Chabane remembered as a committed public servant

2015-03-19 16:51

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The late Collins Chabane meant “everything” to his children and his comrades and colleagues eulogised him as the most committed public servant with a passion to help the destitute.

Close to 4000 people, including traditional leaders, MPs, doctors, musicians, ambassadors and business leaders gathered at the Tshwane Events Centre in Pretoria today to pay tribute to Chabane.

Among the mourners were struggle stalwart Andrew Mlangeni, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Graca Machel and arms consultant Fana Hlongwane.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa recalled many instances where Chabane, who died in a horrific car crash in Limpopo this week, displayed his compassion to others.

Chabane, 55, was killed together with two of his VIP bodyguards when a truck collided with their vehicle. The two VIP police officers were also honoured at a separate memorial service at the SAPS Training Academy in Tshwane.

Ramaphosa said the ANC and the South African public have lost a strong believer in improving performance in government to jack up service delivery.

He appealed to South Africans to use Chabane’s death as a means to galvanise the country’s motorists to make South Africa’s roads, where 47 people die a day, safer.

Ramaphosa said Chabane’s death had also robbed the country of one of the champions for the professionalisation of the public service.

Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini, whose federation is currently embroiled in fierce wage talks with Chabane’s department, the public service and administration, said Chabane was due to meet them to discuss annual increases for public servants.

Like many speakers, Dlamini remembered how Chabane was a good listener which made him a perfect person to discuss the thorny issue of wage settlements which are currently deadlocked.

Chabane’s son Matimba said his father meant “everything” to him and his sister, Tsakani.

“He taught us to appreciate the small things in life. He was the best friend and father we could ever ask for. He was the best friend we looked for in life,” said Matimba.

More than a thousand people, some of whom came from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and the Free State and dressed in ANC t-shirts, sang and marched at the venue, while hailing Chabane as a fierce freedom fighter.

Chabane will be laid to rest at his home village of Malamulele, Limpopo, on Saturday. President Jacob Zuma, who was not at the memorial, will attend the funeral.

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