‘We could have done more for Comrade Tina’ – Nomvula Mokonyane
Tina Joemat-Pettersson has been remembered by ANC leaders as a devoted member of the party and a loving mother whose kindheartedness opened her up to political attacks.
The ANC on Wednesday conceded it could have done more to support Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the former energy minister and the chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police, during her “trials and tribulations”, particularly when she was “victimised” by her detractors, it said.
Deputy Secretary-General Nomvula Mokonyane made the admission at Joemat-Pettersson’s memorial service held in Kimberly, Northern Cape where scores of people gathered to honour and celebrate her life.
“There is definitely more that Comrade Tina could have done and that we could have done as the movement, as her comrades and friends, in giving Comrade Tina due support during her trials and tribulations and moments where she was victimised by those who thrive on seeing us in pain, anguish and want to test our conviction.
“But we celebrate the fact that Comrade Tina remained very resolute in not allowing herself to be dragged away from the movement that she so dearly loved,” Mokonyane said.
Joemat-Pettersson died last week under mysterious circumstances. The cause of death has not been confirmed.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Tina Joemat-Pettersson, a life of controversy and commitment to the ANC, never mind the rollercoaster ride
She died amid allegations that she was one of three MPs who attempted to solicit a R600,000 bribe from Mandla Skosana, the husband of suspended Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. The alleged bribe would have ostensibly been in return for making the Section 194 inquiry into Mkhwebane disappear.
On Tuesday, Mkhwebane released audio clips, purportedly of Joemat-Pettersson in a meeting with her husband at a restaurant at OR Tambo International Airport, allegedly attempting to solicit a bribe on behalf of the Section 194 Inquiry chair, Qubudile Dyantyi, ANC Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina and Mkhwebane, to make the almost two-year public process “go away”.
Read more in Daily Maverick: At Sandton ‘press conference’, Mkhwebane’s reality distortion field acquires even more warped dimensions
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the memorial service, Mokonyane was questioned about the party’s stance on the seriousness of the allegations levelled against Joemat-Pettersson, to which she responded that the party had not discussed the matter.
“We have been busy preparing for this memorial service. We have been in touch with the family, the kids, to comfort them and be with them in this difficult moment. The ANC has not had any opportunity to reflect on these allegations. We have been reflecting on the mourning.”
Joemat-Pettersson was remembered as a gentle revolutionary, an activist, an intellectual, a devoted Christian and a present mother.
Northern Cape Premier and ANC provincial chairperson Zamani Saul said she was everything the revolution needed. He read the last message he had received from her amid the extortion allegations and days before her untimely death: “Good afternoon comrade chair of my province, I am a subject of attacks again.”
Saul said Joemat-Pettersson had a beautiful heart, which rendered her vulnerable to political intrigues, suggesting she could have been a victim in the bribery allegations.
“We all know that those with beautiful hearts in the movement became subjects of these political intrigues. It is possible that out of pure human considerations, she got herself entangled in the present web of intrigue.”
“We loved 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 her courage and moulded by her resilience,” Saul said.
At the party’s national conference in December 2022, Joemat-Pettersson contested against Mokonyane for the first deputy secretary-general position of the ANC, which she lost by a narrow margin. She was then tipped to become the next deputy president at the upcoming conference of the ANC Women’s League.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Bathabile Dlamini and Sisisi Tolashe set to vie for top post in ANCWL elections next month
“As the province, we were fully behind comrade Tina’s bid to become the deputy president of the ANCWL. We had already started preparing ourselves to fully engage in this campaign,” Saul said.
Mokonyane said the life of Joemat-Pettersson was not ordinary. “It is a life of immense complexity, Struggle triumph, and above all, it is a life of love. Comrade Tina exuded a great love for her country and her people, her organisation the ANC and its tripartite alliance, its members, her sons and family.”
Joemat-Pettersson’s sons reportedly chased senior ANC members and parliamentarians from their home, saying the organisation had contributed to their mother’s death, according to Sunday World.
Saul, however, poured cold water on the claims, telling mourners it had been Joemat-Pettersson’s wish to be buried privately and that he had in fact met her sons, who did not attend the memorial service on Tuesday.
“They are deeply pained and devastated by the passing of their mother. They are currently in a very fragile state but strong-willed like their mother. The wish of their mom was to be cremated in a private family funeral service and they wanted to see that wish carried through.
“Executing that wish of their mother is not what in the media is branded as snubbing or rejection of the ANC or their late mom’s friends. It is fulfilling the wish of their mom and as the ANC in the Northern Cape, we supported them in that decision,” he said. DM