Former member of the Dube TradePort Corporation Board and South African struggle hero has passed away

18 October 2016

The Board and executive of Dube TradePort Corporation wishes to extend its sincere condolences to Mrs Mariam Ramgobin and the Ramgobin family at the passing of the beloved, Mr Mewa Mewalal Ramgobin, who made a significant contribution to the democratic history of South Africa and the development of Dube TradePort Corporation over the last four years.

Mr Mewa Ramgobin

Political Activist, Member of Parliament and Author, Mr Mewa Ramgobin was born on 10 November 1932 in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal. He was President of the Natal Indian Congress (NIC) that was founded by Gandhi in 1894. During his life he has done much to honour Gandhi, including establishing a Gandhi museum and library and the Ghandi Memorial Clinic, organising the Annual Gandhi Lecture and educating people from different race groups on Gandhian thought. He also played a role in training leaders of the struggle.

Mr Ramgobin, the first supporter of the release of Nelson Mandela and all other political prisoners, established and Chaired a multi-racial “Committee for Clemency” in January 1971, for the release of political prisoners, return of exiles and the unbanning of individuals. He was banned for 17 years and placed under house arrest for 12 consecutive years until 1983. Arrested and charged for treason in 1984, Mr Ramgobin and fellow activists were held for six months without bail, and were later found to be not guilty in 1985.

Some of the Positions he held included:

• Chairman: Phoenix Settlement Trust
• Co-Treasurer: National United Democratic Front (1983-1985)
• Vice-President: Natal Indian Congress (1987)
• Vice-President: Congress Of S.A. Writers (1987-1989)
• Publicity Secretary: Congress Of S.A. Writers
• Chairperson and Founder: Committee Of Clemency (1971)
• Chairperson: Ad Hoc Committee: Revival Of Nic (1971)
• Executive Member: National Union Of Students (1964)
• Vice-President: Adac (Action Comm. Against Censorship) (1987)
• Chairperson and Founder: Gandhi – 100 (1993) Celebration Of Gandhi’s Arrival In S.A.
• Executive Member: ANC Southern Natal (1990-1993)
• Elected ANC Member Of Parliament (1994)
• Re-Elected ANC Member Of Parliament (1999)
• Serving on Joint Standing Committee of Finance and Foreign Affairs
• Chairperson: Advisory Board – Religions For Social Justice (2000-2001)
• Chairperson/Editor: “Opinion” – Editorial Advisory Board (2000-2001)
• Board Member and Remuneration and Human Resources Committee Member: Dube TradePort Corporation (2012 – 2016)

Mr Ramgobin was among those elected to the ANC dominated parliament in the 1994 elections, and remained a Member of Parliament until 2009. He is the founder of Centre for Learning of Ubuntu in the context of the Gandhian Trinity towards the African Renaissance for Global Co-Existence, and the Chairperson of Phoenix Settlement Trust, founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1904.

Mr Ramgobin also wrote and published ''Waiting To Live'' and ''Prisms Of Light".

Mr Mewa Ramgobin served on the Dube TradePort Corporation Board and the Remuneration and Human Resources Committee from the period of March of 2012 until May of 2016 whereupon he retired at the age of 83. As a board member of Dube TradePort Corporation, Mr Mewa Ramgobin drew from his extensive experience in civic leadership, in contributing to the demanding work of ensuring rigorous oversight of a dynamic and performance driven organization, which balances the delivery of economic growth to both commercial and community interests within KwaZulu-Natal.  

The Chairperson of the Dube TradePort Corporation Board, Dr Bridgette Gasa, extends her sincere appreciation, “For the wealth of wisdom, guidance and the contribution that Mr Ramgobin made to the development of the Dube TradePort strategy and vision. His legacy of selfless service is embodied within the principles of this organisation and it is in that spirit that we will realise the task of bringing sustained development to the people of South Africa through our interventions.”

Adv. Carol Sibiya, the Deputy Chairperson of the Dube TradePort Corporation (DTPC) Board, and the Chairperson of the DTPC Remuneration and HR Committee, who served alongside Mr Ramgobin on both, commented, “Mewa had a sincere passion for the upliftment and wellbeing of people. He provided a fatherly perspective, with an emphasis always placed on employees, bringing a balance between the interest of the employer and that of the staff. Bab’ Mewa, you will truly be missed.”

Dube TradePort Corporation's CEO, Mr Hamish Erskine, saw Mr Ramgobin as a mentor and at the sad news of his passing commented, “Mewa was a man of exceptional depth of experience and insight, and in his time as a member of the Board, he was always prepared to give advice on a wide array of complex issues. His intellectual grasp of the developmental objectives of DTPC was profound, and his opinions on the variety of opportunities and challenges facing the organisation were always of exceptional value. His contribution was always given in a spirit of generosity and openness, always taking in to account the best interests of DTPC and its employees. He had a great love of education and intellectual development, always showed great interest in the personal development and growth of the staff of DTPC in his capacity of the Remuneration and HR Committee. This is a great loss to Dube TradePort Corporation.”

Mr Graham Muller, who served on the Dube TradePort Corporation Board with Mr Ramgobin and who has known Mewa for many years, reflected that Mewa Ramgobin was so much more than a highly valued colleague on the Dube TradePort Corporation Board.  “As a teenager, back in the late 1960’s, I first met Mewa at a student camp at Mahatma Gandhi’s historic Phoenix Settlement, where he lived at the time with his first wife, Ela. We became firm friends bound by a common commitment to change all that was wrong in South African society at that time.  Mewa had an important influence on me and can take some of the credit for instilling in me a lifelong commitment striving for a just society in our beloved land. I will miss you my faithful friend.”

Funeral Details:

• Date: Sunday, 23 October 2016
• Venue: Mountview Civic Centre, Verulam
• Time: 14:00 - 17:00