My first contact with Moses Kotane was in 1946, which was the beginning of a period of great political upheavals in our struggle, a period that was to prove most decisive in the general orientation of our political advancement as a movement. If Moses Kotane was the general secretary of the SACP, he was no lesser degree a highly esteemed and completely devoted leader of the African National Congress.
His rigorous self-discipline enabled him to survive the sophisticated vigilance of the South African fascist police for many years during which he engaged in full-time underground political work in defiance of banning orders and numerous other restrictions imposed on him by the fascist regime. He fought fiercely to inculcate this high level of discipline among all the activists of the movement.
Reflecting the confidence which our movement had in Moses Kotane, Chief Albert Luthuli, the late President-General of the ANC, often consulted him on complex issues calling for wise leadership and delicate decision. It was for similar reasons that, at our request, Comrade Moses left South Africa to join the external ANC leadership in Dar es Salaam in January 1963. Umkhonto we Sizwe was one year old at the time and its members were leaving South Africa in large numbers for training abroad.
In the emergence of Umkhonto we Sizwe Moses Kotane saw the beginnings of the final onslaught on the last stronghold of imperialism - the fascist republic of South Africa. His devotion to the building up of this nucleus of our People's Army was second only to his devotion to the struggle for national and social liberation in South Africa, for the triumph of the socialist cause the world over.
In the arrangements for the political and military training of the cadres of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the maintenance, deployment and logistic equipment of Umkhonto units, Comrade Moses worked tirelessly from the moment he arrived in Dar es Salaam in 1963 until he suffered a stroke in December 1968.
We shall never forget that during the period of three years ending in December 1968, two political giants of the South African revolutionary struggle, J.B. Marks and Moses Kotane, comrades-in-arms for more than 40 years, operated from a small country town - Morogoro, in Tanzania - sharing a small office and sleeping in two small adjacent rooms, now worthy of preservation as national monuments. It was during these trying years that the supreme qualities of leadership of Moses Kotane and J.B. Marks emerged and made their mark on all the younger men and women who lived, worked or associated with them - all except confirmed and incorrigible counter-revolutionaries.
A valiant, courageous and stubborn fighter has fallen at his post, on the battlefield. Our battle-steeled working class, our death-defying youth, our militant women, our tested peasantry and committed intelligentsia - our entire people, and in particular our national liberation movement headed by the ANC, today pay eternal tribute to the people's leader, Moses Kotane, for his monumental contribution to the great advances made towards the seizure of power by the people in South Africa.
The Soviet Union was Moses Kotane's second and beloved home. He loved the Soviet people dearly and regarded the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as his own Party. It is not surprising that he should have expressed the wish that when his heart ceased to beat he should be laid to rest in the land of Lenin.