Politicians pay tribute to Collins Chabane

Public Service and Administration Minister Collins Chabane died in a car accident in the early hours of Sunday morning. (Gallo)

Public Service and Administration Minister Collins Chabane died in a car accident in the early hours of Sunday morning. (Gallo)

Minister of Public Service and Administration Collins Chabane, who died on Sunday, was committed to the struggle and solving challenges, Minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Sisulu said in a statement on Sunday.

“His dedication and commitment to our movement and our struggle to empower our people will be remembered by all of us,” she said. 

Chabane and his bodyguards Sergeant Lesiba Sekele and Sergeant Lawrence Lentsoane were killed instantly when a truck allegedly did a u-turn in front of their car on the N1 near Polokwane. The accident happened at around 1am on Sunday. 

“I worked with Collins for many years, both in government and in the ANC, he had a view and a possible solution for any challenge, any time of the day,” said Sisulu. 

South Africa had lost a leader and a minister who worked day and night to improve the lives of its citizens, she said. “We extend our condolences to his family and friends.” 

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille tweeted:

The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government was shocked by Chabane’s death on Sunday.

“We are shocked by this news and as the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government, we wish his family, friends and Cabinet colleagues strength during this difficult time,” said premier Senzo Mchunu. “He was a true democrat who gave his life to the service of our nation.”

The Congress of the People (Cope) on Sunday said: ”[Cope] is shocked at the untimely death of Collins Chabane in a motorcar accident this morning,” it said in a statement. 

“He was a hard-working and well-respected minister. We feel a deep sense of anguish at his being taken away from us so unexpectedly.” 

“Cope expresses its heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, the president, Cabinet colleagues and the ANC.” 

The Young Communist League released a statement saying: “South Africa this morning wakes up a poorer country as death has robbed us one of the sharpest minds in our government, in the congress movement and an intellectual par [excellence],” said Khaya Xaba, YCLSA spokesperson. 

Xaba said Collins would “forever be etched in our memories for his unrelenting fight against the oppressive white minority rule of the apartheid government”. 

“YCLSA members will forever be inspired by his unassuming character and the high level of discipline he displayed at all material times.” 

Xaba said Collins was an avid musician, having developed his love for music while in incarceration. “While in jail he learned music theory and how to play the harmonica. Cde Collins recorded two CDs. 

“We send our deepest condolences to his family, the movement at large and his Marimba band movement.”

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) said: “We would like to pass our deepest condolences to his family, the ANC, friends and comrades.

“Leaders are born, live and die. Minister Chabane was one of the extraordinary leaders that had passion, constructive criticism and vision. He was a diligent, eloquent and focused person to a level whereby his articulations in the house were not based on personalities and political allegiances but on practical socio-economic conditions confronting in particular the poor people of South Africa. His, was for a just society,” the party said in a statement.

“He may die but his contribution ever since he became a member of parliament and a minister will never be forgotten. We as UDM and the people of this country we will miss that bold fast persuasive voice, a voice when he spoke no one could talk while was speaking. This country has lost a leader indeed. Our souls are deeply sad by his sudden death.”

“To his family, we want to tell you that you are not alone in this deep sad moment. UDM cries with you and we know that people of this country are crying too,” the statement said.

Chabane’s death is a great loss to the country, the North West premier said on Monday.

Supra Mahumapelo said Chabane’s untimely death robbed the country of a selfless and devoted leader.

He encouraged provincial government employees to promote good governance in all aspects of the public service to honour Chabane.

“We must continue, in memory of this leader, to ensure accurate and complete adherence to the prescripts governing this sector of government, and prioritise monitoring and evaluation as a fundamental and strategic function in the public service.”

Chabane was a man of astute character, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

“He has contributed to a great extent, and we would like to say the country must really join the family in mourning in dignity,” Zuma said at Chabane’s Pretoria home. Zuma narrated his close relationship with Chabane.

“To me he was like a son. I had known him since he was 17. I was part of those who made him join the ANC,” said Zuma.

He said he had met Chabane’s family at the Pretoria home.

“It is difficult to explain what has happened. I have met the daughter, who arrived this morning because she is studying in London. I have also seen his brother,” said Zuma.

“We have conveyed our condolences, our sympathies. We have guaranteed that we are going to be with them, throughout this period of mourning. We will continue.”

Zuma said Chabane’s death had left a void that would be “very difficult to close”. He said several ministers were at Chabane’s home to assist in the funeral arrangements.

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