Pheko described as a distinguished man as tributes pour in

Dr Motsoko Pheko
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Former PAC President and liberation veteran Dr Motsoko Pheko has been described as a distinguished man, who was never fazed by a hostile majority in Parliament. This as tributes continue to pour in for the 93-year-old who passed away on Friday.

Parliament says Pheko was an MP who brought a unique perspective to the work of committees. An anti-apartheid stalwart, an academic and a Pan-Africanist leader, Pheko has been praised from all corners, including by his political home, the PAC.

“He was a leader par excellence. He was an inspiration to all of us as ordinary members. The way he articulated the PAC aspect was unmatched and we are very saddened as his organization, and we also convey our message of condolence to the family, (and) to all those who were close to Dr Pheko, his friends,” says Apa Pooe, PAC Secretary-General.

The PAC remembered his legacy as a parliamentarian.

“He was a prolific writer. He documented a lot of things that were happening during the liberation struggle and this country and what the PAC stood for. In parliament he clearly articulated what is the PAC’s position on various aspects, particularly the issue of the land, emphasizing that the struggle in this country was about the return of the land to Africans. And we should take that as the legacy that he leaves behind for all of us. And as we approach the elections, we see now there are many organizations outside the PAC who are articulating the issue of the land,” Pooe added.

One of Pheko’s peers who worked with him in Parliament, former PAC MP and founder of the African People’s Convention, Themba Godi, remembers him as a fearless campaigner.

“He was a hardworking man. He attended all his committee meetings. He took his role seriously and he defended the course of Pan Africanism with passion, without compromise, irrespective of what the majority views were in parliament.”

Video: Dr Motsoko Pheko – ‘Having worked with him for some time, this loss cuts very deep’: Themba Godi

Parliament has joined those who extended their condolences to Pheko’s family.

“The presiding officers of parliament convey their condolences to the family, to the friends as well as the colleagues of Dr Motsoko Pheko. Dr Pheko was a distinguished author, thinker, he was a freedom fighter who dedicated his live to the pursuit of justice and freedom and to the liberation of the great majority of the people of this country,” says Moloto Mothapo, Parliament Spokesperson.

The National Legislature described Pheko as a versatile Parliamentarian.

“His life and legacy is that of commitment and resilience and also commitment to the challenge the colonial narratives as well as uplifting the African voices. He was a versatile parliamentarian who regardless of the committee that he participated in, whether it is science and technology, whether it is justice and constitutional development. He brought a unique perspective to those committees and the work of the national assembly where he was a member for years. He really enhanced the quality of the laws as well as the oversight that parliament was responsible for,” Mothapo added.

Dr Pheko was a member of Parliament until 2008. His passing comes a week before South Africa celebrates thirty years of Democracy on the 27th of April.

Video: Dr. Motsoko Pheko – Unpacking the former PAC leader’s role in SA’s democracy: Adv Sipho Mantula