Billy Modise

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a special official funeral for former ambassador and ANC veteran Billy Modise, the Presidency announced on Friday. 

Modise, who served as democratic South Africa's first black High Commissioner to Canada, died on Wednesday night at hospital following a long illness. He was 87. 

Ramaphosa in a statement confirmed that Modise would receive a special official funeral category 1. 

A special official funeral category 1 entails elements of military ceremonial honours and is declared, in line with the Presidency’s state, official and provincial official funeral policy, for persons of extraordinary credentials specifically designated by the president.

“The late Ambassador Modise served our country selflessly and diligently and deserves this honour for his exceptional contribution to the achievement of a South Africa free of racial oppression and to the building of a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic country,” said Ramaphosa.

READ: Former ambassador Billy Modise dies

Ramaphosa has also directed that the national flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the country until Thursday, 28 June 2018, the day of the funeral.

Further details will be announced as arrangements are finalised in consultations between government and the Modise Family.