Proceedings of the national assembly

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18 NOVEMBER 2008 Page of 292





The House met at 14:03.

The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.




The SPEAKER: Order! I wish to announce that the vacancy that occurred due to Mr K P Motlanthe being elected President has been filled by the nomination of Mr L M Kgabi with effect from 14 November 2008 and that the vacancies caused by the resignations of Ms G J Fraser-Moleketi, Mr A G H Pahad, Mr M G P Lekota, Ms A T Didiza, Mr A Erwin and Ms S P Rwexana have been filled by the nomination, with effect from 14 November 2008, of Mr E Godongwana, Ms D N Sikosana, Ms T B Sunduza, Mr P O Moloto, Ms J C Moloi-Moropa and Mr X B Mabaso respectively.

In terms of section 48 of the Constitution, members of the National Assembly must swear or affirm faithfulness to the Republic and obedience to the Constitution before they begin to perform their functions in the NA.

I also wish to announce that the vacancy which occurred in the National Assembly owing to the resignation of Mr T D H Ramphele, has been filled with effect from 31 October 2008, by the nomination of Ms T M A Gasebonwe.

I further wish to announce that the vacancies which occurred in the National Assembly owing to the resignation of Ms P G Mlambo-Ngcuka, Mr E G Pahad, Mr R Kasrils and Mr F S Mufamadi, have been filled with effect from 31 October 2008, by the nomination of Ms T M A Gasebonwe, Ms A C Mashishi, Ms S B Moiloa-Nqodi, Mr F C Fankomo and Ms F J Wright respectively. The members made and subscribed the oath or affirmation in my office.


Mr N SINGH: Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that, at the next sitting, I shall move on behalf of the IFP:

That the House notes that -

  1. the IFP has been a consistent critic of the ministerial blue lights, which have been a source of chaos on the provinces’ roads;

  1. in the latest incident a member of the security unit of the KZN MEC for Social Development, Mechack Radebe, has been arrested for shooting at a tyre of a motorist who failed to move over to a slower lane of the N3, near Pietermaritzburg, on Saturday, causing an accident that left eight people injured;

  1. the IFP believes that MEC Radebe must be held accountable for this incident;

  1. the IFP further believes that clear guidelines and rules now need to be put in place so that this unlawful behaviour is stopped before innocent lives are lost;

  1. the users of blue lights seem now to have become a law unto themselves; and

  1. an urgent debate in Parliament is therefore called for on this matter.


(Draft Resolution)

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I move without notice:

That the House -

Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Speaker, there are other motions without notice before we get to the Order Paper. I wonder if we could put those first.



(Draft Resolution)

Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Speaker, I move without notice:

That the House –

(1) notes that Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States of America on Tuesday, 4 November 2008;

(2) further notes that the 2008 US presidential election saw the highest voter turnout since 1908, demonstrating how Americans have embraced their democratic right to have a direct say in the governance of their country;

(3) recognises that Barack Obama is the first black president of the United States, signifying how he has been able to transcend racial prejudice and also how the country has overcome injustices of the past that include slavery and segregation;

(4) acknowledges how this election united Americans from different races, cultures, religions and age groups, who all voted for Barack Obama;

(5) congratulates Barack Obama on his election as US President and all Americans who voted and who succeeded in making these US elections an example of democracy at its best and a model worthy of emulation across the world; and

(6) wishes President Obama well for his presidential term.

Agreed to.


(Draft Resolution)

Ms S V KALYAN: Madam Speaker, I move without notice:

That the House –

(1) notes that Monday, 1 December 2008, is World Aids Day and marks the 20th anniversary of this internationally recognised day;

(2) further notes that the number of people living with HIV/Aids is continuing to rise in every part of the world and that there are now around 33 million people living with HIV/Aids worldwide;

(3) recognises that South Africa has one of the highest prevalence of HIV/Aids in the world and around 65% of Aids-related deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa;

(4) further recognises that people living with HIV/Aids often face discrimination from others due to the fact that HIV/Aids still carries a social stigma in our country and that the pandemic has pervaded every sphere of our society and has left over a million children orphaned across South Africa;

(5) acknowledges the selfless role stakeholders in civil society and in local communities have played in fighting the enormous social consequences of the HIV/Aids pandemic in our country;

(6) further acknowledges that education is needed to prevent an increase in new infections and that all South Africans, especially our leaders, need to speak loudly and unambiguously about HIV/Aids; and

(7) calls on all South Africans to stand together to fight this pandemic and to support and care for those whose lives have been ravaged by HIV/Aids.

