ANC STATEMENT ON THE PASSING OF COMRADE JOSÉ EDUARDO DOS SANTOS
The African National Congress (ANC) dips its revolutionary banner in honour of the late Comrade José Eduardo Dos Santos. We recall with gratitude the selfless contribution of Angolans and his decisive leadership in fighting colonial oppression and contribution to the liberation of Africans. He continued from President Agostinho Neto in supporting liberation movements in Angola and provided shelter and refuge to the ANC,SWAPO and ZAPO military wings until their independence. This was a demonstration of his belief that Angola would not fully enjoy its freedom until sister countries in the continent were emancipated.
Under his leadership, the MPLA never veered off or abandoned its commitment to support the struggles of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia notwithstanding the carnage and misery caused by the apartheid regime during the periods of armed struggles by both by the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) and Umkhonto weSizwe (MK). The sacrifices and suffering that was borne by the people of Angola due to hosting the training camps for both PLAN and MK is a debt that will be inscribed in the hearts of our people for centuries to come.
It was during his time that the war in Cuito Carnavale took place. The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale changed the course of history and is credited with ushering in the first round of trilateral negotiations, which secured the withdrawal of South African apartheid troops from Angola and Namibia.
The attack by Angolan, Cuban and MK soldiers on apartheid South Africa took the white minority government by surprise. It turned the tide of the Angolan war in favour of Angola’s liberation movement. The military success against the apartheid South Africa led to the negotiations in London on 4 June 1988 between Angola, Cuba, South Africa and the US.
Reading the balance of forces, the Apartheid Government gave up, and in December 1988 accepted Cuban demands to abandon Angola, and facilitate Namibian independence. For Angola to share its limited financial and human resources to fight, a war in defense of the colonized people in another continent is by no means a small feat in history and is the greatest gift for humankind.
Comrade Dos Santos was one of the founding members of the Southern African Frontline States, which ultimately became SADC. The birth of the Southern African Frontline States was to strengthen the efforts of total liberation of the peoples of the southern tip of Africa from the yoke of colonialism ad imperialism. Until his retirement, Comrade Dos Santos contributed to the building nurturing as well as the integration of SADC.
As an internationalist comrade Dos Santos never waivered in identifying with progressive internationalism. The ANC and MPLA continuously strengthened its relations, revolutionary support and sacrifice under the leadership of Cde Oliver Tambo and Cde Dos Santos among others. Certainly, quite a number of comrades who shared trenches and rubbed shoulders with during era of exile will always have fond memories of him.
The African National Congress shares the pain of the departure of this gallant fighter and with the people of Angola particularly the MPLA.
May His Soul Rest in Peace.
ISSUED BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
Lindiwe Zulu Chairperson: International Relations Sub-Committee
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