Comrade mourned

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Politicians, business people, traditional and church leaders descended on the mining town of Phalaborwa on Saturday to pay their last respects to slain politician Norman Mashabane.

The event could be mistaken for an ANC national conference, judging by the number of ANC heavyweights who attended.

Mourners came from all corners of the country to honour Mashabane, who died in a car accident in Polokwane two weeks ago. Politicians and business people looked like they were in a fashion parade, judging by their dress code.

The service was held at the Phalaborwa Rugby Stadium before the burial at the local cemetery. Presidential hopeful Tokyo Sexwale remained calm and was not given a platform to speak.

He was seated in a marquee where most of his peers such as Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa, his North West and Northern Cape counterparts Edna Molewa and Dipuo Peters respectively, were seated.

Also in attendance were Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba, his boss and ANC Women's League president Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, fired Intelligence boss Billy Masetlha, former SA National Defence Chief of Staff Siphiwe Nyanda, former Limpopo premier Ngoako Ramatlhodi and many others, including representatives from both the Indonesian and Indian governments.

The last speaker before the cortege left for the cemetery was ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, who took a swipe at the media and accused it of knowing too little about the same ANC they wrote about.

He concluded by singing his trademark song, Umshini wami, which was well received by the mourners in attendance.