Agreed to.


(Draft Resolution)

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I move without notice:

That the House –

    1. notes the serious global financial crisis that is affecting both developed and developing economies across the world with no abatement;

    1. further notes that the deteriorating economic environment is largely a result of a slowing global economy following the world’s longest growth trajectory, a sustained low inflation and low interest rates periods resulting in reckless lending practices, holding of risky speculative assets and derivatives, low appreciation of risk management practices and deregulation of the financial sector, leading to the collapse of the inter-bank lending system, withdrawal of liquidity short-term bank curatorships and a bust in the international financial systems;

    1. further notes that, despite pursuance of a neo-liberal agenda, a substantial majority of developed countries, especially the United States of America, USA, and the United Kingdom, UK, have embarked on partial nationalisation of banks as well as some of the financial institutions that are seriously affected by the current financial crisis over and above bailing them out financially;

    1. recognises that the meetings and declarations of world leaders, including the Summit on Financial Markets and World Economy, the G-20 meeting of Finance Ministers and Governors, and the meeting of African Ministers of Finance and Planning and Governors of the Central Banks have conceded to the call for strong action to be taken to stabilise the financial system, the use of appropriate fiscal and monetary policy to stimulate domestic demand, greater macroeconomic co-operation to avoid negative spillovers, support for emerging and developing markets and the need to ensure the restructuring of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, the World Bank, WB, and other Multilateral Development Banks, MDBs;

    1. believes that the resolution taken by the recent 119th Inter-Parliamentary Union General Assembly in Geneva to organise as soon as possible an international parliamentary conference to examine the causes and effects of the international financial crisis on the global economic system and identify ways of dealing with the consequences of this crisis, is correct; and

    1. urges the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank, PNoWB, Conference, which will convene in Paris from 18 to 22 November 2008, to provide leadership as elected public representatives and address the current crisis as a matter of urgency in consultation with the IPU.

Agreed to.


(The late Prof Es’kia Mphahlele)

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker I move without notice:

That the House –

(1) notes with profound sadness the death of Professor Es’kia Mphahlele on Monday, 27 October 2008;

(2) further notes that Professor Mphahlele lived out a career that was emblematic of a whole generation of writers;

(3) recalls that, together with Lewis Nkosi, they were leading and towering figures in the Drum generation of writers that came to prominence in the 1950s in the magazine of which he was responsible for editing fiction stories and for which he was also a political reporter;

(4) further recalls that in 1957 Professor Es’kia Mphahlele left the country of his birth, South Africa, and went to live in exile in, amongst others, countries such as Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya and the United States of America;

(5) recognises that he has written several books that depict the life of a black South African, which include: Down Second Avenue, Africa My Music, Man Must Live and The Wanderers, to mention but a few; and

(6) conveys its condolences to the Mphahlele family, his friends and the academic fraternity.

Agreed to.


(The late Mrs Vuyiswa Tiny Nokwe)

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I move without notice:

That the House -

  1. notes with sadness the passing away of Mrs Vuyiswa “Tiny” Nokwe, on 24 October 2008;

  1. recalls that, after her matriculation at Langa High School in Cape Town, she went to study at the only tertiary institution in the country at that time that allowed black students, the University College of Fort Hare, where she obtained her BSc degree in 1951 and B.Ed in 1952 and that it was while at the same institution that she met the love of her life, Advocate Dumalisile Nokwe;

  1. further recalls that in 1964, together with Manzo, she left the country of her birth and settled in Zambia, where she took up a teaching post and remained till she returned home;

  1. acknowledges that the outstanding quality of selfless dedication and willingness to serve in whatever capacity was the hallmark of this remarkable lady and freedom fighter, and that she showed that one could maintain dignity and still be a fearless fighter; and

  1. conveys its condolences to the Nokwe family and the African National Congress.

Agreed to.


