Mourners filled Feather Market Hall in Port Elizabeth to bid farewell to former Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) ANC chief whip Phumelele Stanley Ndoni, who died last Monday.
The funeral was attended by ANC bigwigs in the Eastern Cape and several MPs.
Ndoni was more popularly known as “Bicks”, with his brother, Mawonga, saying it took over his true names.
“Strangely, the name Bicks was not even on his ID, but he was widely known as Bicks throughout his life,” he added.
Many hailed him as an exemplary ANC leader throughout his years as a deployee.
Speaking to News 24, retired minister Gugile Nkwinti said Ndoni was a humble man who was dedicated to building the ANC.
“He was a committed back office worker, he was not interested in the limelight, a definite doer who did not waste time on empty talk,” added Nkwinti.
“Bicks Ndoni was a humble man who played a central role in bringing together the two big municipalities – Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage.”
He said he had the privilege of working closely with Ndoni, Mike Kwenaite, Lizo Mtana and other disciplined comrades. “Together with these men we built what is now known as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality under not very easy circumstances. His humility played a huge role in this transition.”
His long-time friend, Steven Dondolo, said one of the greatest things he loved about Ndoni was his decisiveness while he served as mayor of Uitenhage during the early 1990s.
“He took bold decisions that enabled growth in our communities of Uitenhage,” added Dondolo.
Former deputy minister of finance Mcebisi Jonas urged mourners to accept Ndoni’s death and let sleeping dogs lie.
Since his death during an organisational meeting at the ANC’s regional headquarters, a lot of blame has been apportioned within ANC circles, with regional chairperson Mike Xhego calling for a commission of inquiry into his death.
Jonas pleaded with the crowds to keep the peace and move on. “Do not blame others, even when it is tempting to do so.”
He said Ndoni was a peaceful man, a disciplined cadre who possessed great calm.
“He had outstanding humility, special discipline and calmness in the most difficult moments. He was a unifier that came from a unionism that saw him as a shop steward that symbolised an anchor,” added Jonas.