that for an ANC cadre, the masses are a fortress.
He knew and understood that without the masses there would have been no comrade Collins who was a respected leader and minister in government.
He did not fear debate and robustness but hatred disrespectfulness which is camouflaged as robustness.
He knew the manifestations of this and he had an incisive ability to expose it to shame the perpetrator. If you do not know, please ask those who dares to cross sword with him.
Many chose to leave the ANC than to confront this Gentle Giant.
He stood against anyone, both inside and outside of our movement who appeared to be a threat against these sacred principles of our revolution.
The greatest lesson we can draw from comrade Collins is the ability to understand the interestedness of state and mass power.
Comrade Collins understood that the state was not an entity which was class and gender neutral. He understood that the South African state institution has been constructed on the bases of pursuing a racist agenda against the black and African masses.
Comrade Collins understood that the character of a developmental state we are in a process of building must be working-class biased, must be based on participatory democracy and should be anti-imperialist and this was to be seek in government programmes and the values and ethos espoused by various state institutions.
He knew and understood that the developmental state we are building must decisively intervene in the economy to redistribute resources in order to address divisions resulting from our Apartheid past, unemployment, inequality and poverty, rural-urban development divide.
He understood that the state must take direct responsibility and must rely less on the private sector and market forces through nationalization of strategic sectors and ownership of productive resources, promotion of co-operative and other worker-centred forms of ownership, support downstream industries and lead industrial development, Promotion of regional integration based on an anti-imperialist outlook, Structured relations with extra-state organs of mass power.
He knew and understood that the state must strive to achieve universal access to: decent jobs, quality education, quality healthcare, comprehensive social security, decent housing, and access to water, energy and sanitation.
This gentle giant, this liberator knew that those of our comrades deployed in the state were to never at any material moment act in a manner that sought to create a gulf between the masses and the state institutions.
He knew that state power is not permanent but mass power if properly natured can continuously defend the revolution as we have seen Cuba and in many parts of Latin America such as in Venezuela where the imperialist enemy continues to fail in undermining the revolution in these countries.
We can say without any fear of contradiction that comrades Collins was an internationalist, a true cadre and a complete human being.
His love for music, happiness, his diligence to his work, his character as an ardent reader, his industriousness all tells a story of an all rounded cadre, a complete human being, a cadre who loved life and who was completely dedicated to the freedom of his people

Lala Ngoxolo Mkhonto

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets

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South Africa

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