Death of ANC Caucus Chairperson, Alina Rantsolase

3 November 2010

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip has learned with profound sadness and shock the passing away of the Chairperson of the ANC Parliamentary Caucus, Alina Machejane Rantsolase, today after a short illness.

Comrade Rantsolase became a member of parliament for the ANC in 2009 and has served in the portfolio committees on home affairs and labour. She was earlier this year appointed the Whip for the labour portfolio committee, where she particularly played an important role in interacting with various communities on the practice of labour brokering.

Comrade Rantsolase was one of the hardest working MPs who juggled coordination of Caucus political and administrative business, the political management of her committee and her organisational responsibilities in the ANC provincial structures in Gauteng.

She was instrumental in turning around the administrative challenges that confronted the Caucus at the beginning of this term of parliament. Despite being a new MP and having limited knowledge on the workings of parliament, she burned the midnight oil to stabilise caucus support service to ensure that it is ready to coordinate the work of the ANC for the next five year parliamentary term. She was a caring and approachable mother figure to ordinary members of the Caucus staff and a dependable comrade to fellow MPs. In just over a one year period that she was part of the parliamentary caucus, she has made herself irreplaceable.

Comrade Rantsolase was born on 15 March 1954 in a poor rural village to a struggling family. As a young woman, she witnessed the harsh conditions under which her mother worked as servant of racist white employers at a rural farm. Like many fellow young compatriots born during the period of political repression, Bantu education system and apartheid labour exploitation, she joined the youth anti-apartheid movement in the 1970s to fight against the minority regime.

She finished her high schooling during the height of student political revolt and joined Checkers supermarket in 1977, where she later became a shopsteward. As a union leader at the supermarket, she fearlessly and uncompromisingly pursued workers’ bread and butter struggles within the context of the anti-apartheid activism.

Due to her courageous leadership and fearlessness as a union activist in the retail sector, she was elected national treasurer for the South African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union, a Cosatu affiliate, in 1993. In 1999 she was elected to the same position in Cosatu. She held the position for 10 years, before joining parliament. An experienced labour negotiator, she served the union movement for 31 years.

The death of comrade Rantsolase has robbed the organisation and the alliance of a faithful and hardworking comrade who has submitted all her life to serving the people, particularly the vulnerable and less fortunate. It has robbed us of an outstanding leader who never shied away from any task, no matter how challenging it was.

We are indeed deeply saddened. The Office of the Chief, of which comrade Alina was part, extends heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and comrades.

Issued by
Office of the ANC Chief Whip
Parliament of the Republic of SA
Cape Town, 8000

Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930