The Presiding Officers of Parliament, led by the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, have conveyed their heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the family of the African National Congress Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte, who passed away on Sunday.
“A seasoned leader and stalwart of the anti-apartheid struggle, Ms Duarte devoted her life to the service of the people of South Africa in various capacities, both pre and post-democratic era, with courage, bravery and dedication,” said Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo in a statement.
“Ms Duarte, who as a young activist served closely under some of the greatest and iconic leaders in history such as late President Nelson Mandela, Reverend Beyers Naudé, and Ms Alberina Sisulu in pursuit of anti-apartheid struggle activities, was a lifelong champion for women’s rights, gender equality, human rights, social justice, equality and freedom.”
Mothapo remembered Duarte as being in the thick of South Africa’s democratic breakthrough, playing a key role among a generation of democrats responsible for laying a solid foundation for a new Constitutional order.
” She was one of the pioneers who set up the then PWV Provincial Legislature and was part of the Government of National Unity in the province.
“She also served in various positions at provincial and national levels, both in the government and in her party. She has been a proponent of a generational and gender mix in all government and the ANC leadership structures,” remembers Mothapo.
Duarte’s legacy will always be her feisty and fiery voice of reason during the most turbulent times in the life of our nation and the majority party in the recent past.
“South Africa has lost an outspoken and uncompromising critic of social injustice, discrimination and gender inequality in her passing.
Parliament also extends its condolences to Ms Duarte’s organisation, the ANC, her comrades and friends on this sad loss,” Mothapo concluded.