This statement issued by the African National Congress (ANC) on the death of Martin McGuinness is an important reminder of the close links between the former armed struggles in South Africa and Ireland, and the contribution made by Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Army towards the defeat of apartheid and white-minority rule.
The African National Congress (ANC) extends its condolences to the leadership of the Sinn Féin on the passing of Comrade Martin McGuinness, a leading figure in the Northern Ireland Republican movement. Mr. McGuinness died in Derry, Northern Ireland, on Tuesday following a short illness.
The ANC enjoys longstanding fraternal ties with Sinn Féin and is saddened at the news of the passing of a man who played a key role in the Irish Republican movement and the peace process.
Sinn Féin was a trusted ally of the African National Congress (ANC) during apartheid and its leaders stood steadfastly by our movement in support of our struggle for liberation.
The ANC has always been humbled by the example set by Sinn Féin in transitioning from the trenches of warfare to the assumption of political leadership.
As a former commander of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and a Sinn Féin political leader, Comrade McGuinness played an instrumental role in bringing Sinn Féin, Britain, Ireland and the political parties of Northern Ireland to the negotiating table – resulting in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. The Good Friday agreement brought peace to the region ‘following decades of sectarian violence.’
Mr. McGuinness was the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland from 2007 through January 2017, previously serving as Minister of Education in the Northern Ireland Executive (1999-2002) and stood for the Presidency of Ireland in 2011.
Mr. McGuiness will forever be remembered as a man of moral courage, as a unifier, and as ‘a force for change’: it is testimony to this legacy that tributes have been paid to him from across the political spectrum.
The ANC has sent its formal condolences to Sinn Féin.