Eulogy by President Jacob Zuma at the Special Provincial Funeral Service of the late Lieutenant-General (Rtd) Lehlohonolo Moloi.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - President zuma-lehlohonolo-moloi-eulogy
Eulogy by President Jacob Zuma at the Special
Provincial Funeral Service of the late LieutenantGeneral (Rtd) LehlohonoloMoloi
03 January 2014
The Moloi family
Former President Thabo Mbeki
Gauteng Premier, Ms NomvulaMokonyane
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans and all Ministers, Premiers, and Deputy Ministers, MECs and Mayors
Leadership of the ANC and Alliance partners,
The Chief of the SA National Defence Force and all officers present,
ANC and MK Veterans
We gather today, on the 3rd day of the 20th year of our freedom from the yoke of apartheid colonialism, to bid
farewell to a distinguished soldier, patriot and freedom fighter.
Barely two weeks ago,our people courageously dealt with their greatest sorrow, the passing on of the giant of our
struggle and founding President of our young democracy, Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Today, we are forced yet again to confront the mortality of men and women who were willing to sacrifice
everything including life and limb, so that South Africa and her people could be liberated.
As we unite in grief again, we do so truly proud to celebrate the glorious life of this distinguished soldier and loyal
servant of the people of South Africa, General LehlohonoloMoloi.
We are proud to be able to say that we live in a South Africa that is a much better place to live in than before
1994, because of the foundation laid by these illustrious men and women whose dedication to this country and its
people remains truly remarkable and inspirational.
It is not surprising that had General Moloi not fallen ill, he would have been a pall bearer, to carry Madiba on his
He had walked in Madiba's footsteps, and had followed Madiba's instructions all his life. Tata Madiba was after all
the first commander-in-chief of uMkhontoWesizwe.
Madiba had said once that prison was a kind of crucible that tested a man's character, but so was service in the
liberation army and life in exile. As a freedom fighter and MK soldier, General Moloi had to withstand many trials
and tribulations. But he was equal to the task.
He was part of a generation that chose to fight, rather than submit, as called upon by the founding MK manifesto.
Like the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, they had resolved that they would rather die on their feet than
live on their knees.
In so doing, they set our country on an irreversible but painful journey to the freedom that we enjoy today.
In being among the early recruits of MkhontoWesizwe who skipped the country for military training in 1962,
General Moloi proved to be a selfless and courageous young man.
He became a dependable soldier and cadre, at the best and the worst of times.
He had left the country with comrades such as Eric Mtshali from then Natal, as well as Lennox Lagu from the
Cape. These soldiers of hope and freedom travelled from Soweto through Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia until
they reached Tanzania.
This soldier and cadre of unquestionable loyalty and commitment served the ANC illustriously in Zambia, Lesotho
and Botswana over many years.
What will always stand out during this time is his involvement in the historic Luthuli Detachment in 1967, the MK's
maiden attempt to infiltrate South Africa for combat.
He was part of the reconnaissance team in this legion of about 80 men. They set out on the historic and
hazardous mission to infiltrate South Africa from Zambia, through the then Rhodesia in 1967.
In this famous campaign, many MK and the Zimbabwean People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) lost their lives.
Indeed, our freedom was not free. It was gained through the blood, sweat and tears.
Comrade Chris Hani described the heroism of the Luthuli Detachment very eloquently in an article he wrote on
"I think the biggest legacy of the Luthuli Detachment at Wankie was the sort of absolute commitment of our
fighters to the revolution to an extent where to them things like hunger and thirst were not primary''.
Another cap in the feather of this distinguished freedom fighter was his service in Lesotho.
It was through General Moloi and Chris Hani's work that the ANC managed to secure official presence in Lesotho
in 1976, making it a very important base for our struggle with political, military and intelligence units.
Most of the current leaders and veterans benefitted from the deep teaching and discipline of Comrades Moloi and
Hani in Lesotho.
They endured much suffering and deprivation in Lesotho including detention and torture by the Leabua Jonathan
Despite these hazards, and other challenges, Comrades Moloi and Hani workedto build underground units and
linked them to Eastern Cape, Free State and Cape regions.
The former Transkei, which shared a border with Lesotho, became an important infiltration route for guerrillas and
all this was possible because of the committed and principled leadership of Comrades Moloi and Hani.
