KOKSTAD: Deputy President David Mabuza has hailed the late Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa as a gallant freedom fighter.
“Molewa was an outstanding servant of our people. She possessed extraordinary skills as an organiser, a thinker, strategist, and leader… grounded in the plight and aspirations of our people,” Mabuza said while addressing the Heritage Day celebration event in Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal.
Mabuza said the late Minister Molewa was an internationalist and exceptional environmental activist.
“She understood that nature conservation was equally about the preservation of our heritage. We express our heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, Cabinet colleagues and her political home, the African National Congress.
“Her fighting spirit will remain our guiding force. May her revolutionary and caring soul rest in eternal peace,” Mabuza said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a period of mourning and ordered that the National Flag be flown at half-mast at all flag stations countrywide and at South African diplomatic missions abroad.
Molewa was the Premier of the North West between 2004 and 2009. Thereafter she was appointed 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.
In July this year, Molewa 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 for her contribution to the liberation struggle, women’s rights and her illustrious effort in environmental protection.
Meanwhile, the ANC Professionals’ League expressed its sadness and shock at the passing of Molewa. In a statement issued by the founder, Thulani Ngubane, the league said: “The African National Congress Professionals League (ANCPL) joins the Molewa family and the world by expressing our sadness and shock at the passing of a global environmentalist, Dr Bomo Edna Edith Molewa. As the ANCPL, we are shattered at the untimely passing of this distinguished professional.”
The league also appealed to Molewa to tell the branch of the ANC in heaven about the inability of the party to attract urban working class and professionals’ votes and that the league will mobilise behind the banner of the ANC in the next general elections in 2019.
“We say farewell dear professional. The ANC needs more astute professionals like you. Go and join the Branch of the ANC in heaven, tell many astute ANC Professionals like President Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Doctor Alfred Bitini Xuma, Dr James Moroka, Reverend Zacchaeus Richard Mahababe, Philosopher John Dube, the intellectual and linguist Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje, Chief Albert Luthuli and the outstanding legal eagles OR Tambo and Dr Nelson Mandela and many others that when you left, the ANCPL had just unveiled itself to organize and mobilize professionals across the country behind the banner of the ANC,” Ngubane said.
“Tell them that this is after the ANC lost elections in major cities where the urban working class is based. Tell them the ANCPL is a new hope in advancing people’s power through thought leadership and political clarity,” added the statement.
Details of commemorative events and funeral arrangements will be communicated in due course.