Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma has declared a Special Provincial Official Funeral for former Member of the Executive Council (MEC) and Speaker of the Free State Provincial Legislature, Mantsheng Ouma Tsopo, who passed away in the early hours of 1 January.
The Provincial Official funeral Category 1 is designated by the President for The Speaker of the Legislature and Members of the Executive Committee.
The President has instructed that the National Flag be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the Free State Province on the day of the funeral.
President Zuma has also extended his deepest condolences to the Tsopo family, relatives and the Free State Provincial Government on this sad loss.
Meanwhile, the current Speaker of the Free State Legislature, Mamiki Qabathe, has also conveyed heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, comrades and all the people who knew Tsopo.
“As the Free State Legislature, we wish to convey this message of deep heartfelt condolences to all the people of the province and the country.
“We have lost a giant who understood the needs of our people. Women in our country suffer a lot of discrimination resulting from various types of stereotypes and many of them are unable to realise their full potential in terms of what they can offer to the transformation of our country.
“We pass our sincere deepest respect for the colossal example she set for many young and old women in our country who sometimes consider giving up the struggle to continue believing in their worth.”
Memorial service, funeral
A Provincial Memorial Service will be held today at 12pm at Phamisanang Primary School in Meloding Township, in Virginia.
The Provincial Government said Tsopo will be conducted on Saturday at Meloding Methodist Church.
Free State Finance MEC Elzabe Rockman, who has been appointed the Acting Premier, will lead the funeral arrangements and the Executive will be responsible for all forms of communication regarding the funeral from now onwards.
The late Ouma Tsopo
Tsopo was elected and became a Member of the First democratically constituted Legislature in the Free State in 1994.
She was then appointment the MEC responsible Local Government and Housing and also became a Leader of Government Business from 1997-1999.
During the same period until 2004, she also served as a MEC in various other portfolios responsible for Education, Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Social Development and Local Government and Housing.
Post 2009, Tsopo continued to serve as a Member of the Provincial Legislature in which she occupied the position of the Deputy Speaker, the Acting Speaker and was formally appointed as the Speaker in 2013.
She then became a Member of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. In 2014, Tsopo served as the ANC Whip in Parliament responsible for Trade and Industry.
She also served as the Chairperson of Reference Group on Capacity building of National Speakers forum in 2010 and as a Member of Reference group on sector oversight model 2010 to date.