By Thys Khiba
Bloemfontein – As messages of condolences are pouring in after the death of a well-known political leader and a trade unionist, Bereng Soke, the South African Communist Party (SACP) wants to intensify ‘the struggle for universal access to healthcare and well-developed human settlements.
“We must intensify the struggle to eradicate hunger. We must carry on the struggle to achieve access to clean quality drinking water for everyone. We must intensify the struggle against corruption,” said SACP Provincial Spokesperson, Phillip Kganyago.
The SACP took their time to also send its heartfelt condolences to the family of Soke, including his colleagues, friends and workers that he served as a leader.
“The SACP pays tribute to Soke, who lived his life largely in service of the working class in South Africa and the world. Comrade Soke served the liberation movement and the trade union movement in different capacities, with utmost dedication,” said Kganyago.
According to Kganyago, his late provincial chairperson Soke lived his life to advance workers’ rights and to fight against the system of capitalism and its exploitative vestiges.
POLITICAL CAREER: Soke served as a leader of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) as its Regional Secretary. “He was elected to the position in 2001. He rose through the ranks to become Provincial Chairperson and Provincial Secretary.”
In 2014, at its 11th National Congress, Soke was later elected Deputy General Secretary and then General Secretary of the national union.
“NEHAWU continued to grow, paying attention to ideological training and international solidarity work, and waged relentless struggles in pursuit of working-class interests under his leadership collective.”
The late Soke whom believed in access to healthcare, housing and eradication of hunger, was also known as ‘Chairman Mao.’
Meanwhile, the YCLSA in the Free State province viewed him as the Marxist Leninist scholar and exceptional leader of the working class.
Soke served as the District Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) in Thabo Mofutsanyana district, which he later led as the Provincial Deputy Secretary.
In addition, he was elected as the Provincial Secretary and later as the Provincial Chairperson.