Deputy President David Mabuza has hailed the late Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa, as a gallant freedom fighter.

ˇ§Molewa was an outstanding servant of our people. She possessed extraordinary skills as an organiser, a thinker, strategist and leader ˇK grounded in the plight and aspirations of our people,ˇ¨ Deputy President Mabuza said.

Speaking at the Heritage Day celebration event in Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal, Deputy President Mabuza said the late Minister Molewa was an internationalist and exceptional environmental activist.

ˇ§She understood that nature conservation was equally about the preservation of our heritage. We express our heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, Cabinet colleagues and her political home, the African National Congress.

ˇ§Her fighting spirit will remain our guiding force. May her revolutionary and caring soul rest in eternal peace,ˇ¨ Deputy President Mabuza said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a period of mourning and ordered that the National Flag be flown at half-mast at all flag stations countrywide and at South African diplomatic missions abroad.

The late Minister Molewa was the Premier of the North West between 2004 and 2009. Thereafter, she was appointed Social Development Minister between 2009 and 2010. She was appointed as Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs in 2010 before the two portfolios were split after the 2014 general elections.

She maintained the Environmental Affairs portfolio until her passing.

In July this year, Molewa was awarded the Officier de ˇ¦Ordre National de la Légion dˇ¦Honneur (Officer in the French Legion of Honour), one of Franceˇ¦s top honours for her contribution to the liberation struggle, womenˇ¦s rights and her illustrious effort in environmental protection.

Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nadine Gordimer have also received the award.

President Ramaphosa has declared an Official Funeral (category 1) for Minister Molewa.

Official Funeral Category 1 is for serving ministers, Speaker of the National Assembly, Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, premiers and distinguished persons specifically designated by the President of the Republic of South Africa.

The memorial service will be held on Wednesday, 3 October, and the funeral service will take place on Saturday, 6 October 2018, both in Pretoria.

ˇV Source: SAnews.gov.za