Government spokesperson Joe Maila was remembered at a memorial service in Pretoria on Thursday morning. PHOTO: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA

Pretoria - Members of the Maila family, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, numerous government communicators and journalists packed the auditorium at Government Communication and Information Services (GCIS) in Pretoria for a memorial service of government spokesperson Joe Maila.

At the time of his death last week, Maila was spokesperson for Motsoaledi. 

Maila's friend, Harold Maloka spoke fondly of their love for the sport of golf and local soccer club Mamelodi Sundowns. 

"He was always a professional and worked hard to ensure that the message of a healthy lifestyle reaches all," said Maloka.

"One of the things I remember about him is that he was always a snazzy dresser. He was always on point. Even when he was travelling abroad and he sees expensive shoes, he would call me and say between you and me one of us must wear these shoes."

Earlier this week, Maloka, who is also handling media inquiries on behalf of the Maila family, extended gratitude to South Africans for the outpouring of support.

Maila died on Thursday last week in a shooting accident in Pretoria.

“The Maila family has been saddened and learned with shock of the passing of Mr Joe Maila. The pain of losing Buti Joe has left and brought unbearable pain to the family. However, as the family we draw strength from the countless messages we received from all his friends, colleagues in government and in the media, and the public at large,” said Maloka in a statement.

“The family would like to express its sincere appreciation and gratitude for all the messages and support during this difficult time as they come to terms with this painful loss."
 
The circumstances of Maila's passing are subject of a police investigation. 
 
“The family wish to reiterate its request for the media and members of the community to allow them space and time to grieve as they prepare to lay Buti Joe to his final resting place,” the statement added.

The family has decided that the funeral will take place on Saturday at Potters House Church in Ivy Park in Polokwane, Limpopo province. 
 
The GCIS and the Ministry of Health hosted the memorial service on Thursday.