Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Thandi Modise carried guns on their first day in parliament as MPs‚ Modise has revealed.
The revelation was made on Thursday during a tribute by ANC MPs to the late struggle icon and former social development minister Zola Skweyiya‚ who passed away shortly after Madikizela-Mandela.
“Some of us said: Do you have gun safes? Because there was no rule that said you cannot walk into this place without a gun‚” Modise said in a video clip that was tweeted on Thursday by ANC spokesperson in parliament Nonceba Mhlauli.
Modise‚ who is currently the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces‚ said Madikizela-Mandela was a “towering figure of our lifetime‚ a pivotal woman of our history”. Snippets of her tribute were posted on the Twitter account of the ANC in parliament.
“When challenges came‚ she took the reins of leadership even though our children in the streets of Soweto were outnumbered‚” Modise said.
“Like Deborah in the bible‚ her dedication and commitment was steadfast. Her dedication to the struggle against apartheid and patriarchy has always been unshakable. She hated poverty‚ that is why she never made money.”
Former safety and security minister Charles Nqakula paid tribute to Skweyiya. He said he and his wife had visited Skweyiya in hospital in the intensive care unit about six weeks before he died.
“I want to apologise to comrade Zola‚ even at this late stage‚ that some members of the ANC defined him‚ and some other veterans of our struggle‚ as ‘so-called veterans’‚ ‘empty tins’. Those who have been in the ANC for a long time know comrade Zola‚” Nqakula said.
“Comrade Zola was a committed member of Umkhonto weSizwe and fully understood and subscribed to MK’s military code.
“He showed his leadership and very good listening skill. He was able‚ carefully and correctly‚ to read political developments in our country and abroad. His analytic prowess was amazing.”