(The late Mama Miriam Zenzile Makeba)

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I move the draft resolution printed in my name on the Order Paper, as follows:

That the House -

  1. notes with shock and profound sadness the untimely death of Mama Miriam Zenzile Makeba on Sunday, 9 November 2008;

  1. further notes that the Goodwill Ambassador for South Africa died doing what she does best, namely communicating a positive message through the art of singing while she was taking part in a concert for Roberto Saviano, a writer threatened with death by the Mafia;

  1. recalls that throughout her life Mama Makeba communicated a positive message to the world about the struggle of the people of South Africa and the certainty of victory over the dark forces of apartheid colonialism through the art of song, and that she was the legendary voice of the African continent that remained very strong for democratic changes;

  1. recognises that Mama Africa received a Grammy Award for Best Folk Recording in 1965 with Harry Belafonte for An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba and that the album was about black South Africans living under apartheid, and also that she became the first black African woman to receive a Grammy Award, which she shared with folk singer Harry Belafonte in 1965; and `

  1. conveys its condolences to the Makeba family, her friends and the arts community.

The SPEAKER: Before I give parties an opportunity to address the motion as introduced by the Chief Whip, I want to acknowledge the presence of Miriam Makeba’s family in the gallery, and also that of one outstanding South African actor and cultural worker, Zakes Mokae, who lived with Miriam Makeba in the States for many years. They are present in the Speaker’s bay. Welcome to the House. [Applause.] Mr Mokae is accompanied by his friends, also from the States, and his wife, Mandy. Welcome to the House.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Madam Speaker, may I also start by welcoming, yet again, and recognising the friends and family of Miriam Makeba.

Hon members of Parliament and fellow South Africans, I am honoured to join the millions around the world to commemorate the living memory of Mama Miriam Zenzile Makeba. This past weekend at her memorial service, we joined the multitude of fans of this world-acclaimed icon to pay our last respects and say: Thank you, Mama Miriam, for sharing your life with us.

We acknowledge that she has returned to her everlasting home to watch over us as she did in this world in her capacity as our mother, sister and story teller in song. The whole world recognises her stellar achievements in the world of music in particular and culture in general.

She accomplished a great deal since her debut with legendary groups like the Manhattan Brothers and the Skylarks. As the National Heritage Council, NHC, said:

Our country and the musical world at large have not only lost an irreplaceable idol but we have lost a cultural institution all by herself.

She extended the horizons of African musicians and inspired a whole generation of Afro-pop and Afro-jazz musicians. We have lost a singer par excellence who used her beautiful voice of unique rhythmic power to spread a message that stated simply that injustice anywhere must be challenged and the struggle for truth must continue. Even in her last days, she was participating in a concert in Italy for an Italian journalist whose life had been threatened after publishing a book critical of the mafia.

Today, we are gathered in this House to remember South Africa’s Goodwill Ambassador to Africa, to pay homage to a woman who sacrificed much for us to be free. Her contributions to our liberation are legendary, as when she stood at the United Nations in 1963 to decry and denounce a system of unimaginable dehumanisation to its citizens. Those of us who were privileged to bask in her glory and glow in her shadow recall a woman and a sister whose humility came naturally.

Mama Miriam was not a pretender to her queenly throne. She was kind, she was giving and she was there for her contemporaries who struggled to cope with life in exile. Mama Miriam’s actions spoke louder than our pronouncements of her abilities as a caring singer.

In being honoured as South Africa’s first ever Goodwill Ambassador in March 2001, the former President said that he recognised and honoured Ms Makeba’s contribution over the decades in playing a lead role internationally, in the struggle for the African people’s freedom and their emancipation from slavery, colonialism and apartheid, and in the instilling of pride in African history, culture and civilisation.

Africa has lost a true daughter and patriot to whom it was unforgivable to be a singer and just entertain without educating the world about the tragedy of women survivors in the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.

In March this year, she went to the DRC in her capacity as the Food and Agriculture Organisation Ambassador. She also expressed concern to us here in South Africa about sexual violence. Her words ring true for Africa that even though women, and I quote, “guarantee the survival of 80% of households ... they are frequently victims to rape”.

These are not the words of a woman who was only interested in world fame or becoming rich; she was acquainted with the sea of poverty, hunger and hopelessness besetting our families and neighbourhoods. Her life is a message by itself to all people who aspire to either public office or celebrity status. Her life says to all of us as public representatives that such positions carry a responsibility to those without a voice. Her life says that to be a public figure is to be selflessly dedicated to the poor, the marginalised and the vulnerable. Mama Makeba managed to combine effortlessly her commitment to her craft and art along with her love for her people, especially young children.

The accolades she garnered in the five decades she was in the public spotlight speak to a person who could not sit idly by when she was told of the abused girl-children, who do not have a home and people to care for them.

