Chabane, who was killed in a car accident on Sunday, was remembered as a “political animal” who joined the struggle at a young age and dedicated his life to serve the African National Congress.
Limpopo premier Stan Mathabatha opened the wreath laying near the ANC headquarters’ giant fence, saying it would be “Collins’ Garden” and messages of condolence and a wreath would be sent to his family once the program was completed.
Chabane and two bodyguards — Sergeant Lesiba Sekele and Sergeant Lawrence Lentsoane — were killed instantly when a truck allegedly did a U-turn in front of their car on the N1 near Polokwane in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Mathabatha was one of the few who visited the scene of the crash, and he told mourners that he had not yet been able to clear the scene from his mind.
“The scene, comrades, will take time to erase from our minds.
“I remember I was talking to Buti [Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela] for quite some time,” said Mathabatha.
He said Chabane’s death had robbed the ruling party and its partners.
“…Our presence here is evidence that you are not alone,” he told the families.
“You are not [the only] people who are bereaved, we are also bereaved.
“You are not the only people who are clearing or drying your eyes, ours are also wet.
“You are not the only people with torn hearts, the ANC’s heart is also torn.
“I must say, comrades, that I have never been so weakened by the death of a comrade like I am today.”
Mathabatha described how he arrived at the accident scene and met Manamela.
“When I arrived there I could understand what he was saying. I did not believe it when the message came, I drove to the scene and confirmed it.
Mathabatha described Chabane as a unifier who united through his “every
incisive coined and focus[ed] solution to our problems.
“A strategist, he was,” said Mathabatha.