Corruption Watch expresses its sadness at the news of the passing of Emma Mashinini, former Corruption Watch board member and loyal supporter of our work since inception. We offer our condolences, on behalf of board members and staff, to her family and her vast circle of friends around the country. Ms Mashinini had retired from her work with the board in 2015, due to ill health.
David Lewis, executive director, of Corruption Watch, commented: ‘I have known Emma for many years. Her clarity, her integrity, her bluntness and her great charm, are going to be sorely missed. Emma really cared for her country and its people. Would that there were more like her.’
Her contribution to the trade union movement, and to the country as a whole, was exemplary, and the integrity and honesty that she demonstrated in her life will be greatly missed.
Ms Mashinini represented that school of leaders who worked tirelessly and selflessly to improve the lives of ordinary people. She became the first general secretary of the Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union of South Africa (CCAWUSA) in 1975, and was involved in the formation of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in 1985.
Her work brought her to the attention of the apartheid government, and she was arrested in 1981 under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act, and held in solitary confinement for six months. She demonstrated resilience under extreme pressure, and never let go of the dream of a non-sexist, non-racial, just and democratic South Africa. Thankfully she was able to witness that in her lifetime.
Although she will be greatly mourned, Ms Mashinini’s life is still an inspiration to many generations that came after her. Corruption Watch is proud to have had her presence in our organisation, and we are grateful for the immense contribution that she made to our work.
Phemelo Khaas: firstname.lastname@example.org 083 763 3472
• Image from Afravision video