Pretoria – The late Public Service and Administration Minister, Collins Chabane, was more than a comrade, a brother, mentor and a family friend, says Member of the Portfolio Committee on Communications, Moses Tseli.
Tseli, who had known Minister Chabane for about 25 years in various capacities, shared his personal and most precious memories of the late minister with SAnews.
“I still remember his words at my wedding 17 years ago, when he publicly told my wife that ‘Cde Tseli is already married, his first wife is the ANC, so you are going to be his second wife’. I believe these words continue to keep my family intact,” he said.
Tseli worked as Chabane’s media liaison officer and spokesperson in the provincial departments of Public Works and Economic Development, Environment and Tourism between 2004 and 2009.
“To some of us who were privileged to work very closely with him, his untimely death is a very serious blow that left a huge gap that will remain forever and it is very difficult to believe that he’s no more.
“When we received the sad news on Sunday morning, we were so devastated with no one to console us. I will always miss his love, compassion and sense of humour.
He said they worked very well in structures of the African National Congress (ANC), when he was the Regional Secretary of the then Limpopo Region, while Minister Chabane was the Provincial Secretary.
According to Tseli, the late Minister’s legacy in Limpopo speaks for itself. “The Department of Public Works scooped many awards under his leadership. Cde Chabane also set up the provincial administration of Limpopo from scratch as MEC in the Premier's Office,” he said.
Tseli said he will remember Chabane as an intellectual of note and a humble servant of the people who preferred to live a simple life and always wanted to be at the level of ordinary people even if he was an Honourable Minister.
“Muchaviseki as he was affectionately called, preferred a casual life despite his position in the ANC and government.
“Until you are told about his position, you would hardly tell that he was a very important person, realising how he would mingle with people wherever he was. Cde Chabane would always be surrounded by people because he was very accessible and had a very good sense of humour.
“Whenever he is back at home in Limpopo, there will always be people at his place and he will provide them with food and drinks,” he said.
Tseli said Minister Chabane had much love for his family, including the extended family members, adding that while the family has indeed lost a real pillar of strength, the ANC and government have indeed lost a strategist, dedicated leader who preferred to work behind the scenes.
“In meetings, he preferred to be the last person to speak and he would always add substance, wisdom and direction to the meeting.
“Even in difficult circumstances, Cde Chabane will remain calm. I don't remember him being angry even if the situation dictated that way,” he said.
When Tseli joined Parliament in May last year, he said it was his former boss, who took him through all the processes which lasted for more than two hours.
“I guarantee you that we will never disappoint you my friend and will remain taking the struggle of improving the lives of our people forward,” he said in memory of Minister Chabane.
*Click here to view our online tribute to Minister Chabane. - SAnews.gov.za