By Gabi Khumalo
Pretoria – Most dependable, humble, dedicated and selfless comrade -- this is how colleagues and friends of the late Minister Collins Chabane remember him.
Speaking at a prayer service for Minister Chabane at his residence in Waterkloof on Wednesday, Minister in the Presidency for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe said he will always remember Minister Chabane’s selflessness and his dedication, where at the tender age of 17, he gave up everything to participate in the struggle for freedom.
Minister Chabane was killed on Sunday with two of his protectors – Sergeants Lesiba Sekele and Lawrence Lentsoane – in a car crash on the N1 in Limpopo.
“I first met Minister Chabane in 1986 on Robben Island and I always had this impression that this was a man who was totally dedicated to the cause of freedom and democracy.
“He was trusted by the organisation and was part of the cadres deployed in the Department of Security and Intelligence. That is the reflection of the trust that the ANC had in him,” said an emotional Minister Radebe.
Minister Radebe said Chabane has left an indelible mark, particularly in government as MEC for Public Works and later Economic Development in Limpopo.
“His star was always rising and this was evidenced by the awards received by the departments he led. When President Zuma assumed the role of Head of State, he appointed [Chabane] to start the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation… It was Collins who was the trailblazer.
“President Zuma loved him. He actually trusted him so much [and had given him] a number of assignments and he performed those tasks. He made a strong contribution to government, the ANC and amongst us friends and comrades.
“The spear has fallen but we are going to soldier on after picking up the spear,” said Minister Radebe.
Also speaking highly of the late Minister, ANC Treasurer Dr Zweli Mkhize described Minister Chabane as a very dedicated member of the party.
“We will miss him. He was a committed cadre. He was always among those who will sit down and look at the problem facing the ANC and provide a solution. He was always there to give guidance. He was very friendly and humble… But when you sat with him and looked at the depth of leadership, experience and knowledge that he had, you’d realise that we were fortunate to have worked and served with him.
“The ANC is poorer with Collins’s departure but we are strengthened by the fact that his teachings will sustain us as we move forward. It is important for us to continue building cadres like him, who will always be there to help all the time,” Mkhize said.
A delegation from government also joined the prayer service. Members of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in South Africa packed the tent and sang spiritedly in tribute to the late Minister, who was also a spiritual person, who devoted his life to serving God.
Church moderator Reverend SPH Nyambi thanked government and the ANC for attending the prayer service.
“We are going to miss him because he was an asset. He was very humble and dedicated – [traits] he got from the church and put into practice when he was with both the ANC and government.
“We believe that where he is, he is resting in peace because he has done his part. It is up to us to soldier on and to keep his legacy alive,” said Nyambi.
*Click here to view our online tribute to Minister Chabane. - SAnews.gov.za