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Date: 09 May 2012
Title: Zuma pays tribute to Padayachie
Durban - Visionary, father, friend, leader and servant of the people - these are just some of the words the country's number one citizen used to describe the late Public Service and Administration Minister, Roy Padayachie.
As the masses gathered at the Sahara Kingsmead Stadium in Durban to mourn the loss of one of the most revered leaders in South Africa, President Jacob Zuma took the helm in comforting the nation as they said their final goodbyes to Padayachie.
"We [have] lost him... a gallant freedom fighter... We have lost a friend, a brother, a comrade and a man who truly loved this country and its people," said Zuma.
Despite the solemnity of the occasion, Zuma shared encouraging words that would not only evoke fond memories of the man who played a significant role in the country's struggle for freedom, but words that would also celebrate a dazzling life studded with achievement.
"We are honoured to testify today that we knew this gentle, humble giant of our struggle for freedom. We knew this patriot who hardly enjoyed comfort before the dawn of freedom and who, after the achievement of freedom in 1994, committed himself to the struggle to achieve a truly prosperous South Africa," Zuma said.
The President described Padayachie as an asset and a man who was always willing to serve in any position in government.
Also speaking at the funeral, Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma called him a man who was committed to everything he did.
"He was very compassionate, humble and disciplined," she said, adding that the country was robbed of a great role model.
"The day brought great sadness to all of us."
Dlamini-Zuma also described the late Padayachie as a hard worker and a man who loved his family.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan echoed her sentiments.
"He was committed to the development of children and fighting exploitation in South Africa," he said, adding that his mission was serving the people of South Africa. "He was committed to ensuring a better life for all the people of South Africa."
Padayachie passed away last week while attending the African Peer Review Mechanism meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A government representative from that country, who expressed "great sorrow" at his passing, was present today to pay tribute to Padayachie.
In her moving address, Trevenna Moodley, Padayachie's daughter, told mourners that the best tribute for her father was to continue to do good for all.
Speaking on behalf of the province, Kwazulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize said the province had lost a committed cadre.
"He was an asset to all of us."
He said the late Padayachie was a remarkable man who was always looking for something to do for his constituencies. He described him as a man who respected everybody, whether young or old.
Padayachie's coffin was wrapped in the South African flag as a symbol to honour him and to show that he was a hero for the country's people.
After the service at the stadium, family members, senior government officials and some politicians joined the family for the cremation at the Clare Estate Crematorium in Durban.
Condolence books for members of the public who wish to send messages have been placed at the Union Buildings in Pretoria and at Tuynhuys in Cape Town.
The funeral service was attended by, among others, premiers, MECs, councillors and the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. Also present at the funeral service were ministers from other African countries and members of the African Peer Review Mechanism.
Mourners paid their last tributes by singing and chanting freedom songs at the stadium before the proceedings to the Clare Estate Crematorium. - BuaNews