- Tributes have poured in for Nehawu national spokesperson Khaya Xaba.
- Xaba died early on Sunday.
- Xaba has been described as having a fierce and uncompromising defence of workers' rights.
Tributes have poured in for National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) national spokesperson Khaya Xaba, who died early on Sunday.
In a statement, Nehawu said Xaba had died due to "illness complications".
"The national union is deeply saddened by his death and conveys its deep and heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and comrades in the Mass Democratic Movement (MDM). We wish his family strength and courage in this period of dealing with this dark hour," the statement said.
Xaba joined Nehawu as a media liaison officer in 2016.
The ANC mourned Xaba's death, saying the "entire democratic movement has lost a committed and hard-working cadre who dedicated his revolutionary life to the struggle of the working class".
"Comrade Xaba was an asset to the revolutionary alliance and the broader democratic movement. He was an accomplished communicator who articulated the views of Nehawu with absolute clarity and conviction. He will be remembered for his fierce and uncompromising defence of the rights of workers," the ANC said.
His close friend Richard Mamabolo, spokesperson for the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), described Xaba as a great human being. The two first worked together while at the Young Communist League (YCLSA) many years ago.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) also expressed its condolences to Nehawu and Xaba's family.
"It was with great sadness that we learnt of comrade Khaya's untimely death. Xaba joined the national democratic revolutionary movement at a young age, starting with the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA) just after completing his schooling," the SACP said in a statement.
"He was a selfless young communist activist determined to achieve socialism. It was in the ranks of the YCLSA as an activist, as well as through academic studies, that Khaya developed his skills as a political and working-class communicator."
Besides serving Nehawu, Xaba was active in supporting other Cosatu affiliates, said the SACP.
"The best way to remember him is to intensify international solidarity campaigns, such as the campaign for solidarity with the people of Western Sahara, Palestine, Cuba, and other countries facing heightened imperialist aggression and/or colonial occupation. These are part of the workers' struggles that Khaya was involved in as a youth and working-class activist," the statement said.