The late Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa. FILE PHOTO: ANA

CAPE TOWN - Recently deceased South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa was a "warrior woman of the people in the prime of her life", Minister of Higher Education Naledi Pandor said at the official memorial service in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Pandor expressed her deepest sympathy and condolences to the family, staff and friends of Molewa who died last month after a short illness.

"I know she will be missed and we will always remember her fondly and it is trite to say none of us imagined we would be in this place for such an occasion when we were just with Minister Molewa in China three weeks ago," Pandor said.

Pandor said losses such as Molewa's were beyond comprehension and questioning.

"During the state visit to China, Comrade Edna was jovial, elegant, engaged and very happy, talking to each one of us in the delegation and taking lots of photographs. As we imagine how to celebrate her, our thoughts must surely turn to our year-long commemoration of our two great leaders, Mama Sisulu and Mr Mandela," said Pandor.

She further said that Molewa's contribution in life mirrored the worthy attributes of these remarkable leaders.

"Comrade Edna, we shall never forget you, we shall never forget your example. I remember how well you understood your subject matter, absolute hard worker, dedicated, excellent presentations, committed to her work. Rest in peace," Pandor said.

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African News Agency (ANA)