'Extraordinary woman and true patriot'

FAREWELL: President Kgalema Motlanthe speaking at the funeral of late Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri in Kroonstad in the Free State yesterday. 13/04/09. © Unknown.
FAREWELL: President Kgalema Motlanthe speaking at the funeral of late Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri in Kroonstad in the Free State yesterday. 13/04/09. © Unknown.

President Kgalema Motlanthe described the late Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri as an "extraordinary woman" at her funeral in Kroonstad in the Free State yesterday.

President Kgalema Motlanthe described the late Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri as an "extraordinary woman" at her funeral in Kroonstad in the Free State yesterday.

"Ausi Ivy was an extraordinary woman from Kroonstad, unassuming, determined and unrelenting on matters of principle, with quiet dignity and a healthy respect for education and its role in liberation," he said.

Motlanthe said he was saddened by the passing of this "esteemed patriot and a paragon of ethical virtue".

In a message read at Seeisoville Stadium, former president Thabo Mbeki, who attended with his wife Zanele, said he was saddened by the minister's death. He said he was privileged to have known and worked with her over the past 20 years.

"She was a true African patriot ... a serious-minded person." Mbeki said Matsepe-Casaburri was not in government for personal gain, but for the interest of the people of South Africa.

"Our country needs selfless, principled and dedicated people as Ivy was," Mbeki said.

ANC Free State chairperson Ace Magashule said: "... Ivy was a trustworthy person, an ANC member till death".

Magashule described her as someone with patience, who took her time before making decisions, because she wanted to make the right decision.

The thousands of people who attended the state funeral wore ANC and Congress of the People T-shirts. Former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, former ministers, dignitaries, current ministers and their deputies attended the funeral.

ANC president Jacob Zuma was not there as he was campaigning in KwaZulu-Natal.

Matsepe-Casaburri died last Monday at Kloof Hospital in Pretoria, at the age of 71.

She was born in Kroonstad in the then Orange Free State on September 18 1937.

Among other positions, Matsepe-Casaburri was the first woman to be appointed to the board of the CSIR, the first black person and woman to become chairperson of Sentech, the first woman and black chairperson of the board of the SABC. - Sapa

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