20 March 2015
Deputy President Cyril Rampahosa has called for a national song to be composed to celebrate the late Minister of Public Service and Administration Collins Chabane’s passion for humanity and zest for life.
“To calm our deep-felt agony, we must find among our youth, artists who will take Minister Chabane’s harmonica and mbira to remind us of both the beauty and fragility of life,” Ramaphosa said at the official memorial service for the late minister, held at the Tshwane Events Centre in Pretoria on Thursday.
Chabane passed away on Sunday, 15 March, with two of his protectors – Sergeants Lesiba Sekele and Lawrence Lentsoane – in an accident on the N1 between Mokopane and Polokwane in Limpopo province.
Hundreds of mourners attended the memorial service including Chabane’s wife, Mavis, AU Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, former President Nelson Mandela’s wife Graca Machel and government ministers.
Ramaphosa said Chabane had played the struggle, politics and his government work in the same the way he did his music – with great talent, commitment and certainty; but also with unassailable optimism, emotion, and a beguiling mixture of shyness and humour.
“His compassion made him genuinely concerned about improving the lives of all South Africans, and this in turn led to him to being passionate about improving the performance of government,” Ramaphosa said.
Chabane was one of the first people to assist when Limpopo was hit by floods along with neighbouring Mozambique in 2000. He was the MEC responsible for roads in the province at the time.
“He spent whole nights in the pouring rain together with his department’s road maintenance units, battling to find a way across raging rivers, so that isolated communities could be reached,” Ramaphosa said.
A few months ago when a hospital in Limpopo had problems with its water supply during the weekend, Chabane travelled to the hospital, which was about 500km away, to arrange water for the hospital.
He described the late minister as a man who was possessed with genuine confidence that only came with genuine humility.
Chabane was humble, unassuming and committed to the struggle of South Africans people for a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa, the deputy president said. “We know him to have been a quiet strategist in an occupation often given to populism and deafening rhetoric.
“His comrades trusted him, had confidence in his abilities, and admired his work ethic. He was devoted to the ideals of our movement and the task of achieving a better life for all.”
Agent for change
Ramaphosa commended Chabane for being a good listener and for always being open to hearing others’ points of view.
Chabane had natural curiosity and his love to debate was combined with his desire to continuously gain a better understanding of everything, Ramaphosa said. “He did not think that he knew it all, he was very much aware that he might be wrong about some things and he was willing to change his views on the basis of being presented with new evidence.”
Chabane passed away at a time when he was hard at work to develop a new cadre of public servants that grasp their role as change agents.
Ramaphosa said Chabane had left a proud and enduring legacy as he pioneered the outcomes monitoring and national evaluation system in government.
Minister Chabane be laid to rest on Saturday at Xikundzu village in Malamulele, Limpopo. The Presidency announced on Tuesday that Chabane would receive a category one official funeral at the weekend.
President Jacob Zuma has ordered that the national flag be flown at half-mast across the country on Saturday, the day of the funeral.
- The Presidency said a special email address had been created “to ensure that all messages reach the President and later the Chabane family”. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Members of the public can send messages of support on social media, using the hashtag #RIPMinChabane. Send tweets to @PresidencyZA or write messages on the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa’s Facebook page.