Eleanor Kasrils was an outstanding patriot - Zuma

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has described the late Eleanor Kasrils as an outstanding patriot, who had compassion, humanity and integrity.

"A person of great principle, Eleanor was resolute in her commitment to the people of this country and to the cause of freedom everywhere. South Africa has lost a beloved daughter. Africa has lost an outstanding patriot," said the President, in a message read out on his behalf at a memorial service in honour of Kasrils on Saturday.

The message was addressed to Eleanor Kasrils' husband and former Intelligence Minister, Ronnie Kasrils. She died last weekend after suffering a stroke.

Zuma said her death was a profound loss, not only for the Kasrils family and for her friends and comrades, but for all those who shared her desire for a free, democratic and just South Africa.

She made a determined contribution over many decades to the struggle for freedom.

"From her early days in the movement and the struggle, and through her involvement in Umkhonto we Sizwe, Comrade Eleanor demonstrated great bravery, resourcefulness and initiative. We recall her role in the success of our early sabotage campaigns in Durban, and her daring escape from detention.

"It was during this period that her qualities as a capable and courageous freedom fighter became apparent; qualities that she was to demonstrate throughout her involvement in the struggle. Yet throughout the difficult years of exile, in the underground, during times of great danger and adversity, Comrade Eleanor was the glue that held her family together.

"Like many of our people in exile, she had to overcome the hardships of separation, uncertainty and financial insecurity. She did so with grace and resolve, without complaint or self-pity," said the President.

He added that looking back on her life, one was reminded of her compassion, humanity and integrity.

He hoped that Kasrils' children, Brigid, Andrew and Chris, would be able to draw some comfort from the many heartfelt tributes that have been paid by those who loved, respected and admired her.

The President said that Kasrils had been more than just a comrade because of his close relationship with Ronnie Kasrils. He added that her death had "really touched me".

"As we mourn this loss together, let us find solace in the knowledge that the ideals to which Comrade Eleanor dedicated her life remain at the centre of our national effort to achieve a better life for all our people. May her soul rest in peace."