DEPUTY Minister in the Presidency Hlengiwe Mkhize has been remembered as a dedicated public servant who helped many women and children affected by domestic violence.
Mkhize, who served as deputy minister in the Presidency for women, youth and persons with disabilities, died last week following a long illness.
A memorial service was held in Randburg to commemorate her life.
Speakers spoke warmly of Mkhize's accomplishments.
She was listed as the founder of the National Children and Violence Trust in 1995 – an organisation dedicated to helping women and children affected by violence.
Patience Chauke, a representative from the organisation, said she was saddened by Mkhize's death.
Chauke said the organisation had played a key role in helping women and children and her loss would leave a huge gap in the sector.
Chauke described Mkhize as strong and dedicated in her social work.
"Prof Mkhize touched the lives of so many vulnerable women because of her dedication to her work. She worked hard to provide for women until her last day. It is up to us to live up to the legacy," said Chauke.
Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, staff member from Mkhize’s office Lebohang Mothiba said the deputy minister always listened and was willing to learn from her staff.
Mothiba said she was a visionary. "She lived a full life that personified service. To us, she was a deputy minister, mentor and knowledgeable leader. She was always clear about her vision.“
ANC treasurer Paul Mashatile shared similar sentiments.
He remembered how both he and Mkhize had served in the Struggle for liberation in the 1980s although they served in different parts of the country.
He said the “sun that brightened up” many people’ lives had been lost with Mkhize’s death.
Mashatile said the best way to honour Mkhize was to continue her legacy of seeking justice for women and children.
“She stood for the truth and was able to build bridges of reconciliation. She preferred unity over disunity. Her life will be emulated by many.
“The best is to continue building a caring and human society," he said.
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane revealed that Mkhize’s death came as Cabinet had approved a bill that would see the establishment of a national council to deal with gender-based violence and femicide.
She said the passing of this bill would serve as an honour to Mkhize.
“I have not just lost a colleague, but a sister and an elder. She always found areas to be fixed. We have lost, in the department, a real warrior, at a time where women are murdered at home, in the streets and everywhere they go,” the minister said.
Mkhize's funeral service will be held at Fourways Memorial Park Chapel on Saturday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa designated Mkhize’s a category 2 official funeral.