Struggle stalwart Mendi Msimang served people selflessly, said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday.
Delivering the eulogy at the Special Official Funeral Category 1 for the late struggle veteran, President Ramaphosa said Msimang’s life can be described as one that was dedicated to serving others.
Msimang, a recipient of the Order for Meritorious Service in Silver was afforded the special official funeral which entails elements of military ceremonial honours.
He said the freedom fighter, came from a generation whose deeds will reverberate across the ages who played a prominent role in South Africa’s road to democracy and freedom.
“Uncle Mendi” as he was affectionately known belonged to a generation of leaders who were most concerned with serving their people.
The President said the character of such leaders like Msimang should not be forgotten as the country faces new and daunting challenges.
“We must draw strength and guidance from their deeds. The time for leaders like Mendi Msimang has not passed, the material temptation of political office have never been greater than they are today,” he told mourners gathered for the funeral service held at the Christian Revival Church in Tshwane.
“We need people who, like him, are truly selfless in their service. We need people like him, with an abiding honesty and an essential integrity,” said the President of the veteran who passed away on Monday.
He urged the country not to relegate such leaders to history while also speaking out against those who undermine institutions of democracy.
“It is at precisely this moment that we need leaders, public servants and business people of the calibre of Msimang.
Msimang, who passed away five days shy of his 90th birthday, was driven by firm convictions that every person has the capacity to do good and to make a meaningful contribution to society.
“We must retain, as he would have our focus on the overriding task to create jobs and tackle poverty. We must forge a social compact that recognises the enormity of the challenges ahead of us require that we all pull in the same direction. That is what Mendi Msimang was good at, building bridges, forging alliances and resolving differences,” said the President.
Those who knew him spoke of a man who was generous and caring.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Zweli Mkhize described the stalwart as a generous, astute father.
“We have lost an icon and one of the finest gentlemen,” he said.
Meanwhile, Msimang’s grandchildren reflected on life with the stalwart who was very punctual and enjoyed playing board games.
One of Msimang’s grandchildren Shaka Sisulu recalled how Msimang was a great conversationalist while others recalled his extreme sweet tooth, referring to him as the “sweetest old man”.
Among those who attended the service include Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as well as Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. – SAnews.gov.za