President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the late Deputy Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, as an honest leader and praised her for patriotism.

Delivering the eulogy at Mkhize’s funeral at the Fourways Memorial Park in Johannesburg, Ramaphosa described her death as a loss to government and the South African public.

The President had declared an Official Funeral Category 2 for Mkhize who was also a member of the ANC National Executive Committee.

Ramaphosa also ordered that the national flag be flown at half-mast at all flag stations across the country until this evening.

Mkhize died last week at the age of 69. Her family has confirmed that the late Deputy Minister had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017.

Ramaphosa says Mkhize will be remembered for her humanism.

“Our departed colleague has left behind many good works. Good works that are testified by many she brushed shoulders with during her journey on earth but what she has also left behind is a reminder that the values define us more than what we were.”

“She was one South African who truly loved her country. She was a compassionate leader, she was a peacemaker and a bridge builder. She was an influential leader but she was also very humble. She was respectful to all our people. Importantly, she was also an honest leader,” added Ramaphosa.

Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize to be laid to rest at Fourways Memorial | Ntlantla Kgatlhane updates

Mkhize fought for the vulnerable:Buthelezi

Former Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, says Mkhize was always prepared to fight for the vulnerable and the voiceless. He paid a virtual tribute to the late Deputy Minister.

Mkhize previously served as Higher Education and Training Minister, Home Affairs Minister and Deputy Minister for Economic Development. She also served as South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands and was an ANC NEC member at the time of her death.

Buthelezi says she was determined to achieve justice at all costs.

“The Honourable Mkhize and I served together in the National Assembly. She was someone who was prepared at all costs to incur social justice for the vulnerable and the voiceless. South Africa is privileged to have had her leadership. There are many in our country who may not even know what the honourable Professor Mkhize did for them yet they are enjoying the rewards of her labours. The spoken gratitude expressed today by those of us who understand the demands of servant leadership requires tremendous sacrifice of self which Honourable Mkhize gladly made,” says Buthelezi.

A well-rounded leader

African National Congress (ANC) veteran, Reverend Frank Chikane has described the late Mkhize as a well rounded and reliable leader the country has ever produced. He says Mkhize was a committed person striving for the wellbeing of the people of South Africa.

Chikane says Mkhize was a decisive leader with integrity.

“She was characterised by a high level of integrity. A leader with clear boundaries of what can and what can not be done. That remains is for us who are still alive to continue fighting for the nature of the society we struggled for together with you and for which many of our comrades paid the ultimate sacrifice and died,” says Chikane.

Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize Official funeral service