Media release

Government on official funeral service of Mma Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe

25 August 2018

On the 15th of August 2018, Mrs Zondeni Veronica Sobukwe passed away at the age of 91 in Graaff—Reinet.  President Ramaphosa thereafter declared that Mma Sobukwe will be accorded a Special Official Funeral Category 2. This category is reserved for distinguished persons specifically designated by the President of South Africa on request by the Premier of a province.

The Funeral Planning Committee (FPC) representatives met with the family in Graaff-Reinet on 18 August 2018. Subsequently the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on state and official funerals met on 21 August 2018 where they were briefed on the preparations. This FPC in consultation with the family did all the preparatory work including the venue; security programme, which is accorded this funeral, as well as the funeral and memorial service programme. The official memorial service was held on 22 August 2018 at the Sobukwe family home in Graaff-Reinet, which went well.

Today the proceedings started with a service at the Sobukwe home at 6am thereafter the cortege proceeded to the Methodist Church where the service was attended by Deputy President Mabuza. The official funeral started at the Botanical Gardens in Graaff-Reinet later this morning, where the coffin was draped with the national flag in accordance which the official funeral status.

The handing over of the flag and ceremonial guard of honour withdrawal, which signals the end of the official funeral, has had to be done at the marquee at the Botanical Gardens. This is normally done at the gravesite but unfortunately a decision had to be made, after consulting with the family, to dispense the ceremonial aspects of the funeral at the marquee which signalled the end of Mma Sobukwe’s official funeral.

The decision was taken to ensure that certain disruptive elements who were hell bent on desecrating the dignity of Mam’ Sobukwe did not succeed.   As government we saddened by the behaviour of certain element who disrespected the decorum of a funeral.

Phumla Williams
Cell: 083 501 0139

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