NEHAWU Mourns The Passing of Comrade Bereng Soke
Tuesday April 27, 2021
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU) has learnt with sadness the passing of its former General Secretary, Comrade Bereng Soke. Comrade Soke passed away earlier today after a long sickness.
NEHAWU sends sincerest condolences to his family, friends and comrades in the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM). We wish his family strength and courage in the period of dealing with this dark hour.
His passing takes place while workers are bleeding and under a relentless attack from our democratically elected government which is currently driving a concerted plan to obliterate collective bargaining and collapse progressive trade unions. Many of our members and workers have lost their lives in numbers due to the constantly deteriorating working conditions. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated the already worse working conditions faced by our members and workers.
Bereng Soke with Members.jpg Cde. Soke who was popularly known as “Chairman Mao” dedicated his entire life in fighting for decent salaries and safe working conditions of workers in general and public servants in particular. He championed workers shop floor struggles and spent his energy in defending the gains of workers against exploitative employers whose sole preoccupation is profit maximisation.
From 2001 he was the Regional Secretary of Maluti region a position he held until 2004. He went on to act as the Provincial Chairperson of the Free State province and subsequently elected as the Provincial Chairperson from 2005 until 2008. During the 11th Provincial Congress in 2008 he was elected as the Provincial Secretary until 2013. At the 10th National congress he was elected as Deputy General Secretary and at the 2014 Special National Congress elected as General Secretary, a position he held until June 2017.
He also served as the District Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Thabo Mofutsanyane District and was later elected as the Provincial Deputy Secretary. He was later elected as the Provincial Secretary and later as the Provincial Chairperson, a position held until his untimely death. Cde Soke espoused the Marxist-Leninist ideology and strongly believed that communism will one day unite the human race. His discipline earned him the name Chairman Mao after the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party. He will forever be remembered for his sharp analytical skills and calm head even under very severe stressful situations.
In his honour, the national union will intensify its campaign to defend collective bargaining which is currently under attack from the government of the day. We will continue to fight for the ideals he believed in which include access to healthcare, housing and the obliteration of hunger. His beloved SACP, the vanguard party, must continue to build building blocks for a socialist dispensation including ushering the dictatorship of the proletariat. The attainment of socialism must be intensified to liberate the downtrodden from the shackles of the evil system of capitalism which continues to create a better life for only the elites at the expense of the toiling masses.
NEHAWU dips its banners at the passing of this exceptional leader of the working class and will send details of the memorial and funeral service as soon as they are available.
NEHAWU says “Robala ka kgotso Chairman Mao”
Issued by Secretariat KZN
Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;
December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969;
Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU National Spokesperson) at 082 455 2500 email@example.com