These accolades speak to someone who founded and became a benefactor to the Makeba Rehabilitation Centre for Girls, which opened in 2003 in Midrand. This centre caters for girls ranging in age from 11 to 17 years, and what is truly touching about this centre is that these girls come from dysfunctional families, and some are orphans.

She has done it all and received all known acknowledgements, from Grammy Awards to a Swedish Polar Music Prize, as well as the Dag Hammarskjöld Prize for Peace in 1986, and in 1999 she received the National Order for Meritorious Service from South Africa.

Her story of triumph in this world does not end here. Mama Miriam is a woman, a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother who also took up the initiative of developing continental networks among women from South Africa and West Africa. In this capacity she set up a Skills Development Exchange Programme, which is a continent-wide collaboration.

It is my wish that the younger generation of musicians that are trustees of her legacy will take up the baton and work to transform lives of others for the better. This is what “Mama Africa” has striven to do since she went into exile in 1959, being a light of inspiration to her fellow musicians, lifting up and empowering women and children and simply being an unparalleled role model to all of us.

It was thus befitting that she was voted 38th in the top 100 poll of Great South Africans in 2004.

I recall her words on the already-mentioned trip to the DRC this year:

I would like my visit to this country to be an opportunity to renew and strengthen our commitment and ensure that innocent victims suffering from hunger have access to the necessary resources to cultivate their hopes for a better life.

When I think of Mama Zenzile Makeba, I seem to recall another heroine, Ms Ella Fitzgerald, when she sang Skylark. The lyrics to this classical tune are familiar on this occasion:

Skylark, have you anything to say to me? Is there a meadow in the mist? Have you seen a valley green with spring? Where my heart can go a-journeying over the shadows and the rain to a blossom-covered land? Oh Skylark, won’t you lead me there?

I see I have some time, and I wish to share with you some of the words we listened to at the funeral service on Saturday.

When the Minister of Arts and Culture addressed the funeral service, among other things, he referred to the endless love of music of “Mama Africa”.

She kept telling us that she was retiring. And I think hon members will remember when she sang to us, some years back, at one of those beginning-of-the-year concerts. She did even on that occasion announce that she was retiring. But look where she died, coming down from a stage, after singing. She could never get herself to stop singing. I always say she left beautifully, because she left us after doing something that was what she enjoyed most in life; what she did best in life.

I also want to refer to the words of Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who referred to her generosity. Among stories she told was a story of how Mama Miriam came across her daughter at an airport, and the child had lost her luggage. Without hesitating, she took out some money and gave it to her to go and buy clothes for herself. That is why we say that she was not just a star on stage; she was a beautiful human being, a mother and a very gentle person.

In working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she co-operated unhesitatingly with the Minister on the many needs that they had to address, sometimes without having planned ahead, and she would immediately just offer herself and her energies to assist in addressing the problems that the department was faced with.

The speech that touched me most was that of her 13-year-old great-grandson, who told us that, of course, he ought to have been calling her “ukhokho” that is great-grandmother, but he called her “gogo” [grandmother]. He also said that she was her own person.

She got to America and, of course, any normal human being would immediately start playing the game according to what the people around you are doing, but Miriam stayed African; in the way she carried herself, in the songs that she sang, the preoccupations that, in fact, informed the content of the music. At the end, Lindelani said that we should learn from her.

I think that that is a great message that we should also leave in this House today. In the way she lived her life, the way she loved Africa, and, in fact, became more of an African than a South African, we should learn from her.

I believe that a better place is where Mama Makeba is at present.

At her memorial service this past Saturday, I was touched also by a wonderful rendition of hers of a biblical song, and I felt that it was a fitting end to a most dignified life and a most dignified woman. The song I am referring to is titled When I Die Tomorrow, and I wish to briefly quote its touching lyrics,

When I die tomorrow, I will say to the Lord, Oh Lord you’ve been my friend. Thank you, Lord. Oh Lord, I’m your child, Oh Lord, I am your child.

May her soul rest in peace!

Thank you.

Mrs D VAN DER WALT: Madam Speaker, `` a larger-than-life lioness of the struggle and a songstress in whom Africa had found her voice’’: This is how the publicist, Mark Le Chat, so aptly paid tribute to Miriam Makeba in his foreword to her 2004 album, Reflections. As he recounted his presence in the hot and fevered atmosphere where her arrival was awaited in a downtown club in Johannesburg in December of 1990, suddenly, he recounts, the room went quiet in a reverential kind of way as Miriam Makeba stood in the doorway, clothed in a headdress and robe fashioned from the gorgeous fabrics of Guinea-regal, yet paradoxically humble. She was seemingly shy. Yet the owner of a powerful persona which took your breath away momentarily before the assembled crowd burst into ululating, applause and tears.

