Back to top

Remarks by Deputy President Paul Mashatile at the funeral service Mme Matlotlo Margaret Mathabatha, at the Uniting Reform Church in Southern Africa, Serala View, Polokwane, Limpopo Province

Printer-friendly versionSend by email
Our Chief Mourner, Limpopo Premier Stanley Chupu Mathabatha;
The Bereaved Families of Mathabatha and Moshoeshoe; 
Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
Members of the Limpopo Provincial Executive present;
Members of the NEC of the ANC and Leaders and Representatives of other Political Parties present;
Capricorn District Mayor and all Mayors and Councilors present;
Our Esteemed Traditional Leaders;
Leaders of Faith-Based Organisations;
Fellow Mourners, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Kgotsong! Bagaetsho Re a le dumelisa ka le bitso la Ntate!

We are gathered here this morning not only to pledge solidarity with our Chief Mourner and Leader of our Government and people, Limpopo Premier Stanley Chubu Mathabatha in this hour of darkness.

We are also here, on behalf of Government and the people of South Africa, to pay our last respects to a daughter of the soil, Mme Matlotlo Margaret Mathabatha, a liberation fighter in her own right, who spent most of her adult life dedicated to the socio-economic development of her people in the many leadership roles that she has played before and after the attainment of freedom and democracy in South Africa.

Premier Chupu and Comrade Maggie Mathabatha met and cemented their relationship in the trenches of our liberation struggle to free South Africa from the yoke of racial oppression, violent land dispossession and deliberate underdevelopment of the province and country they called home. Theirs was a bond formed in revolution.

Individually and collectively, both Mme Maggie and Premier Mathabatha took up arms, under the auspices of uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), the military wing of the then banned African National Congress, against an oppressor apartheid regime, which had been declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations.

In particular, Mme Maggie Mathabatha was relentless and undaunted, joining the progressive Trade Union Movement at a time when Workers Rights were not recognised as Human Rights by apartheid South Africa and the capitalist class.

In the 1980’s she lent her voice and energies to the workers struggle waged by the Commercial and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (CAWUSA), of which she was a member and a leader, affiliated to the Congress of South African Trade Unions, COSATU. 

Cde Maggie took to heart as well as lived and led workers through the slogan: “An Injury to One is an Injury to All”. Many among us here would testify to Mme Maggie’s heroics at the shop floor, where she was a constant pain in the neck of employers in the private sector, especially at Eastgate Mall in the present day Ekurhuleni.

Mme Maggie was to later leave the retail sector, following a protracted strike which saw many workers lose their jobs.

However, she was never lost to the quest to build a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa for she took this struggle to the next level, becoming instrumental in the founding and ultimate formation of the South African Democratic Teachers Union or SADTU, especially in the then Pretoria, Witwatersrand and Vaal or PWV region, now Gauteng Province. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Those of you who knew Mme Maggie would attest to the fact that she had a lifelong passion for education. It was that passion that drove her to develop herself mentally, intellectually and educationally. Thus she enrolled at the University of the Western Cape, affectionately known as Bush University among the Comrades, where she later obtained her first higher qualification, a Bachelor of Arts degree, in 1991. 

In the following year 1992, Mme Maggie again took the expansion of her intellectual horizon further, enrolling at the University of Limpopo, then called the University of the North, where she obtained a University Education Diploma, UED.

But she was not done! She went on to graduate with a Master’s Degree in Development from the University of Limpopo’s Business School, EDUPARK in 2011.

Mme Maggie continued to be a shining light to both students and educators alike, providing a good example to her people in the manner in which she carried herself and how she imparted knowledge to those who sought it. 

It was the same compassion and dedication she exuded into her professional work first as a teacher in various schools, then as a dedicated public servant and finally as an esteemed Member of the Diplomatic Corps, representing South Africa in Ukraine, where she served as Madam De-charge in the South African Embassy until she returned to South Africa, together with her husband in 2013 when he was appointed as the Premier of Limpopo Province.

Fellow Mourners, 

As we bid farewell to our sister, mother and grandmother to some and a comrade, friend and colleague to many of us here, we would like to thank the Moshoeshoe and Mathabatha families for giving their daughter to the service of the people of Gauteng where Mme Maggie grew up, the people of Limpopo where she led the revolution and the people of South Africa as a whole in the struggle to defeat apartheid and build a better life for all. 

Your loss is our loss and the country is bereft of a dedicated care-giver and nurturer of a generation of our people. 

We have no option but to pick the baton and continue on a journey you started and led, for our people to be completely and finally liberated from the clutches of poverty, unemployment and inequality. For the workers to have their rights recognised as human rights and for all South Africans to enjoy the fruits of freedom and democracy.

And finally, for our people to live in communities where they receive basic services such as water and electricity, housing, education and primary health. 
We once again wish to express our deepest condolences to Premier Chupu Mathabatha, the Mathabatha and Moshoeshoe families, the Limpopo Provincial Government, Comrades in the Tripartite ANC/COSATU/SACP Alliance, friends and former Colleagues of Mme Maggie Mathabatha.

May her soul rest in eternal peace!

Robala ka Kgotso Pebetse ka Sereto! 

I thank you!