Former North West Public Works MEC Mmule Maluleka has been laid to rest. Maluleka died at her home in Mathibestad in Moretele last week after a long battle with cancer.

Mourners gathered at Mathibestad to pay their last respects to Maluleka.

At the time of her passing Maluleka was employed in the office of the speaker in the North West Legislature.

The 48-year-old was lauded as a humble person who always assisted poor families in her village.

Family Spokesperson Moses Mashaba says they are saddened by her sudden death.

“She was a person who was very forgiving and very giving at the same time. She was a person who never wanted to see people struggling, especially elderly people. Because I remember at one stage she donated out of her own coffers, she donated blankets and food parcels. Before this issue of food parcel could become a great issue in the government, she would start it initially at schools around. She used to do this feeding scheme. They use to cook at home and bring food for children at school. She was very much helpful and giving to the community especially the needy people.”

A friend of Maluleka, Faith Muthambi says she was shocked to hear of her passing, especially since she had recovered well after being diagnosed with cancer.

“I missed her for four months when she was admitted to Pretoria because she suffered from cancer. We still continued to share. We’d talk about politics, anything that was happening in life. The last time I spoke to her was on the 2nd of January when we were talking about the passing away of comrade Victor through COVID. And what she last said to me, ‘my friend, this disease is real. I  might be speaking to you for the last time. It’s either you will be gone, or me gone.’ But when I got this devastating news on the 8th January, my heart sunk, because I was not expecting it to happen, especially to her. Because she had since conquered the most notorious disease that was cancer.”

Former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo was among those who attended Maluleka’s funeral. He says Maluleka was a great leader who believed in serving the public.

“She had all the qualities. She was not arrogant, down to earth, hard-working. The mistake we make sometimes is that we want to see in some people ‘sophisticatedness’, and actually people who are very ordinary, who appeal to the ordinary masses of the people, those are the people who must lead the African National Congress. Those ones who come across sophisticated, you find that they lose contact with the base, but Mmule has never lost contact with the base. But she’s no more. Shame! We can only wish that she could have lived more.”

Acting North West Premier, Saliva Molapisi, says his province is devastated by the loss in dedicated servants

“She was a very dedicated member or a servant of our people. At a very tender age, she volunteered and sacrificed her life to fight for the people of our country. As you would’ve listened as people were paying tribute, many contributions that she has made on behalf of her people, particularly in this area of Makapanstad, Mathibestad. Her job was recognised and she was appointed as a member of the National Assembly at some point serving in different committees.”

Those who have worked with Maluleka believe it will be difficult to fill the gap that she has left.