Prominent anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Eric “Stalin” Mtshali has died, aged 87. He passed away today at the Inkosi Albert Hospital after a long illness.
Mtshali became an ANC councillor in the eThekwini municipality in 2000 and served as a member of parliament from 2004, becoming a member of the portfolio committees on Labour, Higher Education and Training, and Human Settlements. He was a longstanding member of the South African Communist Party.
Mtshali was also part of the group that founded Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961, where he was elected as a member of MK’s underground operations team in KwaZulu-Natal to advance the liberation struggle.
From 1961 to 1991, Mtshali was in exile, but continued the struggle by transporting MK members and military hardware across the Zambezi River. He co-founded MK’s weekly journal, Dawn, with Chris Hani, Benson Ntsele and Don Nangu, where he was editor from 1964 to 1969. He also received military training in the Soviet Union and later in Cuba.
In 2015, Ntshali received the National Order of Mendi for Bravery in Silver for his significant contribution to the fight against apartheid.
The ANC and President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed their sadness at the passing away of the liberation struggle stalwart, veteran trade unionist and former MP.
“I offer my sincerest condolences to the family, friends and comrades of uBaba Eric ‘Stalin’ Mtshali, with whom we share the loss of an extraordinary activist and leader whose illustrious life story and patriotic contribution we shall never forget,” said Ramaphosa.