Mourners from all walks of life have paid their last respects to African National Congress stalwart Thobile Mhlahlo in Port Elizabeth.

The 64 year old former Eastern Cape MEC for Safety and Security died two weeks ago after a short illness and was granted a special provincial funeral.

Among the mourners were Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, her deputy, Thabang Makwetla and several anti-apartheid activists.

Mapisa-Nqakula described Mhlahlo as a man of honour. “If you see many of us who have come in today, it is about that and the man. Here you have a comrade who sacrificed his all, left Port Elizabeth, went to exile. He was deployed to SACTU to continue mobilising workers inside the country.”

Mhlahlo’s former Umkhonto we Sizwe‘s colleague, Phakamile Ximiya described him as a unifier. “When MK was divided, we had the MKVA and MK Council, in this province today we speak of one of MK structure- MKMVA. Thobile ensured that we are united. We are the only united province.”

Mhlahlo’s son Lungelo thanked those who supported the family during the difficult period. “We feel grateful as a family to those who supported us especially, the Eastern Cape government for making the funeral as a state funeral we are very thankful for that.”