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MEDIA RELEASE | SAFCEC CEO Eulogy for the late Dr Thandi Ndlovu

Friday, 30 August 2019  
Posted by: SAFCEC Communications
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Eulogy by Webster Mfebe, CEO of the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) on the occasion of the funeral service of the late Dr Thandi Ndlovu, at House of Treasure Ministries, Rispark, Johannesburg, 30 August 2019.


"Programme Director; the presiding pastor; government leaders, elected and appointed; leaders of political parties; leaders of organised business; members of the media; and fellow mourners at large.

First, let me relay my heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Thandi Ndlovu’s family for the honour and opportunity they have graciously afforded me to speak at this God-appointed occasion. For we all know the fact that “Man proposes and God disposes”, we missed Dr T at our SAFCEC Council of which she was an active member and was tipped to become president at its 80th Anniversary on 13 October 2018.

Speaking to Construction and Engineering News after her appointment to the SAFCEC Council in 2016 and commenting on the impact that her appointment to the SAFCEC Council, Dr Ndlovu had this to say: “It will accelerate our own continued transformation as a truly empowered, all-encompassing, black-owned construction company, commanding the respect of the industry, and leading the way forward". Today, we are all conglomerated here to celebrate the life and times and pay a fitting tribute and bid a final farewell, in loving memory of Dr Thandi Ndlovu, affectionately known as Dr T.

Dr T was many things to many people who knew her very well and could therefore be aptly described as a sister, mother, grandmother, friend, colleague, mentor and coach, consummate and compassionate professional, MK Veteran, courageous, industrious, agile and very decisive, tenacious, ambitious, adaptable, true patriot, pioneer, intelligent, articulate, ethical, dependable, pragmatic, visionary, humanitarian, empathetic, generous, philanthropist, spiritual being, gallant fighter for socio-economic justice, community and nation builder, and most importantly a woman of prodigious stature and character, a beautiful and snazzy dresser, tall and towering and almost intimidating - although soft spoken and respectful, indeed an effective multi-award winning leader extraordinaire.

Fellow mourners, although the body of Dr T lies here before us cold, lifeless, motionless and speechless, we dare not fear death, especially when William Shakespeare teaches us: “Cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange than man should fear, seeing that death a necessary end will come when it will come”. We dare not fear death, especially when Jesus Christ himself defeated and demoted death into a minute status of a mere cup, when he said in Matthews 26:39, “My father, if it is possible may this cup be taken from me, yet not as I will, but as you will”.

May the souls of all those who accompanied Dr T and others who perished on the spot, rest in eternal peace. But Dr T, a formidable fighter, even defied death on that fateful day of the unfortunate head-on collision by refusing to die on the accident scene, but later died in hospital as consequence of the absence of specialists in Rustenburg that may have been able to deal with her life-threatening condition, and she eventually succumbed to her fatal injuries. How ironic that as a medical doctor in her own right, she was not conscious enough to even make suggestions to other doctors due to the state of some of the ill equipped and under staffed hospitals in our country. But the doctors who tried their level best to save her on that fateful day have to be commended.

In Dr T’s memory, I therefore call on our government to ensure that even small and rural towns in the hinterland of our country, are provided with adequate health care services in order to give every South African their constitutional and non-derogable constitutional right to life, which, inter alia, starts with the right to healthcare services and I sincerely hope that the much vaunted National Health Insurance (NHI) will remedy these inequalities, preceded by the development of healthcare infrastructure, routine maintenance, adequate staffing and availability of the requisite medical supplies and equipment. Only then will the Constitutional right to healthcare services and right to life assume true meaning for both the peasant and the president, without exception.

Dr T hated corruption, malfeasance and state capture with all her heart, and we both agreed that the private sector is a major source of all this, thereby contributing to our dysfunctional state-owned enterprises when one considers that over two thirds of the majority of all board members are drawn from the private sector. It is for this reason that she agreed to pen a foreword, proof read and contribute towards chapters in the book I am currently writing, entitled "Juniorisation, Mediocritisation and Capture of State Institution in South Africa". I must make brief mention of this for all South Africans to hear, as some of them - up to this very moment - have a lived experience of these illegal and and unconstitutional atrocities. I also refer to these triple challenges of juniorisation, mediocritisation and capture facing state institutions in South Africa, as The JMC Factor. They manifest themselves as follows: -

Juniorisation

  • appointment of individuals with no track record;
  • marginalization of experienced and loyal individuals;
  • inexplicable meteoric rise of new and unqualified individuals;
  • condonation of gross insubordination to seniors by politically connected juniors.

