Death has robbed Mpumalanga's Mbombela Municipality of a dedicated councillor.
Councillor Mfishane Elvis Mndebele, the only Independent Democrats representative in Mbombela, died on Monday after a short illness.
Mndebele was born in August 1948 in Sabie, outside White River. He was the second son of Elmon and Mcenekile Mndebele.
He started his education at Edwaleni Primary School in KaBokweni. He later studied to become a teacher and taught at Gutshwa Primary, where he worked for many years.
He then joined National Food Distributors as a supervisor. In 1979, Mndebele started his own business. He remained a businessman and councillor until his death.
His political career began in the dark days of apartheid when he joined the Inyandza Movement. Mndebele became a member of the ANC when Inyandza was incorporated into the ANC before the dawn of the new democracy.
He later joined the United Democratic Movement (UDM). When Patricia de Lille established the Independent Democrats (ID), Mndebele became a member. At the time of his death he was an ID councillor at Mbombela.
De Lille this week described Mndebele as "man with a heart of gold".
"Losing a man like him, a person with huge sense of humanity that touched every one of us, is a big loss to the ID and our country. He taught the party a lot about caring and encouraged us to be devoted to our families, the poor and our party," she said.
Roelf Pretorious, ID councillor in the Govan Mbeki Municipality, also in Mpumalanga, said Mndebele "served the people and worked tirelessly to expose irregularities in his municipality".
"He fought to get public representatives to do their work and deliver. His commitment to the people was incredible.
"Elvis was very ill before the recent ID national congress, but still drove to Cape Town just so that other ID delegates who travelled with him could attend," said Pretorious.
Mbombela Municipality Speaker Jimmy Mohlala said: "We are going to miss him. He was particularly concerned about service delivery, especially water and roads for rural communities.
"He was a very humble and dedicated councillor and we will all miss him terribly," he said.
Mndebele is survived by two wives, Anita and Maggie, 13 children and seven grandchildren.
He will be buried tomorrow at the Spelanyane Cemetery. The service will be held at the local community hall at 7am.