The mark that Miriam Makeba left on the global music scene and the great service that she has done to both African and South African music will live on for decades to come.

She remains one of the most important female vocalists to have emerged out of South Africa. She has rightly been hailed the Empress of African Song and Mama Africa, not only for her prowess as a musician but also for helping to bring African music to a global audience in the important decade of the 1960s.

More than five decades after her debut with the Manhattan Brothers, she continued to play an important role in the growth of African music on the stages of the world. The fruits of her musical contribution will live on for decades to come and nothing will ever be able to relegate it, or the memory of her gorgeously pitched range and the husky drift of her voice, to the forgotten annals of music.

But Miriam Makeba’s contribution was not only in terms of music. Her life was marked consistently by struggle. Born into poverty, she soon recognised that music was a type of magic which she could use to uplift herself. But she would always balance her vocal successes with her outspoken views about apartheid and racial injustice across the world, something for which she came to pay a heavy price.

In a regrettable step, the government of South Africa revoked her citizenship in 1960. This forced her to be a citizen of the world for the next 30 years, albeit a world that for the next 30 years was not entirely welcoming, since a number of Western governments also became unsympathetic towards her for her association with the civil rights movement.

In a lesson to all of us, Miriam Makeba prevailed as a force of good and a force of musical beauty - her fate in death being nearly as poetic as her fate in life.

On 9 November 2008, in the moments before her passing, she was taking part in a concert organised for a social cause, to support writer Roberto Saviano in his stand against the Camorra, a mafia-like organisation local to the region of Campania.

Miriam Makeba has shown herself to be a great South African. She has distinguished herself as a daughter of Africa who was proud of her continent and who enlivened many of its grand steps to liberation. But most importantly, Miriam Makeba was an outstanding global citizen who spoke out about injustice everywhere in the most beautiful songs that will permeate homes, public spaces and memories for decades to come. Lala kahle, Mama Africa. [Rest in peace, Mama Africa.] [Applause.]

Mr M B SKOSANA: Thank you, Madam Speaker, hon Ministers, Deputy Ministers and hon members, on behalf of the Inkatha Freedom Party and its President, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, I join the hon members of this respectable House in expressing our sincere condolences to the family of the late Miriam Makeba, her friends and all people of South Africa.

Much has been said about her over the past days: her life, her music and her friends – some of whom, I understand, are also here with us - her achievements, her accolades and her selfless sacrifice in the struggle for South Africa’s liberation. When one talks about Mr Zakes Mda, then I remember a play called, Come Home Child.

The demise of Miriam Makeba is a great loss for South Africa and the world, from all those who were touched by her dynamic presence and personality to those whose hearts and souls were charmed by her majestic melody and song.

Indeed, we are all poorer without her. However, we must derive much solace and comfort in the magnanimous spirit she left with us. And like Thucydides in her oration of a funeral, we say:

For heroes have the whole earth for their tomb; and in lands far from their own, where the column with its epitaph declares it, there is enshrined in every breast a record unwritten with no tablet to preserve it, except that of the heart.

The people of Italy blessed with the last performance and song from Miriam Makeba that fateful evening will testify to their fortune. Miriam Makeba was bequeathed to the world community at a very tender age. She became South Africa’s ambassador of goodwill decades before this title was officially conferred on her by the former President, Mr Thabo Mbeki.

Persecuted at home with racist draconian laws, Miriam Makeba amassed exceptional courage to tell the painful story of the people of South Africa to the United Nations, presidents, kings, and prime ministers around the world.

Long after the mourning period is over and tears of sorrow have been gracefully wiped away, long after memorial services and eulogies have passed, long after the gospel choirs, symphonies, musicians and bands of all shades have ended their renditions, Miriam Makeba’s beautiful song will remain with us and with the people of the world.

For now, let us be content that the songbird sings no more for us, but sings with the angels above. May God keep her soul. Amen. [Applause.]

Mr G T MADIKIZA: Madam Speaker and hon members, the United Democratic Movement wishes to extend our deepest heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the late Miriam Makeba during this time of bereavement.