Mediocritisation

  • blatant, unmitigated celebration and worshipping of mediocrity: ("if the Rand falls, we simply pick it up" mentality);
  • setting the bar at its lowest in terms of entry and performance;
  • orchestrated purging and persecution of excellent and loyal performers;
  • lack of consequence management for glaring sub-standard performance;
  • defiant retention, recycling and/or promotion of poor performers;
  • wilful dereliction of legal and/or constitutional responsibilities;
  • unwarranted defense of legal and/or constitutional breaches by certain powerful individuals;
  • grandiose denialism: failure to comprehend a crisis situation and lack of will and responsiveness to confront it head on;
  • conflicting, incoherent, confusing and uncoordinated, sporadic policy pronouncements;
  • low morale and skills flight of competent state employees;
  • blatant disregard for the interests of those adversely affected by administrative decisions;
  • undue and unwarranted interference in operational matters by oversight structures;
  • capricious and unequal treatment of colleagues;
  • wastage of state resources on deliberate and unnecessary duplication of effort;
  • unhinged and indiscriminate misappropriation and abuse of state funds;
  • gatekeeping at key institutions;
  • arrogance of ignorance;
  • arrogance of power;
  • absentee leadership.

Capture

  • orchestrated purging and persecution of loyal and honest people;
  • appointment of surrogates in strategic state institutions as proxies to conceive, facilitate and implement the state capture project;
  • emergence of genetically modified instant millionaires and billionaires, who have been planted, grown, fertilized and incubated within an elaborate and intricate system and network of patronage for the benefit of a few individuals, their friends and families;
  • deliberate weakening and paralysis of key state institutions;
  • abuse of state institutions to fight personal and factional battles;
  • subversion and perversion of established rules to benefit certain individuals and their interests;
  • falsification and fabrication of public interest reports to incriminate and/or humiliate targeted individuals and organizations;
  • blame-game on white monopoly capital as a new "wit gevaar" (white danger), akin to the apartheid era's "swart gevaar" (black danger), in order to divert attention away from daylight looting of state resources and high treason of the appropriation of state power to unelected and illegitimate individuals;
  • the turning of a blind eye by relevant authorities on the glaring corruption and brazen daylight looting of state resources.


At the time of the SAFCEC Annual Presidential Gala Dinner held in October 2017, I appealed to the then Honourable Deputy President - now current President - and the entire leadership core in government, the ANC and alliance partners, to urgently attend to the triple challenges of juniorisation, mediocritisation and capture of state institutions, so that our country's pole position as a beacon of hope for the African continent and beyond, in terms of its ethical leadership in democracy and economy, is effectively restored. I appealed to him to help our country not to slide into a kleptocratic kakistocracy. And that all public officials must understand the honour and responsibility of leadership and that it must not be confused with dealership, with the intention to cut deals for themselves, their families, and friends. And I am very happy to see that the president and the new administration have already acted decisively on some of the JMC factors. The New Dawn offers hope to deal with these burning issues. And we applaud the president for wholeheartedly embracing and supporting the Public Private Growth Initiative (PPGI), which arises out of the job and investment summits with a special focus on all the sectors of the South African economy so that we, together, reignite the economy. An amount for specific projects  valued at R840bn, involving some 44 projects are awaiting inhibitors to their implementation to be removed and once that is done, the economic activity will be in full swing. This is a South African private initiative, which dispels the notion that the private sector is on an investment strike. The government must expeditiously remove all the inhibitors to economic growth, including paying all the R183m that was owed to Dr T’s Motheo Construction as of April 2019. This must be a turning point to pay all contractors, especially black owned firms. I now call upon the entire South African business community to publicly denounce corruption and malfeasance within its own ranks before pointing fingers elsewhere.

The values and legacy that Dr T leaves behind are best epitomised by the works of one the greatest poets of all time, Henry Longfellow, who once observed, "The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night". In short, what it means is that to get to the top and stay there as Dr T did in her lifetime, requires patience, perseverance, determination, dedication and consistent hard work, ethics and morality.

Kubuhlungu ukumfumanisa ukuba ngenene ngenene isitya esihle asityeli. Kufa amalungisa afana noDr T, kodwa kusale izihupepe; ogxobhinyapha; omisipha ohlule amazinyo; omakhwapha ahlulisepha; ababulali; izidlwengu; amasela namatutu.

May Dr T’s family, the Motheo Group, friends and relatives find solace from the book of Isaiah 59:1, which says that the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull. 

Lalangoxolo qhawekazi.

I thank you."


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