Former mayor passes away

The Mabelane family writes:

Mashishing is mourning the passing of one of its finest leaders, former mayor Mandla Mabelane. He passed away at home last week Tuesday, after a short illness.

A well-known activist and feisty leader, Mabelane was at the helm of the African National Congress and its youth wing and became mayor of the former Lydenburg Transitional Local Council at the tender age of 21. He held the position from 1996 to 2000. As mayor he was instrumental in hatching various developmental initiatives and was also at the forefront of the reconciliation and nation-building agenda. To this end, in 1999, under his leadership, the council resolved to confer the freedom of Lydenburg on former president Nelson Mandela, former Mpumalanga premier Mathews Phosa and Gen Constant Viljoen.

Mabelane also had a stint as speaker of the Thaba Chweu Municipality from 2000 to 2005. It comprises the towns of Mashishing, Sabie, Graskop and Pilgrim’s Rest. After serving this term he didn’t rest on his laurels but went on to establish the Mashishing Activist Forum which continued to raise pertinent issues affecting the community.

“We are still reeling from the shock of his untimely death,” says Ms Tiny Mabuza the family spokesperson. Mabelane was one of those true and selfless leaders who had the interests of the people at heart. We were still expecting a lot from him and his death is a great loss to the people of Thaba Chweu and the province as a whole,” she said.

Mandla Mabelane was born in Mashishing on June 17, 1974. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held at the Mashishing Community Hall on Thursday at 14:00. He will be laid to rest on Saturday at the local cemetery.

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