PM mourns Mamoepa
PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane, says Lesotho will always remember the late South African government spokesperson, Ronnie Mamoepa, for the “remarkable manner” in which he conducted briefings of the South African Development Community’s (SADC) mediation efforts aimed at achieving lasting stability in Lesotho.
Mr Mamoepa, who served as South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson died last Saturday reportedly from complications from a stroke he suffered in June this year.
As Mr Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, he played a big role in disseminating information to the media on the progress of the latter’s facilitation of the SADC mediation in Lesotho which started in 2014.
This followed after an attempted coup that forced the-then premier, Dr Thabane to flee the country only to return under South African guard.
Mr Mamoepa’s last public appearance was when he attended Dr Thabane’s inauguration ceremony as prime minister at Setsoto Stadium on 16 June this year.
This followed the 3 June elections where Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention party gained 48 seats which it subsequently combined with those of the Alliance for Democrats (nine seats), Basotho National Party (five) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (one) to form government.
Mr Mamoepa, a veteran of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party was buried yesterday in Pretoria, South Africa and Lesotho was represented at his funeral by Public Works Minister, Thesele Maseribane.
In a condolence letter addressed to South African President, Jacob Zuma, Dr Thabane said Mr Mamoepa would be remembered for the “remarkable manner in which he handled the informative briefings during the recent SADC Medication Mission in Lesotho”.
“It is indeed with great sorrow and utmost sadness that I convey my deepest condolences on behalf of the government and people of the Kingdom of Lesotho to the beloved family of the fallen hero Mr Ronnie Mamoepa,” Dr Thabane said, adding that Mr Mamoepa was a legendary communicator.
He said Mr Mamoepa who was 56, would also be remembered for this lucid manner in bridging the divide between the media and government, adding that his impeccable communication skills would be forever embedded in the history books of “our great nations in the region and beyond.”
Dr Thabane said Mr Mamoepa’s sterling service in the office of high echelons, spanning 23 years, bore testimony to a life well lived.
“I solemnly encourage the Mamoepa family and the entire nation of the Republic of South African to take comfort in the words expressed in the book of Saint Paul of the Thessalonians 2:16-17,” he said.
The biblical book of Thessalonians states, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word”.
Meanwhile, the SA presidency described Mr Mamoepa as “a former political prisoner and member of the Gauteng provincial legislature”.
“He was a highly regarded and accomplished public servant and veteran communicator who served the ANC and various departments in government with distinction.”
The veteran spokesperson served as a spokesperson for ANC presidential hopeful, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, when she was Home Affairs minister until her election as African Union Commission chairperson in July 2012.
Mr Mamoepa also communicated the views and comments of different government ministers on topics as diverse as the Sudanese peace talks and the controversy over the Dalai Llama’s planned visit to South Africa in 2014.
In her book Robben Island, Charlene Smith detailed Mamoepa’s involvement as an ANC member during the anti-Apartheid struggle.
“Ronnie Mamoepa was a skinny kid who knew the (ANC) slogans and songs by heart and could raise his knees higher than most in the toyi-toyi,” the book states.
Ms Smith said Mamoepa was convicted of terrorism in 1980, at just 18 years of age.