Tribute by ANC Deputy Chief Whip Bulelani Magwanishe to DA Deputy Chief Whip Mike Ellis on his retirement from
Parliament after 24 years as a member of Parliament

14 September 2011

Hon Speaker
Hon Deputy President
Hon members,

This is a special day to our dear friend, father, teacher and son of the soil, for 24 years of dedicated service to his country. Hon Ellis has earned all of the above.

Hon Ellis joined Parliament in 1987 as a member of the Progressive Federal Party. It was after several years as a teacher, Deputy Head Master and a Head Master that he decided to join Parliament as a public representative.

Hon Ellis has earned respect and friendship of many members of this house because of his warmth and humility. What we have learnt from Hon Ellis through his conduct is that, one who looks for a friend without faults will have none. Hon Ellis embraced all of us with our limitations and our strengths, he never looked for perfect friends but he encouraged all his friends to strive for perfection.

The teacher in him is always evident. He is always full of encouragement and accommodative. He is also firm and decisive, that is the father in him.

We want to say to you sir, we would be able to pay back the loan of gold, but we will die forever in debt to you for your kindness.

Today we are celebrating 24 years of patriotism that is why you qualify to be called son of the soil. In our engagements with you sir, we have seen love for your country and its people. You were able in times of difficulty to see the whole forest and not only the trees. You have been a leader of great vision and wisdom. You always think like a man of action, and act like a man of thought.

We came here in 1994 not only as representatives of our people but also as products of our divided society. There were high levels a of mistrust amongst us. We thank people like Hon Ellis and many members in this house for giving leadership.

We now have friendships across political parties. This house is now beginning to be a microcosm of the type of society we want to build. A society where a people are judged according to the content of their own character, not according race, colour, class or believe.

Some come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, the same.

Hon Ellis has done that, this house will never be the same again, your presence has contributed to the change we see today. You have taught us that being opposition does not equal to one being disloyal to his country.

You have been a member of the opposition all your political life in Parliament but you have been a patriot to the core. In this diverse democracy we have diverse electorate that elects diverse leaders.

That is what makes us a country of miracles. To sustain this miracle we need courageous people.

We have said many things behind your back Sir,

This is the only day we have,to come clean and ask for your forgiveness. One of the things we said about you is that you are a very difficult opponent.

Your knowledge of parliamentary procedures and practice makes you a challenging opponent to deal with. Your knowledge, skills and confidence makes you to be a good return on investment.

I want to take this opportunity to say to leaders of all political parties, the more we keep people in the system for long, it is the more our democracy gets good return on investments.

We have seen that with Hon Ellis. 24 years of experience has produced a rounded politician. We can not have a democracy of 20 years with an average experience of members being 5 years. We must try and keep the good inside the system for longer to sustain our democracy.

If we had a single flower every time we think about you, we could forever walk in our gardens. As citizen of the world, we would like to give you an Irish Blessing:

May you always have work for your hands to do
May your pockets hold always a coin or two
May the sunMay the hand of a friend always near you
May those you love bring back love to you
May you always have walls for the winds
A roof for the rain,tea beside the fire
Laughter to cheer you,
May songbirds serenade you every step along the way
And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life trough.

We would like to thank the Progressive Federal Party, the Democratic Party and the Democratic Alliance for giving us the opportunity to serve this nation with you.

We would also like to thank your wife, 3 sons and your daughter for sharing you with us. Your father Thomas Henry Ellis and your mother Dorothy Margaret for giving birth to such a son.

This is the time to spend listening to the album of your son John especially that song that says ALUTA CONTUNUA. Thank you for making us laugh, not laughing stock.

Elizabeth Bouren wrote that "Good-byes breed a sort of distance for whom you say good-bye to.

Good byes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end
They simply mean we will miss you.

When you buy a car with your hard earned money, going for a new Mercedez with quality features we will say `Mr Ellis is indeed a good buy.

We meet to part and we part to meet.

Thank you