Johannesburg 240909 Ex student Rev. Motlalepula Chabaku attending the 70th birthday of Madibane High. Rev. Motlalepula Chabaku and former prominant students of Madibane High has formed a fund to collect money for the upgrading of the school. picture : neil baynes

Johannesburg - South Africa needs to elect ANC public representatives that will become true servants of the people motivated only by their desire to serve, the party's Gauteng chairman Paul Mashatile said on Saturday.

“These are public representatives that will walk in the footsteps of Reverend Motlalepula, Mama Chabaku and her generation,” he said in a tribute at her funeral.

“Mama Chabaku, in honouring your contribution to our movement we will continue to build unity and cohesion within the ANC.”

Chabaku, who was in her late 70s, died on Friday in Rockville, Soweto, from an illness.

President Jacob Zuma had declared that a special provincial official funeral would be held for Chabaku who was the former Free State speaker.

Mashatile said Chabaku was a true servant of the people, who provided shelter for those who were hunted by apartheid police.

“When we were persecuted by the apartheid police and could not stay in our own homes, we knew that Mama Chabaku would provide a home for us.

“This she did at the time when as young activists we needed nourishment.”

He said her presence at the time brought hope that freedom was within reach our lifetime.”

As a result of Chabaku’s contribution and that of her generation, the struggle for non-sexism in the ANC took prominence, said Mashatile.

“It was because of the contribution of Mama Chabaku...that we declared that our struggle will not be complete, our mission not accomplished and our goal not achieved unless we have secured the total emancipation of the women of our country,” he said. - Sapa