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Peacemaker Maphatsoe laid to rest

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

AMID the echoes of intermittent machine gun fire, family, friends and comrades of the late ANC MP Kebby Maphatsoe paid tribute to him at a funeral service held in Protea Glen, Soweto.

Gwede Mantashe, the ANC national chairman and Minister of Minerals and Energy described Maphatsoe as a capable leader. “He understood that when you have different views you are not enemies and have a responsibility to discuss your disagreement,” he said.

Mantashe also said Maphatsoe, who was involved in efforts to unite veterans of the ANC former armed wing Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), was a peacemaker.

Maphatsoe, 56, who was the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans from 2014-2019, died after suffering a heart attack. Before his death, Maphatsoe had told his family who should speak at his funeral.  He was the chairperson of the now-disbanded Umkhonto we Sizwe Veterans Association (MKMVA).

Ayanda Dlodlo, an MK veteran and the SA Minister of Public Administration, praised Maphatsoe for the role in establishing the MKMVA as a formidable force within the ANC, formed to manage the welfare of ex-combatants.

He said Maphatsoe loved the ANC with all that he had. “To him the ANC was the alpha and omega,” she said, dismissing allegations that the former deputy minister had been, as alleged by his dectractors, an enemy agent.

Supra Mahumapelo, the former  Premier of the North West and ex-chair of the ANC in that province, spoke of his last conversation with Maphatsoe. He said Maphatsoe had been hurt by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma, without trial. 

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Mahumapelo also said that Maphatsoe ordered that the process to unify the MKMVA and the Umkhonto we Sizwe National Command Council should be pursued.

Maphatsoe’s son paid tribute to his father and shared memories from the times they spent together as father and son. He spoke of his father’s love of people and the St John Apostolic Church and its music.

Johannesburg Executive Mayor Jolidee Matongo said the city has set aside R90-million for programmes dedicated to military veterans.

By The African Mirror

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