Ramaphosa in France for WWI commemoration

2014-07-05 10:00
With his vast trade union experience, Cyril Ramaphosa may be able to persuade Cosatu to handle its former general secretary’s case more diplomatically. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

With his vast trade union experience, Cyril Ramaphosa may be able to persuade Cosatu to handle its former general secretary’s case more diplomatically. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

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Johannesburg - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived in France for the commemoration of the battle of Delville Wood, the presidency said on Saturday.

Ramaphosa was in France to participate in the re-interment of the mortal remains of Private Myengwa Beleza, Ramaphosa's spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said in a statement.

Beleza, one of the first South Africans to die World War One, was a member of the African Native Labour Corps to perish in France during the conflict.

"The re-interment ceremony takes place against the background of the 98th commemoration of the battle of Delville Wood in France during World War One in which a number of South African soldiers perished," Mamoepa said.

Private Beleza's remains would be exhumed from the civilian cemetery of Seine-Maritime near Le Havre for reburial at Delville Wood Memorial to honour all South Africans, black and white, who paid with their lives during World War 1.

The reburial would go a long way towards the restoration of the dignity of black South Africans who participated in the war.

At the time, black South Africans soldiers were buried in different civilian cemeteries across France, while their white counterparts were buried at the Delville Wood Memorial.

After the visit in France, Ramaphosa would proceed to Sri Lanka for an official visit from Monday to Tuesday, said Mamoepa.

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