Daily Dispatch

People from ‘all walks of life’ to attend state funeral

- ASANDA NINI Senior Reporter asandan@dispatch.co.za

Political and business heavyweigh­ts from all around SA will be attending the state funeral of former anti-apartheid activist and provincial safety and security MEC Thobile Mhlahlo.

Mhlahlo, 65, who had also served as transport and public works MEC in his illustriou­s political career, died in Port Elizabeth’s St George’s Hospital on May 17 after a short illness.

President Cyril Ramaphosa this week approved a request from the Eastern Cape government to afford Mhlahlo an official state funeral.

His special provincial funeral will take place at the Nangoza Jebe Hall in Port Elizabeth’s New Brighton township on Saturday, with his body to be laid to rest at the North End cemetery.

Family spokespers­on Siyabulela Mhlaluka, his son-in-law, said people from all walks of life were expected at the funeral.

“Because he was involved in various aspects of society, including politics here and abroad, government, business, church and society at large, we are expecting quite a diverse number of prominent people to attend.

“Because of the selfless contributi­on my father-in-law made to society, I can assure you a number of big names will descend on Port Elizabeth to bid farewell to this veteran of the liberation struggle,” he said.

ANC provincial spokespers­on Gift Ngqondi said because this was an official state funeral, “many of the province’s MEC and senior government officials are expected to attend”, as well as former president Thabo Mbeki.

At his memorial service in Port Elizabeth this week, many senior provincial politician­s, academics and government officials paid their last respects to the former Umkhonto weSizwe operative.

On Friday, Africa’s Best 350 (Pty) Ltd executive chairperso­n Simlindile Hintsa took out a newspaper advert to pay homage to Mhlahlo, praising his unflinchin­g commitment to the service of his people and to his country.

Mhlaluka said when Mhlahlo retired from politics a few years ago, he started a family motor repair business in PE.

He leaves behind his wife, three daughters, one son, two son-inlaws and seven grandchild­ren.

Because of the selfless contributi­on my father-inlaw made to society, I can assure you a number of big names will descend on Port Elizabeth


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