COSATU Public Service unions, namely, NEHAWU, SADTU, POPCRU, DENOSA, SAMA, PAWUSA and SASAWU, learnt with shock and deep sadness of the tragic passing on of Cde Collins Chabane, the Minister of Department of Public Service and Administration in the Republic of South Africa and his two protectors, Sergeants Lesiba Sekele and Lawrence Lenstoane who were also members of POPCRU, our sister union.
Cde Chabane, an ANC NWC member, a former Robben Islander, former exile, former combatant of the glorious people’s army, the MK and former MEC of Public Works in Limpopo Province amongst other deployments, was a brave man who, at a very young age, risked his life for total emancipation of the oppressed people of South Africa.
We worked closely with him when he was deployed to lead the Department of Public Service and Administration in 2014 towards the end of PSCBC Resolution 1 0f 2012 which dealt with, amongst others, the ground – breaking Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) which was very close to his heart. If completed in time, this scheme will be the first integrated and comprehensive housing scheme in the democratic public service.
Cde Chabane was willing to listen and frankly engage with public service unions at any time. We never had any problems with him as a comrade and a minister. At the time of his passing on, Cde Chabane was spearheading the last phase of 2014/15 negotiations which we all confidently think will be concluded by the 31st of March 2015 and we were looking forward to the signing of an agreement which is going to improve the lives of the public servants. However fate had other plans.
Cde Chabane’s death is a huge loss to the country and the continent he served with distinction. As a cadre of our movement, Cde Chabane leaves the responsibility to us all to build the ANC and to revive its core values of unity, selflessness, sacrifice, collective leadership, humility, honesty, discipline, hard work, internal debates, constructive criticism, as well as mutual respect.
We dip our banners in mourning you, Cde Chabane, our departed son of the soil. South Africa is poorer without you. We pass our deepest condolences to your family, your organisation the ANC, your colleagues in both Parliament and Cabinet, the DPSA staff, the country as a whole and in particular your close relative, our Convenor and SADTU General Secretary Cde Mugwena Maluleke. We say to them, your loss is our loss and we are with them in this trying and challenging time.
Hamba Kahle Mkhonto. We dare not fail you!