Families salute dead soldiers

2013-04-07 10:00

While families were mourning their loved ones at the Hamilton War Cemetery in Bloemfontein yesterday, Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Thandi Tobias-Pokolo told them it was not a time for questions.

More than 1?000 mourners turned up to send off three soldiers who were killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) on March 23.

Tobias-Pokolo, who represented the executive at the full military burial, said it wasn’t the time now to question government’s reasons for sending soldiers to the CAR.

“We should be proud of these men who died for their country to protect South Africa’s integrity and serve democracy. The morale of our soldiers should not be low after such a tragic event. We salute our fallen heroes,” she said.

Government came under fire this week for failing to fully explain why a large contingent of soldiers was sent to the CAR.

Three soldiers – Corporal Moswi Ntebaleng Mogorosi (39), and Riflemen Jimmy Mxhosana (27) and Kgoabane Isaac Thulo (27) – were buried at a joint funeral in Bloemfontein yesterday.

Others were buried in Soweto, Khayelitsha, Mahikeng, Matatiele, Mamelodi, Polokwane and Kuruman.

A section of the Viljoenskroon cemetery will be named after Lieutenant-Corporal Lucas Mohapi Tsheke (44), who was also buried yesterday.

Speaking at his funeral, Major-General M Moadira compared the soldiers to Florence Nightingale.

“Each of them were like Florence Nightingale – soldiers for peace. They were outstanding ambassadors for South Africa who were committed to South Africa in soul, body and spirit.”

Colonel Vuka Mahlasela, the commander of 44 Parachute Regiment in Bloemfontein, where the Free State soldiers were based, said the deceased were brave and carried out orders.

“Who are we to question orders?

We will also not do this in the future. Life goes on, it’s not static.

“We mourn today, but are satisfied that our seniors have explained enough. We will pick up the spear

and carry on.”

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