Mourners at the memorial service for the late African National Congress (ANC) and South African Congress Party (SACP) veteran Eric ‘Stalin’ Mtshali in Durban say the best way in which to honour him would be for the alliance members to put aside their differences and unite.

Mtshali is said to have strongly criticised leaders for behaviour which he believed was tarnishing the image of the movement.  Mtshali (84) was hailed as a selfless leader and an embodiment of the alliance.

Mtshali had a lengthy political career, having played a big role in the SACP.

He was also involved in the formation of Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union and had been honoured with the National Order of the Mendi in Silver.

SACP leaders described Mtshali as an unsung hero and a principled activist.

SACP Central Executive Committee member Lechesa Tsenoli says Mtshali opposed corruption and was not afraid to speak his mind.

Concerns were also raised about the current state of the ANC as it faces challenges of disunity, decline in support in some areas and political killings in KwaZulu-Natal.

President of the World Federation of Trade Unions Mzwandile Makwayiba says: “Comrade Stalin would not want to see a factional ANC. Comrade Stalin would not want to see a divided ANC. If you kill each other here in KZN, who do you think will lead the ANC and who will lead this country? Why are we fighting? Why can’t we talk if there are problems and resolve them?”

ANC NEC member Nocawe Mafu said despite challenges, the party has started to renew, self-correct correct itself and unite.

She told the mourners that the biggest gift that each member can give to Mtshali would be to work for unity.

Mtshali’s funeral will be held on Sunday at the Sugar Ray Xulu stadium in Claremont west of Durban.

The stalwart will be honoured with an official funeral.

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