Businessman Maruma has funeral fit for a king

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Limpopo businessman Rufus Maruma was buried like a king on Saturday.

In fact, his funeral was the biggest thing to happen in Limpopo since the ANC's December congress in Polokwane.

Thousands of mourners descended on the tiny village of Tjatjaneng in GaMothapo near Polokwane to bury him.

Maruma died two weeks ago after a long illness.

Owners and managers of hotels, lodges and motels in and around Polokwane said though they were not booked out, they had accommodated large numbers of people attending the funeral.

National and provincial political heavyweights, except Limpopo education MEC Aaron Motsoaledi, were conspicuous by their absence at the funeral of the man who was regarded as the hope of the province.

Mourners came from as far afield as Gauteng, North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

The funeral service was held at Maruma's posh house in the village.

His luxury cars, a Hummer H2, a BMW X5 V8, a Porsche Cayenne and several other models were displayed next to the huge marquee where the service was held for everybody to see.

Maruma also owned two private jets, one of which was seen flying over the mourners during the service.

Speakers described Maruma as a visionary who was always willing to help in whatever capacity he could.

The local chief, Refilwe Mothapo, said they would miss Maruma's immense contribution to uplifting of the lives of his community members.

"We have lost a great man - we cannot imagine the future without him," said Mothapo.

Maruma was director of more than 15 companies, some of which he had founded himself.