Thursday, 05 May 2022
Pretoria: In honour of the late former member of the Presidential Panels, Silumko Sokupa, President Cyril Ramaphosa says government must remain resolute in its work to end corruption and state capture.
“He saw state capture and corruption as an assault on the poor and vulnerable. He saw it as an act of counter-revolution, eroding the democratic state and stealing the resources meant to improve people’s lives,” the President said on Thursday.
He made these remarks while delivering the eulogy at the funeral of Sokupa who passed away last Tuesday, 26 April 2022 after a short illness.
“Corruption and state capture constituted the very antithesis of what he stood for: service to the people without expectation of any personal material gain.
“We must forge ahead with the restoration of the integrity and credibility of the intelligence services, our law enforcement agencies and all our public institutions,” the President said.
He served the State Security Agency in various capacities over his long and illustrious career in the public service and was the Deputy Director-General of the South African Secret Services before being appointed Coordinator for the Intelligence Services located in the National Intelligence Coordinating Committee (NICOC).
In 2018, President Ramaphosa appointed Sokupa as a member of the High-Level Review Panel on the mandate, capacity and organisational integrity of the State Security Agency.
In 2021, the President appointed Sokupa as a member of the panel of experts chaired by Prof Sandy Africa probing the July 2021 unrest.
Affectionately known as Bra Soks, the President paid tribute to him for being part of a generation that fought fiercely in the 1970s and 1980s for the attainment of freedom.
“He was one of the generation charged with translating the theoretical perspectives of his movement, the African National Congress, into policies that would make freedom meaningful.
“With the advent of democracy, Bra Soks was one of those given the task of forging a new democratic state with the capacity and the orientation to build a better life for all.
“Like many of his generation, Bra Soks was conscientised during the late 1960s in the Black Consciousness Movement led by Steve Bantu Biko,” President Ramaphosa said.
He was part of the generation that kept alive the flames of liberation that the apartheid regime sought to extinguish by imprisoning leaders or forcing them into exile.
“His political grounding in the South African Students Organisation, where he served as Secretary General, was to establish in him a life-long commitment to improving the conditions of the South African people.
“Beyond the broader struggle for national liberation, Bra Soks and his peers sought very practical solutions to the challenges that faced our people on a daily basis.
“Armed with very few resources, but driven by great conviction, they set up health facilities, law clinics, adult literacy programmes and other initiatives that had a direct impact on the daily existence of black South Africans,” the President said.
He worked tirelessly in the underground and played an important role in the ANC’s intelligence work.
“After the unbanning of the liberation movement, Bra Soks played a pivotal role in rebuilding the structures of the organisation in the Eastern Cape. Despite his preference to provide leadership from the background, he was elected Regional Chairperson of the ANC Border Region in 1991.
“His election, as someone who had just returned from exile, speaks volumes about his leadership capacity and the high regard in which he was held within the structures of the mass democratic movement,” the President said.
Those who served with him in the Regional Executive Committee remarked at his quiet but firm leadership style which was highly appreciated by all.
“He was deeply principled, and never sought positions, publicity or personal wealth. These leadership features, being quiet but firm, were important because the complexities of our transition to democracy demanded nothing less.
“Bra Soks was a dedicated public servant who served with distinction in every position he occupied and every responsibility he was given. He played a particularly significant role in the transformation and development of our intelligence services,” the President said.
He said throughout this work and throughout his life – he remained true to his character and true to his convictions.
“He remained true to his movement, but most of all, he remained true to the people. It was out of his deep love of his people that was born his deep disappointment at the extent of corruption in our society.” the President said.