The late former President of uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), Kebby Maphatsoe, was laid to rest on Sunday at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg after a funeral service held in Protea Glen, Soweto.
Maphatsoe passed away last week Tuesday after suffering a heart attack.
The funeral service was attended by amongst others African National Congress (ANC) Chairperson and Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Public Service and Administration Ayanda Dlodlo, former North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo, Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg Jolidee Matongo and other dignitaries.
Maphatsoe’s brother, Joseph, again dismissed reports that his brother passed away after taking a COVID-19 jab.
“This is wrong, false information. He took his second jab on 22nd of August. He was okay, there were no after effects. On Tuesday I was called to Kebby’s house by his wife (Lerato) and found him lying down.
"I tried to resuscitate him, but could only feel his pulse. The paramedics arrived and tried to resuscitate him, but failed to do that. They later declared that he died from cardiac arrest,” said Joseph Maphatsoe.
Most speakers at the funeral described Kebby Maphatsoe as someone who was dedicated to the well-being and plight of ex-combatants, which they said often left him at loggerheads with the ANC leadership. Speakers also said Maphatsoe was looking forward to a unity conference with the MK Council.
Others, including his son Thabiso, said that he died an angry and bitter man due to the bad treatment he received from the ANC, after the party took a resolution to disband the MKMVA.
“Let him rest in peace. He died a bitter man, but at least he is at peace now, and he is happy where he is now. He was loved by many different people,” said Thabiso.
Dlodlo, who together with Maphatsoe, helped restructure the MKMVA, echoed other speaker’ sentiments that Maphatsoe cared about the plight of ex-combatants.
“He ensured that the voice of the military veterans of the ANC is heard, that MKMVA becomes a feature on the agenda of the ANC, the plight of our ex-combatants, not only of the uMkhonto weSizwe, but all liberation forces [is known]. He did his best to ensure that the plights of ex-combatants became a running point for discussion, conversation and implementation at a national level of our government,” said Dlodlo.
Delivering the eulogy, Mantashe said despite the difficult times the ANC had with MKMVA, Maphatsoe showed leadership and respected everyone.
“He was not happy that the MKMVA was disbanded. He was focusing on convening a unity conference that was going to unify MK ex-combatants. He understood that even if we disagree on many issues, Comrade Kebby knew that we should not be factional. He was a dedicated cadre of the movement. He was loyal to the ANC even when he was abused, he spoke his mind,” added Mantashe.
Fifty-nine-year old Maphatsoe was a Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans from 2014 to 2019. He had served in the Parliament's portfolio committees on Sports, Arts and Culture as well as the Police one in Parliament at the time of his passing.