SA mourns the late Min­is­ter Molewa

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Re­mem­ber­ing the late En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Edna Molewa

South Africans have bid farewell to the late En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Edna Molewa who passed away re­cently at the age of 61. She died as re­sult of com­pli­ca­tions re­lated to Le­gion­naires' dis­ease – a se­vere form of pneu­mo­nia.

The Min­is­ter was sent off in an of­fi­cial fu­neral (cat­e­gory 1), which is re­served for serv­ing Min­is­ters, among oth­ers.

Pay­ing tribute to the late Min­is­ter, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa re­ferred to her as an ex­tra­or­di­nary leader of the peo­ple.

He said her pass­ing was a dev­as­tat­ing loss to the na­tion and to the global com­mu­nity, who owed a great debt of grat­i­tude to the late Min­is­ter Molewa for her cham­pi­onship na­tion­ally and glob­ally of the en­vi­ron­men­tal in­tegrity of a sus­tain­able planet Earth.

“We shall miss her greatly,” the Pres­i­dent said.

Min­is­ter Molewa served the South African gov­ern­ment in many port­fo­lios. She dis­tin­guished her­self in many field, and had most re­cently been be­stowed with the Of­ficier de l'Or­dre Na­tional de la Lé­gion d'Hon­neur (or Of­fi­cer in the French Le­gion of Hon­our) by the French gov­ern­ment.

The Le­gion of Hon­our cel­e­brated Min­is­ter Molewa's com­mit­ment to South Africa, the strug­gle for free­dom and democ­racy, women's rights and the fight against cli­mate change.

The Se­fako Mak­gatho Health Sciences Univer­sity (SMU) also paid tribute to the Min­is­ter, and hon­oured her for her con­tri­bu­tions and pioneer­ing lead­er­ship in nu­mer­ous spheres.

Min­is­ter Molewa was in­au­gu­rated in March 2017 as the first Chan­cel­lor of the SMU and served in this ca­pac­ity un­til her un­timely pass­ing.

“Dr Molewa fully and un­con­di­tion­ally em­braced the vi­sion and mis­sion of the in­sti­tu­tion and con­trib­uted im­mensely dur­ing her short term of of­fice to the sta­bil­i­sa­tion and de­vel­op­ment of the SMU,” the univer­sity said.

“The SMU owes a great debt of ap­pre­ci­a­tion to our Chan­cel­lor for rep­re­sent­ing the in­sti­tu­tion with pas­sion and dis­tinc­tion, and for in­tro­duc­ing the SMU as a fledg­ling in­sti­tu­tion to im­por­tant na­tional and in­ter­na­tional net­works,” the univer­sity added.

Speak­ing on be­half of the Molewa fam­ily, the Min­is­ter's brother Fana Mme­thi said the fam­ily ap­pre­ci­ated the mes­sages of sup­port and trib­utes from South Africans and peo­ple from across the globe.

“It is par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult to come to terms with her pass­ing, given that she was cut down in the prime of her life when she still had so much to of­fer to her fam­ily, her friends, her col­leagues, her church, and to her com­mu­nity,” said Mme­thi.

Min­is­ter Molewa was the North West MEC for En­vi­ron­ment from 1996 to 2004. From 2004 to 2009, she was the Pre­mier of the North West. In 2010, she be­came the Na­tional Min­is­ter of Wa­ter and En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs.

Molewa was in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised and re­spected in the cli­mate change fra­ter­nity, and has been in the van­guard of global ef­forts since the ge­n­e­sis of the Paris Agree­ment at the 2011 COP17 in Dur­ban.

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