Tshabalala-Msimang 'a revolutionary leader'

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pretoria - Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana Mashabane has described the late Minister of Health Tshabalala-Msimang as a revolutionary leader who had made a significant contribution to the formation of the Government of National Unity.

"Comrade Manto Tshabalala-Msimang was a revolutionary leader who immensely contributed in the early years of the formation of the Government of National Unity and led women's struggles for emancipation, gender equality and freedom for all.

"We dip our revolutionary banners in memory of this gallant fighter for freedom and peace," said Nkoana Mashabane.

The minister extended her heartfelt condolences to the family of Tshabalala-Msimang who passed away yesterday at the Donald Gordon Medical Centre due to a complication from a liver transplant.

Gauteng MEC for Health and Social Development, Qedani Mahlangu, said: "She will be remembered as a champion who dedicated her life to building a reliable, responsive, caring and well-managed public health system in South Africa."

Tshabalala-Msimang served in several government positions; Minister of Health, Minister in the Presidency and Deputy Minister of Justice

At the time of her death, she was a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC), Member of Parliament and a senior member of the ANC Women's League.

Born in Durban on 9 October 1940, Tshabalala-Msimang was educated at the University of Fort Hare, a haven for black intellectuals such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

After the banning of the ANC she went to exile and lived in the Soviet Union (Russia), where she received a medical degree, and later in Tanzania, where she studied obstetrics and gynaecology.

Tshabalala-Msimang is survived by her husband and struggle veteran Mendi Msimang and two daughters.