Sorrow at Shiceka's death

By Drum Digital
30 April 2012

The government, political parties and trade unions have expressed sorrow at the death on Monday of former co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Sicelo Shiceka.

"We will... miss his energy, as he was a remarkable hard worker and his impact was greatly felt in the local government turnaround strategy as well as his contribution to the struggle from the early 1980s," President Zuma said in a statement.

He sent his condolences to Shiceka's family and friends on behalf of the government and Cabinet.

Shiceka died at St Mary's private hospital in Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape, on Monday morning, following a long illness.

ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga said he was shocked at the news. He had been confident that Shiceka would recover from his illness and return to Parliament.

"Like all of us, comrade Shiceka was not perfect, but nothing can take away the commitment, passion and the energy with which he executed his responsibilities," he said.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the Shiceka family, his friends and comrades."

Zuma sacked Shiceka as a minister in October after he was implicated in wrongdoing by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. She found Shiceka had racked up more than R1 million in travel costs for himself, his staff and friends, in violation of the executive ethics code.

The expenses included a trip to Switzerland to see a girlfriend jailed on drug-related charges. At the time, Shiceka denied any wrongdoing and vowed to contest Madonsela's findings in court.

He continued serving the ANC as an MP, but had been on sick leave since February 2011.

Shiceka, 45, was appointed as co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister in Zuma's Cabinet on May 11, 2009.

He also served as provincial and local government minister in then president, now Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's Cabinet from September 25, 2008, to May 10, 2009.

The ANC said Shiceka worked tirelessly for the country's liberation.

"He has made his lasting contribution by not only fighting for liberation, but also through his contribution in government," spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

The Democratic Alliance said that while it differed from Shiceka from time to time it never underestimated the extent to which he loved South Africa and its people.

"In Setswana there is a message of condolence that is our message to the Shiceka family today: ba lelapa la kwa Shiceka, le sa lele ja ka ba senang tshepo. Modimo keo. [To the Shiceka family, they must not cry as ones without hope. May God be with them]," DA national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.

Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota said: "[Cope] extends... its deepest condolences to the Shiceka family, friends and relatives and wish to reassure them that we are with them during this trying time."

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said Shiceka was the embodiment of the alliance between the trade federation and the ANC.

"He was one of many who understood that workers do not sleep in factories, and worked tirelessly to make them appreciate that before they are workers they are members of their communities," Cosatu said in a statement.

"He played a critical role in strengthening Cosatu."

Although Shiceka had been fired as minister, his "grave error" had not taken away his contribution to workers and the struggle for freedom.

The SA Communist Party said Shiceka's death had robbed the country of a committed and dedicated servant.

"He brought enthusiasm to his various deployments and was a joy to work with," the SACP said in a statement.

"He was one of the most reliable and loyal cadres of the movement."

The SA Council of Churches said his death left a "sense of loss".

The Association of Self-Sustainable Communities (ASC) said it was shocked at the death and encouraged South Africa to remember him by his contribution to the struggle.

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