Outspoken ANC veteran Ben Turok dies, aged 92

09 December 2019 - 11:58 By Andisiwe Makinana
Prof Ben Turok recently served as director of the Institute for African Alternatives and editor of the journal New Agenda.
Prof Ben Turok recently served as director of the Institute for African Alternatives and editor of the journal New Agenda.
Image: Ben Turok via Facebook

Former anti-apartheid activist and economics professor Ben Turok died early on Monday morning, aged 92.

In a short statement, Turok's family confirmed his death.

“He was always outspoken and dedicated his whole life to fighting for freedom, equality and social justice in South Africa. He was a loyal, lifetime member of the ANC but retained an independent perspective throughout.

“He asked for his death to be marked by a private ceremony, rather than anything official or formal, in view of the present predicament facing the country. His wisdom and counsel will be sorely missed,” said the family.

Turok, a long-serving former ANC MP, recently served as director of the Institute for African Alternatives and editor of the journal New Agenda.

In the past few months he spoke out against corporate greed, irresponsible misspending in the public sector and corruption.

Turok was one of the contributors to the Freedom Charter, and he always spoke about how June 26 was a double celebration for him - his birthday and also the date on which the charter was adopted in 1955.

Turok chaired parliament's ethics committee in the fourth parliament and was respected for his role in the work the committee did in holding MPs to account. He did not return to parliament after the May 2014 general elections.

During the anti-apartheid struggle, he served three years in prison before spending 25 years in exile, returning to SA in 1990.

Academically, he obtained three degrees, in engineering, philosophy and political science. He authored about 20 books on Africa’s development economics and politics. He lectured on political economy at various African universities. He also taught at the Open University in the UK, and at the University of Zambia. He was a visiting professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.


subscribe