The call to put people first rang out loud as family, friends and colleagues bade farewell to ANC Stalwart Dr Zola Skweyiya during a special official funeral in Pretoria on Saturday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the eulogy.

Skweyiya presided over the amalgamation of the Public Service and Administration departments in democratic South Africa, championing putting people first or ‘Batho Pele’.

He was laid to rest at the Pretoria East Cemetery.

Ramaphosa has hailed Skweyiya as the father of the Batho Pele ethos.

“When former president Nelson Mandela entrusted Zola Skweyiya with a formidable challenge of transforming the oppressive apartheid machinery into a developmental state that would serve all South Africans, he undertook this task with commitment, responsibility and purpose. He said public services are not a privilege in a civilised and democratic society, they are a legitimate expectation and through that he became the father of our Batho Pele ethos,” explains Ramaphosa.