/ 6 December 2021

Former struggle veteran Ebrahim Ebrahim dies

Ebrahim Ebrahim
Ebrahim Ebrahim. (GCIS)

The ANC has hailed struggle veteran and former deputy minister of international relations and cooperation, Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, as a national hero following his death on Monday 6 December. 

Ebrahim died after a long illness at his home in Johannesburg.

In a statement, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe described the party veteran as a patriot who served his country in different capacities with humility, dedication and distinction.

Ebrahim joined the liberation movement as a youth activist in 1952, and became part of the armed wing of the ANC following its banning in 1960. 

The former member of the ruling party’s national executive committee (NEC) and national working committee (NWC) was also part of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa negotiations, tasked by the ANC with establishing the Patriotic Front, which consisted of more than 93 organisations. 

Affectionately known as Ebi by his ANC comrades, Ebrahim was elected as a member of parliament in Nelson Mandela’s first democratic government in 1994, where he served as chairperson of the foreign affairs committee and a member of the joint select committee on intelligence. 

Mabe said Ebrahim was actively involved in conflict resolution efforts between Israel and Palestine, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as in Burundi, Kosovo, Bolivia, and Nepal.

“We shall all miss his gentle and always-ready smile, his steadfast commitment to the South African people and to the African agenda, and his humility, dedication and hard work. Hamba Kahle Mhkonto. Lala Noxolo,” Mabe said in the ANC statement.

Ebrahim was arrested and charged with others in 1963 under the Sabotage Act in what became known as the Pietermaritzburg Sabotage Trial. 

Ebrahim was then sentenced to 15 years on Robben Island. In 1986, while on a mission for the ANC’s underground armed wing, Umkhonto weSizwe, he was kidnapped from Swaziland by the South African security forces and detained, during which he was severely tortured. 

He was charged with high treason and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on Robben Island but was released in 1991 after the appeal court ruled that his kidnapping from a foreign country was illegal.