The tales of our liberation struggle, especially the armed struggle, will be incomplete if they do not include the
exceptional service by General Moloi in Zambia where he served as MK Chief of Operations from 1983 to 1992.
He was able to lead, inspire and encourage cadres and prepare them for difficult missions, informed by a clear
political objective - to free South Africa from the yoke of apartheid colonialism and institutionalised racism.
Given these illustrious achievements and contribution, it was quite befitting for General Moloi to be decorated
with the Military Veterans Medal for Bravery in Gold last year.
The democratic government has begun honouring military veterans for their contribution to the attainment of
freedom and the establishment of the constitutional democracy in our country.
Given his experience and expertise and clarity with regards to the type of society we wanted to
achieve,GeneralMoloi was called upon to help in building a new South African National Defence Force in 1994.
He was involved in the integration of liberation army troops into the new SANDF. In this role, he had to provide
support to many returning cadres who had to be integrated into a conventional army.
Today, we have an SANDF that represents the cross spectrum of the South African Society and that is currently
steadfastly defending our Constitution and our sovereignty.
We have an SA National Defence Force that is making significant contributions to peace-making and peacebuilding in the African continent.
We have an SANDF that made the nation proud in the manner in which it managed the health and farewell of our
founding father Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
It is thanks to the foundation of excellence that was laid by the founding generals of the free and democratic era
SANDF, that the defence force has turned into one we are all proud of.
We are pleased that General Moloi continued to contribute to the work of the military even in his retirement.
He served diligently in the medals committee and in the permanent Defence Services Commission, which is
tasked into looking at the welfare of the military personnel and making recommendations.
In pursuance of national duty, he also served in the National Orders Advisory Committee, tasked with assisting
the Presidency to select men and women to be granted the country's highest honours, the National Orders.
Compatriots and friends,
The primary mission of General Moloi and all our veterans, as they fought relentlessly for decades, had been to
achieve a united, democratic, non-sexist, non-racial and prosperous society.
That work must continue in earnest in their memory.
We have consolidated democracy and scored a lot of achievements in 20 years as South Africans working
together, but our work is not yet completed.
The society we are striving towards is outlined unambiguously in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of the
It is further articulated in the National Development Plan, a socio-economic blueprint we have developed and
committed ourselves to implementing effectively to take forward the vision of a united and prosperous society.
Therefore, taking a leaf from General Moloi's life of selflessness, patriotism and loyalty to our country, we have to
take forward the struggle to liberate our beautiful country from want, hunger, deprivation and inequality.
We should continue building a society where all will have access to basic needs that improve their living
conditions - water, electricity, sanitation, decent shelter, good roads as well as fully functional schools and
More importantly, we should also, in memory of Madiba, General Moloi, Oliver Reginald Tambo and many other
national heroes and heroines, continue to build a united South Africa, in which every citizen feels a sense of
belonging and in which they have hope for a better future.
We are thus called upon to continuepromoting unity across the barriers of race, colour, creed or class. Unity will
take our country to greater heights.
The transformation of the economy was General Moloi's passion, and we have a duty to take the mission
He served in many private sector institutions as he believed that economic emancipation should be an integral
part of our political freedom.
Continued investment in education and skills development will enable us to build the prosperous South Africa that
Compatriots and friends
Death should not be proud.
General Moloi has carved a permanent space in the history of our country.
We will always remember his selfless sacrifice, humility, dedication, patriotism and his commitment to make
South Africa a better place.
We will always remember his humanity, humour and his caring nature.
We will remember his patience with soldiers who were at times anxious and unsure of what was expected of
them, during the difficult integration process.
We will always remember him as the distinguished South African who loved this country and his organisation the
ANC more than anything else.
We thank the Moloi family for allowing him the space to serve his country and his people.
Thank you for sharing such a wonderful life so well lived with all of us.
To the family, we say Tshedisehang! Duduzekani, akwehlangalungehli.
You have run your race, you have fought a good fight. You can now rest in eternal peace.
Give our warm regards to Madiba, Chris Hani, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Albertina Sisulu, Braam Fischer,
Ruth First, Amina Cachalia, Dorothy Nyembe, Govan Mbeki and all the heroes and heroines to whom we owe our
freedom and democracy and to whom we shall forever be indebted.
God bless South Africa.
God bless Africa.
I thank you.