Tributes are pouring in for the National Teachers’ Union (Natu) President, Allen Thompson, who died after a short illness.
The National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) and the Educators’ Union of South Africa (EUSA) are the latest organisations to express condolences to the family and members of Natu.
EUSA STATEMENT ON THE SUDDEN PASSING OF NATU PRESIDENT. pic.twitter.com/lZeRjUD1oR
— Educators’ Union of SA (@eusaunion) January 4, 2021
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has also expressed its sympathy, saying the education sector is poorer without Thompson.
“Mr Thompson was rooted in education as a teacher, principal, parent and unionist. He was always a voice of reason, who put principle ahead of politics and fought the good fight with honesty, integrity and great valour,” party leader Velenkosini Hlabisa says in a statement.
[STATEMENT] STATEMENT BY IFP PRESIDENT HON VELENKOSINI HLABISA MPL (@vf_hlabisa ) ON THE PASSING OF MR ALLEN THOMPSON, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL TEACHERS’ UNION #NATU #RIPAllenThompson pic.twitter.com/a158ykild6
— Inkatha Freedom Party (@IFPinParliament) January 4, 2021
Thompson’s death also came as a shock to his Natu colleagues.
Former Natu President, Siphosethu Ngcobo, who worked with Thompson for a long time, says they believed he would recover.
“Thompson was known as a man and a leader who never minded his words fighting for educators throughout the country. Although his voice is now silent, his legacy will remain.”
Ngcobo says Thompson worked tirelessly for the union and was one of the youngest labour movement leaders.
“Mr. Thompson is indescribable, you can describe him as a type of a leader who when he came into the organisation entering the leadership sphere for the first time, just excelled throughout, he has never been pushed like a wheelbarrow hence, he is the president now he is one of the youngest presidents ever in the labour movements, therefore, I take him as somebody who had those leadership qualities you cannot find anywhere.”
Earlier, the union’s Central Executive Board met with Thompson’s family.
The Department of Basic Education has also expressed shock at the Natu President’s passing.
Some South Africans, including media personalities, have also weighed in on Thompson’s death.
Sad to hear that NATU President Allen Thompson has passed away, it was always a pleasure to chat to him on air, he was very passionate about education & in particular working conditions of educators, my sincere condolences to his family, friends & those at NATU, what a loss
— Flo Letoaba – Duchess of Diepkloof™️?? (@Flo_Letoaba) January 4, 2021
Fare you well President of NATU. Death is really a brutal constant companion. Lala uphumule mongameli pic.twitter.com/WSeOB1bvWG
— Kwazi Mshengu (@MshenguKwazi) January 4, 2021
I envyed his leadership, his leadership style&his character. He was an open minded leader, varsetile, a radical&gave a grimpse of a revolutionary. He was a genuine leader who fought for d complete welfare of educators,within&outside our union. #NATUPresident #RestInPeaceThompson
— smangaliso sibiya International (@SSSIBIYA) January 4, 2021
— #MsingaNeedsWater (@Sphetho_) January 4, 2021
Rest in eternal peace NATU President, the man has been often clear with regards to educational sector, might not be NATU, however Thompson has been always clear. pic.twitter.com/YP7dUMQLK4
— @Free (@Free73377660) January 4, 2021