Famba kahle Mun’wanati

2015-03-22 15:00

As you read this, a week has passed since Minister of Public Service and Administration Collins Chabane died just a month shy of his 55th birthday. His early death, in a horrific accident in which both speed and alcohol are said to have been factors, robbed South Africa of a rare political talent.

“We know him to have been a quiet strategist in an occupation often given to populism and deafening rhetoric,” said Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at Chabane’s memorial this past week. The quiet revolutionary was highly impactful and well loved.

A fractious body of politicians put aside differences to mourn him this past week.

A guerrilla in the fight against apartheid, Chabane later entered government to distinguish himself again and again at various levels of government.

He established the department of performance monitoring and evaluation, and its work has been unheralded. We pause a moment now to note that, with his team, Chabane developed an effective system that diagnosed risk quickly and worked out who was performing and who not in the national Cabinet.

In this, he was a superadministrator.

From that role, Chabane moved to the department of public service and administration, the state’s toughest job. Chabane was a man of many talents. He played a mean harmonica and mbira. He was also a community activist, and a loving father and husband.

City Press flies its flag at half-mast for a minister who always made time for us.

Famba kahle, Mun’wanati

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