Molewa was a 'powerhouse of enormous proportion'

Late minister of environmental affairs Edna Molewa was described as a selfless person and servant of the people at her funeral in Pretoria yesterday.

Every speaker who took to the podium told hundreds of mourners gathered at Molewa's state funeral service at the Tshwane Events Centre how remarkable and hard-working she was.

The service was attended by high-profile government leaders including President Cyril Ramaphosa, flanked by his wife Dr Tshepo Motsepe, Deputy President David Mabuza, former presidents Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma.

The brown and gold casket arrived at the venue in military convoy, covered with the South African flag.

Molewa, 61, died in hospital on September 22 after a short illness, living behind four children and her mother.

Molewa, a former teacher, was a member of the ANC national executive council and the ANC Women's League.

She became minister of environmental affairs in 2014.

In his tribute, Ramaphosa said Molewa was not just a beautiful and vibrant person but a powerhouse of enormous proportion. Ramaphosa said she was committed to the Struggle and was also a woman of fortitude and immense talent, who will be remembered in her unwavering belief in the constitution and in the ANC.

"She had courage, [was] extremely professional and guided by principles. She was an NEC member who was ever ready to be deployed to any task," he said.

Ramaphosa said Molewa provided leadership on various issues including the green economy and biodiversity, and was respected across the world.

"She led from the front and contributed in the decline of rhino poaching in the country," he said.

Paying tribute on behalf of former colleagues at water affairs, Dr Snowy Khoza said Molewa was "a beautiful and a giving soul who did an astonishing job." It was under Molewa's leadership that the government established a social economic framework to develop small businesses in various communities.

"She was concerned about people, the environment and the country," Khoza said.

Former transport minister Dipuo Peters spoke on behalf of friends and urged everyone to continue Molewa's legacy.

Women's league members in their green and black attire flocked to the stage and sang revolutionary songs as league president Bathabile Dlamini took to the stage.

Dlamini said Molewa stood for what she believed in. "She was committed to women's emancipation and didn't melt like ice when it was difficult".

Gospel music giant Rebecca Malope got the mourners on their feet as she performed some of her hit songs in tribute.

Molewa's children Basiame and Michael Sethema said their mother had a giving heart and expected nothing in return. She helped their family stick together and the children said they would miss the December summer holidays with their mother.

Molewa was laid to rest at the Zandfontein cemetery in Pretoria.

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