South Africa must double its efforts in the fight against corruption in honour of veteran freedom fighter Lesibe Isaac “Bra Ike” Maphoto, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Delivering Maphoto’s eulogy at the Polokwane Cricket Club on Sunday, President Ramaphosa said all those who facilitated the capture of the state by private interests must be held accountable.
“Bra Ike abhorred corruption and the abuse of the movement to enrich oneself. I am certain that Bra Ike would have been in the forefront of those against the beneficiaries and defenders of state capture,” the President said.
He had declared a Special Official Funeral for the highly regarded liberation fighter who passed away on 13 July 2019, at the age of 88. In terms of the declaration, the national flag is flown at half-mast throughout the country and the South African National Defence Force performs ceremonial elements as part of the funeral proceedings.
Bra Ike was a recipient of the National Order of Luthuli in Silver for his contribution to the struggle for freedom and democracy and he received the Department of Military Veterans’ Order of Gold for bravery in 2012.
“To carry on this legacy we must sharpen our revolutionary conviction to contribute to the ongoing transformation of our country. And that we do so without any motive of material advantage or personal gain,” the President said.
President Ramaphosa described the liberation fighter as a man of distinction, resolve, immense courage, and of selflessness.
“A man who devoted his life to the liberation of our people. We must emulate his example of humility and volunteerism.
“Let us emulate his commitment to and love of education – and encourage our children to take advantage of all the educational opportunities at their disposal and study particularly subjects that respond to the rapidly changing nature of work,” he said.
The President called on young people to pick up the spear that has fallen.
“Theirs was a battle against the forces of racism. Let us strive and fight with equal measure to overcome the ills of our society today. The ills of poverty and injustice, of violence against women and children, against disease, and against racism and inequality,” he said.
He said Bra Ike and the veterans answered history’s call when they took up arms in the cause of freedom, at a time when the liberation forces were in the crosshairs of the racist Pretoria regime at a time like no other.
“The men and women who joined Umkhonto we Sizwe at such a time were amongst the bravest of the brave. It was a time when any association with the liberation movement risked imprisonment, and even death.
“But they were of uncompromising revolutionary morality, and understood that a life that was not lived in freedom, was no life at all,” he said.
Paying tribute to his father, Mike Maphoto described him as a servant of the people.
“He loved children, he could not leave a child [who was not going] to school because of money. He fought so hard for young people to get bursaries, he did all he could to make sure that children went to school,” he said.
He thanked the President for declaring a special official funeral for his father.
“This is what he requested, he told me that when he dies he wants the army and the President to be there because he deserves it. For him it was a wish - his dream has come true,” he said.
Maphoto is survived by two sisters, three sons, a daughter, 14 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. – SAnews.gov.za