Mama Africa, as she was affectionately known, attained many tremendous achievements during her lifespan. She will be remembered as a person who lived her life to the fullest. She will also be remembered for her talent, style and passionate belief in what she was doing, as well as carrying a message of hope for South Africans during trying times inside and outside the country.

Her legacy lives on through the accomplishments of her children and the younger generation who aspire to be musicians. The youth of today can learn from the discipline and respect that Miriam Makeba embraced throughout her life.

She was rated among the leading proponents of change in South Africa. We have lost a true role model whose work will always be remembered. Indeed, hers is a sad loss to the country and to the continent. May her soul rest in peace. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mrs P DE LILLE: Madam Speaker, on behalf of the ID, I want to express our condolences to the family of our sister, Miriam Makeba. Mama Africa’s contribution towards the struggle against apartheid can never be overstated. Miriam Makeba was the daughter of the soil who liberated our country with her beautiful voice. She appealed to young and old, and her activism as a singer who sang about real issues is a hard act for singers of today to follow. We will forever be indebted to her for the countless times we were made to feel alive and free by her beautiful voice, even during oppression.

To her family and millions of fans around the world, I would like to say, this is not only a time for mourning; it is also an opportunity to celebrate the contribution of her life to our nation. May her soul rest in peace. Thank you. [Applause.]

Rev K R J MESHOE: Madam Speaker, the ACDP is saddened by the loss of Mama Africa, Zenzile Miriam Makeba; a great lady, musician, activist and an ambassador for black people everywhere, who made famous the phrase, “black is beautiful.” Her rich voice sang songs that decried oppression wherever she found it. Her “Click Song” and “Pata Pata” become international hits, bringing attention to the plight of black people suffering under apartheid. She declared that she would sing until the day she died, which she did, in Italy, in the open air at an antiracism and anti-Mafia concert.

Mama Africa twice addressed the United Nations, speaking out against the evils of apartheid, and her fearless humanitarianism earned her many international awards. She weathered many storms, including several car accidents, a plane crash and even cancer, and was as active in her latter days as if she were still a young girl.

It was heartwarming to hear that at the age of 74, Mama Makeba insisted on doing a studio interview when she could have stayed home and done it over the telephone. It revealed a woman of much humility despite her immense fame. The ACDP expresses heartfelt condolences to the family. We join you, together with people all over the world, in mourning your great loss. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr P H K DITSHETELO: Madam Speaker, hon members, the legendary South African singer, fondly known as Mama Africa, has passed away. In 1963, her South African citizenship was revoked after testifying before the United Nations Congress on the issue of apartheid. She was not welcome in her own country, but 10 different countries made Makeba an honorary citizen and they all issued her with passports.

The South African government’s radio and television refused to broadcast her songs until 1989. It was only in 1990, when many long-exiled South Africans returned, that she was able to return home. We want to honour her today and thank her for the tremendous sacrifice and contribution she made by leaving behind her family and still continuing to make us proud as she used her fame to focus attention on the abomination of apartheid.

Re lebogela botshelo ba ga Mama Afrika. O dirile tiro ya gagwe e e neng e mo tshwanetse, e e neng a e rata. O tlhokafetse a e dira. A Modimo o nne le ena. Re leboga le go utlwa botlhoko le bagaabo. A kagiso e nne le bone. [Legofi.] (Translation of Setswana paragraph follows.)

[We would like to pay tribute to Mama Africa. She played her part. She was passionate about singing; that is why it was not surprising that she met her untimely death while singing. Let the Lord be with her. We celebrate her life and we would like to convey our condolences to her family. Let peace be with them. [Applause.]]

Ms S RAJBALLY: Madam Speaker, I cannot express the shock and dismay I felt when hearing the news of the passing away of our beloved Mama Africa. The late Miriam Makeba was a light to our nation and her melodious voice rang out the sweetness of our people, on being African.

Miriam Makeba, though a great celebrity and loved globally, did not live unscathed by the apartheid regime. Her return to South Africa brought back to our people an angel of light, to whom she was a best friend, a mother and a sister.

The MF takes this opportunity to express our deepest condolences to the family, friends and the entire nation on the loss of this magnificent artist and an amazing lady, Miriam Makeba. Miriam, you will always be our angel and as you pata pata our hearts, you’ll live in them forever. God bless you. May you rest in peace. Thank you. [Applause.]

