Pretoria: President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday conveyed his deepest condolences to the family, the government and the people of Tanzania on the passing on of Brigadier General Hashim Mbita.
General Mbita died on 26 April, the same day that the Republic of Tanzania celebrated Union Day — which marks the union of two east African states, namely Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
“It is with heavy hearts that we reminisce on the life of our fallen hero and son of the African soil, a life that remains synonymous with the liberation of our continent.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Mbita family, as well as the government and the people of Tanzania. May the soul of our esteemed comrade and brother, Brig. Gen Hashim Mbita, rest in peace,” said President Zuma, on behalf of government.
He said General Mbita passed away on a day before South Africa’s 21st Freedom Day celebration, a freedom which, without the dedication and sacrifices of African stalwarts and the collective contribution of liberation fighters of the calibre of Brig Gen Hashim Mbita, would not have been achieved.
“South Africa remains indebted to all African compatriots who contributed to the liberation of our country.
“It is for this reason that South Africa at her 21st Freedom Day celebration, had decided to bestow the Order of Companions of Oliver Tambo, in Gold to General Hashim Mbita for his unrelenting support towards African liberation movements and his profound efforts in ensuring the attainment of the liberation of the African continent,” said the President.
The Presidency said the ceremony to bestow the awards will take place later this year.
The President said General Mbita was a well renowned Pan Africanist who served the cause of the total liberation of Africa.
“He was widely regarded as a fellow freedom fighter by liberation movements in Africa, particularly his active participation in the liberation struggle of Southern Africa.
“Brig Gen Hashim Mbita also made a valuable contribution in his own country as he served under the founding President of Tanzania, the late President Julius Nyerere, as Press Secretary and later in the Tanzanian People’s Defence Force before joining the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
“Brig Gen Mbita served in his position as Executive Secretary at the OAU for 22 years. In 2002, the OAU was then transformed into the African Union (AU),” said the President.
He said General Mbita remained in active service despite his prime age.
“We recall his latest and remarkable contribution in leading the ‘Hashim Mbita Project to Honor outstanding Leaders’, where he presented his report at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit of Heads of State, which was held in Zimbabwe last year, in August 2014.
“I also have fond memories of working with him as we assisted the people of Burundi towards peace a few years ago,” he said.
The Presidency said the Deputy Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Noma-India Mfeketho, will represent South Africa at the funeral service today.
SOURCE: South African Official News