Despite advancing in his political career, former public service and administration minister Collins Chabane remained humble and respectful, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.
“Minister Collins Chabane was a down-to-earth person. He always treated everyone with the same dignity and respect, whether they were a manual labourer or gardener at the Union Buildings or a fellow minister,” Ramaphosa told mourners at Chabane’s memorial service in Pretoria.
“Although he had progressed to the highest levels of the ruling party and of government, he always retained this humility. As a result, he was a good listener, and was always open to hearing others’ points of view.”
Ramaphosa said Chabane had listened because he understood he may have been wrong at times.
“He did not think that he knew it all — he was very much aware that he might be wrong about some things and he was willing to change his views on the basis of being presented with new evidence,” said Ramaphosa.
He paid tribute to Chabane for his role in seeking peace on the African continent.
“One of the less known aspects of Chabane’s work was that of promoting peace and security on the African continent. He did extensive work in many countries in Africa, but especially in South Sudan.
“Many South Sudanese fondly regarded him as one of their own. They sometimes mistook him as a citizen of South Sudan. He took time when he travelled to South Sudan to visit many people of South Sudan in their homes and villages,” said Ramaphosa.
The memorial service at the Tshwane Events Centre was attended by numerous government ministers and their deputies.
The presidency announced on Tuesday that Chabane would receive a category one official funeral at the weekend.
President Jacob Zuma ordered that the national flag be flown at half-mast at all flag poles across the country on Saturday, the day of the funeral.
Chabane and sergeants Lesiba Sekele and Lawrence Lentsoane were killed on Sunday morning when a truck allegedly made a U-turn in front of their car on the N1 between Mokopane and Polokwane in Limpopo. SAPA