'Rest in peace Joe, until we meet again' - Motsoaledi

2017-10-26 16:20
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. (File, Netwerk24)

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. (File, Netwerk24)

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Pretoria – Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi was faced with the grim task of identifying the body of his spokesperson and friend who died in a tragic shooting accident last week.

Motsoaledi, who delivered the eulogy at Joe Maila's memorial on Thursday, said that in addition to identifying his body, he had to break the tragic news to Maila's family.

And although he had done many post-mortems in the past, he had struggled to get himself through the mortuary doors.

He did not want to convince himself that Maila was no more.

"I caught myself at least twice listening to the radio or watching TV where something is said about the department that must be corrected. I start phoning Joe and then break down, realising it won’t be answered," said a distraught Motsoaledi.

Family, friends, colleagues, journalists and senior government officials gathered at the GCIS building in Pretoria to honour the life of Maila, who had been Motsoaledi's spokesperson since 2012.

READ: We draw strength from messages of support – Joe Maila's family

Motsoaledi said his subconscious had still not accepted that Maila was dead. He said he had to "man up", as Maila's family was counting on him for strength.

Maila had been more than just a spokesperson to him. "As you all know, Joe was my spokesperson since 2012 and spoke on my behalf every day.

Today is my turn to be his spokesperson, a task that I didn’t anticipate," said Motsoaledi.

"Over time, our relationship stretched beyond that. Somehow, he morphed into my confidant. In many ways, I forgot that he was my spokesperson."

Motsoaledi, who struggled through the eulogy, said Maila was a no-nonsense spokesperson who was not afraid to challenge him. Bidding farewell to his friend, colleague and brother, Motsoaledi's voice raw with emotion. He said: "Rest in peace Joe, until we meet again."

Maila died on Friday, after allegedly accidentally shooting himself at a shooting range. Police are investigating the matter. His funeral will take place on Saturday, October 28, at Potters House Church, Ivy Park, in Polokwane, Limpopo, at 07:00.

Read more on:    aaron motsoaledi  |  joe maila  |  pretoria

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