Politician Depoutch Elese has been described as a hero not only to his community but to the whole country.
The late African National Congress (ANC) leader’s memorial service was held at Crossroads community Hall on Tuesday evening.
Mr Elese was killed in a shooting as he drove up to his Crossroads house with his wife on Tuesday March 6, at around 8pm. His killers have not been arrested.
Speakers at the memorial service described him as a man who fought for the rights of poor black people.
He was hailed as an advocate for change.
The well-attended event started on a high note with ANC and Democratic Alliance members singing church hymns before turning to revolutionary songs and giving praise to the former ANC ward councillor in a united voice. The hall was packed with mostly ANC members.
Addressing the mourners, ANC National Executive member, Tony Yengeni, said Mr Elese spent his life fighting for the emancipation of black people and the poor.
He said the ANC was shocked to hear of his unfortunate death.
He urged ANC members and the community to get the killers.
Mr Yengeni said had it been the old days, the killers would have been found by now.
“There were community courts that helped a lot. Police are slow but during those days, people would have found the killers. I think we should go back to those years. We need to get his killers.
“Depoutch was at the forefront of defending the country. He was a hero to his community. I am proud to have known him,” he said.
He called on the living leaders to take his spear forward and give the poor basic services. He urged them to continue the struggle left by Mr Elese.
Ses’khona leader, Andile Lili described Mr Elese as a man who had a passion for serving the interests of poor people and who worked hard in ensuring that the poor had houses.
Mr Lili said unlike other leaders, the late Mr Elese was not a celebrity.
“He served people with pride and love. He was a rare breed and not as the media described as controversial. He died among his people. He never moved to affluent areas or ate in big restaurants in town. He was not a celebrity, driving big German sedans. He was a fighter for the poor,” he said.
Mr Elese led the community of Crossroads for 20 years as a councillor before being deployed to the ANC provincial office in 2015.
His cousin brother, Mlungisi Noludwe said he will be remembered as a person who loved the development of his people, and a humble man who always consulted when he did not know an issue.
He will be remembered for his jokes and love for his family.
“As much as there are still no leads to his killers we are grateful to people for their support in our time of sorrow. The support we received showed who he was, a humble and loving man. He was a jolly person and a problem solver,” Mr Noludwe said.
He said Mr Elese will be buried on Saturday March 16 in Ugie, Eastern Cape.
Mr Noludwe has appealed to the public for information that might lead to the arrest of suspects involved in the killing of the former ANC ward councillor.