Manto 'sacrificed her life for SA'

2009-12-21 19:29

Pretoria - South Africans have lost a comrade who gave her adult life to the service of humanity, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said at Manto Tshabalala-Msimang's memorial service on Monday.

"I speak with no hyperbole when I say Sis' Manto's death marks the end of a chapter in the history of the struggle," he told mourners in the Pretoria city hall.

Motlanthe said detractors of the former health minister should learn about the sacrifices she made for the country. She had strengths and weaknesses, like everyone else, he said.

"Yet what counts the most at the end of it all is to what extent we can liberate our strengths in the pursuit of lofty objectives, and inversely, how ably we can manage our weaknesses."

Motlanthe said she had been a dedicated activist who from her student years was prepared to execute ANC tasks in the fight for freedom.

"Forever keen to pull her weight in whatever effort, she was not only eager to do her bit, but always sought to perform her duties with excellence."

Intellectual

Deputy Correctional Services Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize, also the ANC Women's League treasurer-general, said Tshabalala-Msimang was an intellectual.

"Comrade Manto understood precisely that the advent of democracy constituted yet another terrain of struggle, which she was forever willing to engage, and to shape in favour of the poorest of the poor."

She said Tshabalala-Msimang would be remembered for South Africa's "comprehensive" HIV and Aids programme.

"She has received accolades for improvements in the area of malaria, immunisation of babies and the implementation of progressive anti-smoking policies, introduced by her predecessor."

About 1 000 people packed the hall to pay tribute to Tshabalala-Msimang.

'We are with you'

ANC Women's League members, dressed in their green and black uniform, joined the party's youth league in a song praising her.

"Kae kapa kae Manto re ya le wena (Wherever you are Manto, we are with you)," they sang, waving a placard bearing an image of her face.

Planning Commission head Trevor Manuel, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu, former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ncquka and Intelligence head Mo Shaik attended the service. A number of nurses in full uniform were also present.

A giant screen displaying her portrait and footage from her days at the helm of the health department loomed large. Another giant screen was set up for those outside.

Tshabalala-Msimang died last Wednesday following complications from a liver transplant two years ago.

Her funeral service would take place at the Cathedral Church of the Sacred Heart in Pretoria on Tuesday. She would be cremated.

- SAPA

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