Mourners came out in their numbers to bid their final farewell to the late Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa on Saturday.
In a eulogy delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Molewa was described as a passionate servant who dedicated her life to serving her people.
“She was a daughter of the South African soil, with deep love for nature, for her country and for the African region.
“She led from the front and could often be found out in the field herself, in the trademark SANParks ranger uniform,” said the President.
The President described Molewa as a woman of principle and an astute professional.
“The late Dr Molewa executed her role as Minister of Environmental Affairs with diligence, with excellence and with dedication. She lent immense stature and gravity to the role.
“She has ensured that the conservation of the environment has become a catalyst to advance the objectives of the National Development Plan,” said the President.
Molewa was laid to rest in an official funeral which included a guard and military honours as declared by President Ramaphosa.
The official funeral service took place at the Tshwane Events Centre and Molewa was finally laid to rest at the Zandfontein Cemetery in Pretoria West.
True to her character, the late Minister Molewa told her colleagues and family that someday she wished to be buried in one of these eco-coffins.
“This wish has been realised through the provision of the wonderfully crafted coffin, made from invasive alien timber, that we see before us today,” said the President.
High ranking mourners included former Presidents such as Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma, government ministers and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Tributes poured in from all corners of the globe, as the world joined South Africa in mourning.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta sent his letter of condolence to the country – in which he revered Molewa’s dedication to global climate change affairs.
Molewa, who has been hailed as environmentalist and global climate change champion, was awarded the Officier de ’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur (Officer in the French Legion of Honour), one of France’s top honours in July this year.
Molewa received the award for her contribution to the liberation struggle, women’s rights and her illustrious effort in environmental protection, in particular her role in the Paris Agreement.
President Ramaphosa said Molewa understood the importance of her department and its ability to contribute and build the country’s economy.
“She was passionate about the role of the waste economy in addressing poverty alleviation and job creation.
“She was determined to provide dignity to waste-pickers by providing them with opportunities and tools of trade.”
A true pioneer, Molewa was the first female Premier of the North West between 2004 and 2009.
She joined the ranks of national government upon her appointment as Social Development Minister between 2009 and 2010.
She was appointed as Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs in 2010 before the two portfolios were split after the 2014 general elections. She maintained the Environmental Affairs portfolio until her passing.
Family bids farewell to a sister, mother and grandmother
Paying tribute to their sister, mother and grandmother, Molewa’s family described her as a leader and powerhouse.
“My sister, your child and daughter Mama, swam with sharks and outsmarted them. She was a princess and a leader. A dedicated servant to her people,” said the late Minister’s brother Fana Mmethi.
Molewa is survived by her four children, Keneilwe Mogasoa, Didi Sethema, Michael Sethema and Basiame Sethema, three grandchildren, six siblings and her mother Nnana Esther Mmethi.
Son to the late Minister, Michael Sethema, who is expecting his unborn child’s arrival next week, said he will teach his child about the powerhouse of that was his mother. – SAnews.gov.za