Dr S E M PHEKO: Madam Speaker, Miriam Zenzile Makeba defied the circumstances of her birth. She was only 18 days old when her mother was imprisoned for six months for brewing African beer. This was illegal according to colonial laws. Her mother took her with her to jail. Miriam also lost her father when she was six years old. Childhood was, for Miriam Makeba, a bundle of despair, but she rose to be a celebrated musician internationally and earned the title “Mama Africa.” She was not a politician, but a musician par excellence. She was sensitive to the national humiliation of her people. Many of her songs spoke to suffering and dispossession of her people. She sang ...

Bahleli bonke etilongweni; bahleli bonke kwaNongqongqo.

Yini na ma-Afrika?

She sang:

Nanku, nanku uSobukwe; nanku, nanku noMandela.

She sang:

Abantwana beAfrika bakhalela izwe labo, elathathwa ngabamhlophe. Mabawuyeke umhlaba wethu!

She consulted with Johnson Makhathini of the ANC and the David Sibekos of the PAC at the United Nations. She treated all leaders of our country with respect. She knew that all freedom fighters of this country were sacrificing for some noble cause. She gave them equal respect and recognition, and her speech is testimony to this.

Anyway, death is a necessary end. “It will come when it will come,” as Shakespeare put it, but in the context of eschatology, death is a passport to a deathless land beyond the universe. Mama Africa for now:

Mabawuyeke umhlaba wethu.

We shall sing that song until the objective for which the liberation struggle was waged is achieved.

Tsamaya ka kgotso kgabane ya Afrika, re lla le lona he, ba ha Makeba. Bohle re tseba hore ngwana wa lona e ne e se moradi wa lona feela, e ne e le moradi wa Afrika, e ne e le moradi wa rona kaofela. Re a le leboha ka ho mo adima batho ba Afrika. Ke a leboha. [Mahofi.] (Translation of Sesotho paragraph follows.)

[Go well, Mama Africa; we sympathise with you, the Makeba family. We all know that your daughter did not belong to you alone; she was the daughter of Africa, and she was a daughter to all of us. We thank you for lending her to the people of Africa. Thank you. [Applause.]]

Mr L M GREEN: Madam Speaker, the late Miriam Makeba was a world musical icon. She was a daughter of this soil who sang her way into the hearts of millions of people, and her “Click Song” brought melodious joy to all of us. “Pata Pata”, one of her most famous songs, is a classic and as it means dance, we believe that such was the influence of her songs. It brought happiness to our souls.

She will be missed, but she died while doing what she does best, and that is singing to international audiences. Her death will be mourned by us all, for she has made her mark on the world stage; not only as a singer, but as a humanitarian activist as well. She made her contribution to making this world a better place. Her virtues were those of integrity, respect for others, charity and unselfish service.

South Africa has over the past few years lost many excellent artists through death, some naturally, others through violence. We become poorer in spirit if these icons are not recognised for what they contribute to the soul of our nation.

On behalf of the FD, I wish to express our sincere condolences to the family of Miriam Makeba. May the Lord be with the family and loved ones of the late Miriam Makeba during the time of bereavement and may they be consoled with the knowledge that though she is no longer with us, her songs and memories will remain in our hearts for generations to come. May the soul of Miriam Makeba rest in peace. Thank you. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.

Motion agreed to.


(The late Mr B Nair)


That the House -

(1) notes with profound sadness the passing away of Mr Billy Nair on 23 October 2008;

(2) recalls that Mr Nair committed his life to the cause of freedom, peace and democracy and that he joined the Natal Indian Youth Congress in 1949, became its Secretary in 1950 and later joined the Natal Indian Congress and that he was also a volunteer in the 1952 Defiance Campaign and served on the first executive committee of the South African Congress of Trade Unions;

(3) further recalls that Mr Nair was active in Umkhonto weSizwe from its establishment on 16 December 1961 and in 1963 was charged with sabotage and received a 20-year sentence, which he served on Robben Island and that Mr Nair had also been a member of the national executive committee of the United Democratic Front, the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party, the National Executive Committee of the ANC and in 1994 became a Member of Parliament until 2004;

(4) acknowledges the momentous role played by Mr Nair towards the birth of a nonracial, nonsexist and democratic South Africa, as well as his immense contribution in the reconstruction and development of our country; and

(5) conveys its condolences to the Nair family, the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party.

The SPEAKER: No objections to the motion. Agreed to. The condolences will be conveyed to the Nair family, the African National Congress, and the South African Communist Party.

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