SALGA pays tribute to Mme Ruth

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Pretoria - The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) says it will remember Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati as a crop of leadership that established local government, as it celebrates 15 years of democratic local governance.

On Tuesday, SALGA said it was deeply saddened by the passing of former Mayor, struggle icon, former Member of Parliament and the Ambassador of South Africa in Switzerland, Mme Ruth, as she was affectionately known. 

Mme Ruth, 89, who passed on Tuesday, was born in Tlapeng village, near Vryburg, in the then Western Transvaal.

“The Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality (formerly Bophirima District Municipality) in the North West, where she was born and later served as mayor, is named after her. This is also where a statue symbolising her contribution was recently unveiled.

“We pledge our solidarity and convey our heartfelt condolences to the Mompati family and loved ones. We lower our banner to honour her life which she dedicated in the service of our people, and pledge to pick up the spear and redouble our efforts in advancing the quest to deepen local democracy, development and provision of quality services to our people,” said SALGA.

SALGA remembers her as the former typist of the Mandela and Tambo law firm and a leader of the anti-pass laws in the early 80s.

“Mompati’s commitment to fight for the liberation and emancipation of this country forced her into exile, only to return later to form part of the delegation that opened the dialogue with the South African government at Groote Schuur in 1990,” said SALGA.

On 10 August 1992, a day after the anniversary of the historic Women’s March to Pretoria in 1956, Mme Ruth addressed the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid in New York on the issue of women’s rights, with a view to redress the historical injustices that had been exacerbated by apartheid.

In 1994, she was elected among a first generation of African National Congress (ANC) MPs to the National Assembly, where she served until 1996 before being posted to Switzerland as an ambassador for four years.

“In 2000, she returned to Naledi Local Municipality in Vryburg, her home town, to serve as a mayor until May 2010, becoming the first crop of leadership to set up the foundation of local government,” said SALGA.

SALGA Chief Executive Officer Xolile George said local government marks 15 years of the democratic local dispensation this year, a solid foundation built with the principles and ethos of leaders such as Mme Ruth.

“As we celebrate and build on the achievements of the past, we shall take inspiration from Mompati’s leadership and her willingness to serve. Local government has come a long way since its establishment in 2000 – 15 years on and a firm foundation has been laid which we should reflect and build on as we lead up to the 2016 Local Government elections.

“In the 15 years of democratic non-racial local government, we celebrate the significant contribution made by leaders such as Mme Mompati for their contribution in the expansion of social infrastructure and services to poor households in the form of a basket of social services like free basic water, electricity, solid waste collection, sanitation and sewer connectivity – which are as a result of local government at work,” said George. -