On 30 September 2021 the Department of Correctional Services paid its respects and tribute to the late Kaya Somgqeza, former head of office in the Deputy Minister Holomisa’s office, by hosting a memorial service at Goodwood Management Area – honouring his contribution in the emergence of a democracy and freedom.
The late Kaya Somgqeza was described as being an ‘ideologically trained elite’ who filled public and economic leadership positions, a militant and an internationalist who ushered a new regiment and a highly motivated and skilled academic.
During the memorial service Mr. Xolela Bathemba a close friend to the Somgqeza family, described the late cadre as a success of a man, an intellectual with two master’s degrees, a formidable manager and mediator, well-groomed and highly fashionable! Mr. Bathemba described Kaya’s deep love for his wife and children, yet sacrificing a lifetime to uphold the principles instilled, to serve his country and society.
His Royal Highness, King Como of the Nama people, encouraged the Somgqeza family to celebrate Kaya’s life since he was a person for the people, offering everything within him to nurture the betterment of the nation as well as ensuring effective international relations.
The Chief of Staff in the Ministry, Mr. Sarela shared that Somgqeza was a good and loyal being who was committed to excellence. He described him as being the ‘eyes and ears’ in the office. Sarela conveyed that the Ministry had been robbed of an individual that possessed a myriad of knowledge, whose dreams were to improve the lives of people. “Somgqeza was decisive, robust, and paramount in the ministry and assisted in redefining the Department of Correctional Services with his insightfulness that eventually contributed towards an unqualified audit outcome,” he said.
The Regional Commissioner: Western Cape, Mr. Delekile Klaas gave a narrative outlining the road he and Somgqeza walked from the student movements (SRC’s/ COSAS). The RC shared that Somgqeza left home at the tender age of 17 years, having to go into exile. On his return he joined uMkhonto we Sizwe, thereafter he commenced his educational journey. Somgqeza understood and reflected perspectives, which was informed by his academic background. He was described as a being a poet, a writer and a lover of literature.
Somgqeza always fought for those who are being abused and he detested people who distorted their powers and authority to abuse others. The RC described Somgqeza as being a person who openly spoke about these injustices. “He would kindly listen to a person’s story or difficulty and when he took that person’s fight, he would do so vigorously and passionately”, said Klaas. The RC further elaborated that Mr. Somgqeza liked working with his hands, he was a principled human being and he was dedicated to the struggle for transformation, hoping that one day the dream for non- racial and non-sexual democratic South Africa, where all people living in peace and harmony will be realized.
The Acting National Commissioner, Mr. Thobakgale, described Somgqeza as a comrade, a friend, someone you can work with, a confidant, a reliable person, but most of all an impactful individual, an astute gentleman at the prime of his life. He thanked the office of the Deputy Minister for introducing the late Mr Somgqeza to DCS.
Thobakgale said that the DCS family experienced Kaya Somgqeza as a brave, hardworking and committed public servant who opted to devote his life in the service of the country, conducting his work persistently.
Somgqeza was praised, honoured and acknowledged by many, including the South African Embassy in New York City.