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Hermanus Gabriel Loots aka James Stuart (Posthumous)

The Order of Mendi for Bravery in

Hermanus Gabriel Loots aka James Stuart (Posthumous) Awarded for:
His gallant fight against the oppression of the majority of South Africans during the hard times of apartheid injustice. He spoke truth to power without fear or favour.
Profile of Mr Hermanus Gabriel Loots

Mr Hermanus Gabriel Loots aka James Stuart was born on 19 July 1936 in Hertzog, Katrivier District in the Eastern Cape. He was the second of seven children of the late Gabriel and Minnie Sophia Loots. Loots passed away on 25 January 2016.

He was an outstanding member of the African National Congress (ANC) whose activism dates back to his early days in Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), where he participated in the much-acclaimed Wankie Campaign in the 1960s. From 1979 to 1984, he served as the Chief Representative of the ANC in Madagascar.

Loots served in the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) from 1985 to 1990, under then ANC President Oliver Tambo. He was par t of the Luthuli Detachment, which was known for its commitment to the preservation of the ANC’s values. He earned his stripes during this period, serving in many capacities during the liberation struggle, and in the challenging period of the reconstruction and development of a democratic South Africa.

Loots ranks amongst the senior and highly experienced cadres of the ANC, both militarily and politically. He was an all-rounder who led by example. He also became key in training many MK cadres, thus reproducing a calibre of disciplined combatants. Loots was generally regarded as a link between the older and the younger generations. He played an effective and crucial role in the underground structures of the ANC and its military wing.

His political maturity and versatility enabled him to develop and operate seamlessly in multicultural and diverse political environments. During his time in exile, he was responsible for political education at Alpha in Lusaka, Zambia, overseeing the library and classification of information and material. He was the ANC’s knowledge base specialist.

He chaired the Stuart Commission appointed by the ANC NEC in the 1980s to investigate events in the camps in Angola. He also served as Chairperson of the National People’s Tribunal. Loots retired from politics in 1999 to pursue his interests in the private sector. He joined Zonkizizwe Investments as one of the founding directors, and headed a number of projects and subsidiaries of the company.