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By Getrude Makhafola

Premium Journalist

Former PAC leader Motsoko Pheko dies

Pheko served in Parliament between 2003 and 2006 as PAC president.

Anti-apartheid stalwart and former leader of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) Motsoko Pheko has passed away, aged 93.

The Pheko family announced his passing in a statement on Saturday.

“We are grateful to God for the time spent with him, the love he so selflessly imparted, including his knowledge as a renowned Africanist, lawyer, author, historian, academic and politician.

“We hope you stand in solidarity with us as we seek peace and quiet to reflect on this momentous occasion.

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Pheko led the PAC between 2003 and 2006, the period before factionalism festered in the party.

The infighting saw former PAC deputy president Themba Godi leave to form the African People’s Convention (APC).

The Africanist

Motsoko was born in neighbouring Lesotho in 1933. Following the death of his parents, him and his brother moved to South Africa to live with a relative.

In 1960, Pheko joined the PAC, founded by Robert Sobukwe in 1958.

He joined political activism against the apartheid regime and was soon arrested and handed a hefty jail sentence.

Upon his release from prison, the anti-apartheid stalwart went into exile, where he stayed for 30 years. He worked in New York, USA, the United Kingdom, Zambia and Tanzania, according to online history site SA History Online.

Following the dawn of democracy in 1994 and his return back home, Pheko, as PAC president, was elected to serve in Parliament in 2003.

The 93-year-old butted heads with the PAC and was subsequently expelled over missing party funds in 2007.

Although he successfully challenged his expulsion in the high court, the PAC expelled him again in 2008.

His seat in Parliament was taken by Letlapa Mphahlele, who replaced him as party president at the PAC elective conference in Qwa Qwa, Free State in 2006.

Over the decades, Pheko gave speeches and presented papers. Some of his vast work is archived by UNISA.

He has authored at least 30 books on law, politics, history, among other topics.

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