MEMBERS of the Working on Fire (WOF) programme pay tribute to Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa during her official memorial service in Pretoria yesterday. Oupa Mokoena African News Agency (ANA)
Paying tribute to late Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, her long-time Cabinet colleague Naledi Pandor said her former colleague’s work ethic, commitment to her job and the people of South Africa was similar to that of Nelson Mandela’s.

Pandor, who is the Minister of Higher Education, was speaking at the official memorial service for Molewa who died almost two weeks ago after she had contracted Legionnaires Disease while visiting China in September for the Focac meeting.

She will be laid to rest on Saturday in Pretoria.

“The contribution of the life of Edna Molewa mirrors the worthy attribution of Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu,” Pandor said.

Like Mandela, Nadine Gordimer and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pandor said Molewa was awarded the Legion of Honour by the French government this year - the highest decoration bestowed on a foreign national by the French government.

France honoured Molewa for her role in the negotiations that led to the signing of the historic Paris Agreement to combat climate change in 2015.

Pandor said none of her fellow Cabinet members and parliamentarians including the ANC paid their respects to Molewa, saying that three weeks before her passing, while part of a government delegation to China, “Edna Molewa was jovial, engaged and very happy”.

“She took lots of photographs. None of us imagined we will be in this place for such an occasion. She was a wonderful devout patriot of South Africa” Pandor said.

Pandor, who interchangeably addressed the mourners in English and Tswana, spoke of a her “distress” when former president Jacob Zuma appointed Molewa as premier of the North West government.

“She was a hard-working and dedicated Member of Parliament,” Pandor said.

However, she also admitted that it was during Molewa’s latest tenure as environmental affairs minister that “the national treasure bloomed” saying she was full of passion for her work, tthe environment, ocean economy and cared for rhinos.

Similar accolades for Molewa were showered on her by Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane of the Zion Christian Church (ZCC) who penned a special eulogy to the “loving politician, mother, sister and daughter”.

Both Pandor and Bishop Lekganyane remembered their first encounter with Molewa - albeit at different times - including witnessing how she excelled in her work, looking after the environment and welfare of rhinos.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga took some time to remind mourners that Molewa loved loud music and that was confirmed by her children.