Pretoria: Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has paid tribute to the contribution made by struggle stalwarts Oliver Reginald and Adelaide Tambo.
Speaking at the opening of the Oliver Reginald Tambo National Heritage Site and wreath laying ceremony in Boksburg on Saturday, Motlanthe said there was plenty of inspiration to be drawn from the two leaders, even though they had passed on.
OR Tambo was the longest serving President of the ruling ANC. Saturday also marked his birthday anniversary.
“Their determination to stay the course, even in the face of seemingly intractable and insurmountable odds, leaves us with eminently suitable reference points,” Motlanthe said.
He also urged South Africans to play an active role in protecting the gains of democracy, and commit to work together to achieve national reconstruction, peace, stability and social cohesion.
He commended the Department of Arts and Culture, which has decided to honour the final resting place of OR Tambo and his wife, Adelaide, by declaring it a national site.
“We must do this work to honour those whose contributions have changed the social, economic and political face of our nation, and to immortalise the values and principles of those who stood for a free and united South Africa.
“Such memorialised sites must also serve as symbols of reconciliation, nation building and national healing and helping us to craft a new and inclusive narrative for our country, a narrative reflective of our common heritage and most importantly, our shared future,” Motlanthe said.
Motlanthe said OR Tambo was an internationalist who forged and developed lasting relationships at party-to-party level as well as people-to-people level.
“In many ways, OR Tambo’s life and work personified solidarity and his life was an example of international solidarity. This vision accounted for the unprecedented international support the ANC received during the dark days of exile.
“Comrade President OR, as he was affectionately known, was a servant of the people who gave his all for our liberation struggle, serving for the longest period as the President-General, commander-in-chief, as well as ambassador plenipotentiary of the ANC and the people of South Africa for most of his adult life.”
Over the past 18 years, the democratic state has put in place numerous programmes to meet the goals of reconstruction and development. These include the RDP, Gear, ASGISA, the New Growth
Path and the National Development Plan — all of which were designed to give effect to the aspirations of the Freedom Charter.
“As we take this moment to pay homage to his memory, we should always remember that the struggle he lived for is neither over nor nearer to its conclusion,” said Motlanthe.