Deputy Speaker, Ministers and hon members, once again, on behalf of the ANC, we want to extend our sincere condolences to tannie Gesina Botha, the mother of the late Yolanda; her brother, Jean-Jacques Botha; her daughter, Jacqueline; and her son-in-law, Quinton. We laid our beloved Yolanda to rest a few weeks ago. We recall her selfless dedication to the struggles of the working class and the poor.
The Minister of Basic Education, Comrade Angie Motshega, in her capacity as president of the ANC Women's League - the late Comrade Yolanda was a member of the National Executive Committee for many years - described the late Yolanda Botha as a beautiful soul who dearly loved her family.
She further said that whenever she was in the area of Kimberley, she knew that she could come and go from her house, because that was how welcoming Comrade Yolanda was. She was not just a comrade but a friend, and we served the organisation together. To the ANC she was really an organiser who would sort out organisational matters without any difficulty. She took her work seriously and had the brains, the skills and the commitment. She was such a beautiful soul, and she loved her family. Indeed, as the ANC, we agree that she was a beautiful soul who bestrode the narrow world like a colossus.
We have fond memories of her as a loving, compassionate, kind reliable, dedicated, firm character and a true cadre of the liberation movement. [Applause.] As we recall the role she played in the movement and in society broadly, we must understand that history and our strategic vision place critical responsibilities on all of us in the here and now. She clearly understood her role and responsibilities in the revolutionary struggle and we can say without a doubt that she never betrayed our cause. She never divorced herself from the daily struggles of the masses. Comrade Yolanda believed clearly that in order to study, sum up and apply the revolutionary experiences of the past, we must cultivate a culture of selflessness and, first and foremost, be there for the people.
Comrade Yolanda always encouraged revolutionary discipline among all our cadres at all times. She was totally committed to collective leadership and democratic centralism as a hallmark that distinguishes the ANC as a liberation movement compared to other parties. Self-criticism, introspection, correcting shortcomings and admitting mistakes are the proper ingredients that Comrade Yolanda believed made a true revolutionary advance and improve herself or himself in order to discharge one's revolutionary tasks effectively.
Comrade Yolanda Botha participated in the underground liberation movement in Cape Town, where her father later became the first branch chairperson of the New World Foundation at the Lavender Hill branch. After the unbanning of the ANC in 1990, she was entrusted with the responsibility of becoming the first branch secretary of the extension branch of the ANC in Upington. This was in 1993.
Comrade Yolanda Botha lived the life of an activist until her death. She was actively involved in broader community and education struggles. She was an educator by profession and understood the nobility that went with the profession. Comrade Yolanda understood the importance of education in the lives of our children and in the reconstruction and development of our country. She was part of the revolutionary intelligentsia. She was uncomfortable with armchair critics, naysayers, a negative perspective and doomsayers. She believed that all of us had a contribution to make to the wealth of this country.
She was loyal to the profession and respected her job during all her years as an educator. She and many others taught us that there was nothing wrong in being an educator and a trade unionist at the same time. It is no wonder that she was active in union politics as a teacher and as a member of the National Education Union of South Africa, Neusa. Comrade Botha was one of the progressive educators in this country, who established what is now the largest teachers' union in the country, the SA Democratic Teachers Union, Sadtu.
As a trade unionist, she taught us that trade unions are not and cannot become political parties. She taught us that to maintain the distinction between trade union politics an overall revolutionary leadership was imperative. She further taught us that a trade union cannot carry out this dual role and that if it attempted to do so, it would change its basic character and risk committing suicide as a legal force. In addition, the very nature and purpose of a trade union disqualifies it from carrying out the role of a revolutionary vanguard, which is the task of a party. She was totally committed to the unity of the tripartite alliance and would always make herself available for the activities of the alliance. As a result of her hard work, dedication and consistent service to the people, she was entrusted with the responsibility of being the youngest senator in 1994.
She served in the highest structures of the ruling party, the ANC, in the Northern Cape as a member of the provincial working committee, as a member of the provincial executive committee, as an official and as a treasurer for many years. She was deployed to Parliament as a Member of Parliament. She always performed her duties with diligence at all times. As a former chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development and member of the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology, she was proud that the World Bank recently declared South Africa number one in Africa and number five in the world in the provision of child support grants in an efficient, effective and robust manner. [Applause.]
Let me repeat and paraphrase: She was very excited and happy recently that the institution called the World Bank, after its international survey, regarded South Africa, in terms of social development, as one of the best in Africa and number five in the world in the provision of grants.
Today, as the ANC government, we have a record of outstanding achievements in terms of changing the lives of our people for the better, and Comrade Yolanda Botha played an active role in that regard. As a former member of the ANC, she was proud of the following achievements and would always celebrate these achievements: Firstly, that the ANC government, over the period under review, has built more than 3,5 million houses; secondly, that the ANC government allocated free basic services, water and sanitation and electricity to the poor; thirdly, that more than 15 million people have access to social grants; and fourthly, that more people have access to education, which is a remarkable achievement in a short space of time.
In conclusion, the best tribute we can pay to all our fallen heroes and heroines is not to be complacent but to be vigilant at all times. We have to redouble our efforts and resolve to accelerate the pace of addressing the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality. We need to resharpen our revolutionary firmness and courage in the struggle for our democratic South Africa.
Finally, we who remain behind dare not fail her. We will remember her for being a loving, caring servant of the people. May her soul rest in peace.
Laat haar siel in vrede rus. Dankie. [May her soul rest in peace. Thank you.] [Applause.]