Ohm Collins Chabane was born on 15 April 1960 in Xikundu, Transvaal, and now Limpopo Province.
He was a South African politician of the African National Congress (ANC). From May 2009 to May 2014 he was Minister to the President for performance monitoring, evaluation and administration of the President. 2014, he was appointed Minister of Public Service and Administration.
Chabane was the Minister of Public Service and Administration of the Republic of South Africa since 26 May 2014. He has been a member of Parliament since 06 May 2009 and a member of African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee (NEC) since December 2007 and member of ANC National Working Committee (NWC) He also serves as a member of National Deployment Committee; member of Economic Transformation Sub-Committee; member of Social Transformation Sub Committee; member of International Relations Sub-Committee and member of National Disciplinary Sub-Committee. Chabane also served as Chairperson of Constitutional Affairs Sub-Committee; Convenor of ANC NEC; and Convenor of Transitional Task Team.
Chabane joined the African National Congress (ANC) underground activities at early age of seventeen (17) and went into exile in May 1980 and later he was arrested and served a term in Robben Island from 1984 to 1990. He has served as a Provincial Secretary of the ANC in the Northern Province from 1990 to 1998 and he was instrumental in the re-establishment of ANC structures in Limpopo Province. He has also served as a member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Public Works in the Limpopo Provincial Government in 1998 and as a member of the Provincial Legislature in the Limpopo Provincial Legislature in 1997. He has also served as MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism in Limpopo and during his tenure in the department he embarked on an international awareness programme on economic opportunities in trade and investment in tourism, agribusiness sector, with special emphasis on doing business with SADC countries and Africa broadly, as well as international business communities. He signed a number of service level agreements with CPI in Mozambique, SIPA in Swaziland, Bedia in Botswana, SOF in Switzerland, and SANC for the South African Netherlands Chamber of Business, JETRO in Japan and with IJM in Malaysia.
He also signed Tourism cooperation with Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He negotiated to sign Service Level Agreements with Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe; and he helped establish a 15 million joint venture water purification project. Mr Chabane has served a member of the Executive Council in the Premier’s Office in Limpopo Provincial Government between 1997 and 1998. He is a former Chancellor of Mbulaheni Ramaano Training College and has served as member of Parliament of the National Assembly from 1994 to 1997 and during the period he served as a member of the Constitutional and Management Committees in the Constitutional Assembly; member of Provincial Working Committee and Chairperson of the Provincial Disciplinary Committee and the Political Committee and Political education. He was a member of Provincial Constitutional Committee; member of Provincial ETC; member of the Rules Committee, the Legislature Board and the Internal Arrangement Committee and Leader of government Business in the Legislature. He established the road Agency, which was the first institute of its kind in South Africa; which fast tracked the upgrading of roads in the province. Chabane established “Gungu Lashu” a labour intensive road construction programme a nucleus of the current EPWP programme. The department under his leadership won best Service Awards, Platinum, Silver and Gold. He was the Minister in the Presidency; responsible for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration in the Presidency from 11 May 2009 till 25 May 2014.
He held a Diploma in Leadership and Management from University of Limpopo Graduate School of Leadership and a Diploma in Management from Arusha in Tanzania.
Chabane sadly passed away on 15 March 2015 in Polokwane.
ADDRESS BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA AT THE MEMORIAL SERVICE OF MINISTER COLLINS CHABANE
We are gathered here to pay tribute and to bid farewell to our departed compatriots Minister Collins Chabane, Sergeants Lesiba Sekele and Lawrence Lentsoane. Today, we remember Collins Chabane with fondness and appreciation. A father, a son and a husband. We remember a freedom fighter, a musician, a leader and a servant of the people. Today, we remember a person who embodied in so many ways the values on which we seek to build our nation. With the tragic passing of Minister Chabane, we have seen an emotional outpouring of grief from every corner of our country and beyond the borders of South Africa. Many in public life have been remembered with respect and admiration, but it is rare to find such a universal sense of personal loss for the untimely departure of Collins Chabane. We have seen our elderly and young, women and men, pay tribute to a gentle hero who was never removed from the daily struggles of the impoverished masses of our people. Though gone too soon, his spirit and memory will continue to reside amongst our people in the villages, townships and indeed across the land. His spirit and his work will compel us not to rest until we have improved their lives. Ours is a colossal loss. When we sing, lala ngoxolo qabane, kade uzabalaza, we must ask who will pick up your spear in our ongoing struggle to create a just and humane society. To calm our deep-felt agony, we must find among our youth, artists who will take Minister Chabane’s harmonica and mbira to remind us of both the beauty and fragility of life. We must compose a national song to celebrate Collins Chabane’s passion for humanity and zest for life. A person as sensitive, caring and principled as Collins Chabane had no choice but to take up the struggle against the iniquities of apartheid. As democracy dawned, he was compelled by his convictions to shoulder the responsibility of building a new nation – free from exploitation, want and hunger. In his village of Xikundu, at Shingwedzi High School, in the Presbyterian Church, in the African National Congress, and later in government, he lived the universal values of equality, fraternity and liberty. Throughout his life, Collins Chabane remained humble, unassuming and committed to the struggle of our people for a democratic, non-racial, non sexist and prosperous South Africa. We know him to have been a quiet strategist in an occupation often given to populism and deafening rhetoric. Those of you who had the privilege to watch Collins Chabane perform his music on stage will know what I mean when I say that this gentle, thoughtful man played the struggle, politics and government work the way he did his music: with great talent, commitment and certainty; but also with unassailable optimism, with emotion, and with a beguiling mixture of shyness and humour. He was possessed of the kind of genuine confidence that only comes with genuine humility: this man, moulded and shaped by the ANC from a tender age of 17 years knew who he was; but he also understood who everyone else was, and where he fitted in. He understood our history and the content of our struggle. He also knew the character of his organisation, the ANC. He was not shy to lead people, but he always understood himself as part of a bigger group, a collective: the village, his family, the cadre, a member and leader of the ANC, the musical band, the people of South Africa. There was no malice, guile or bitterness about him.His comrades trusted him, had confidence in his abilities, and admired his work ethic. He was devoted to the ideals of our movement and the task of achieving a better life for all. At home, in exile and on Robben Island, he was known to be disciplined and incisive in his contribution to strategic debates. All week, people have been calling radio stations with stories of a man who spoke to everyone and listened to everyone; who stood in the queue with the regular folk for a toilet, rather than going to the VIP toilet; who insisted on being treated as a regular parishioner at his church rather than as a dignitary. It is difficult to remain “a man of the people” when you are wearing the robes of power, but Collins Chabane showed us how to do it. Minister Collins Chabane was a down-to-earth person. He always treated everyone with the same dignity and respect, whether they were a manual labourer or gardener at the Union Buildings or a fellow Minister. Although he had progressed to the highest levels of the ruling party and of government, he always retained this humility. As a result, he was a good listener, and was always open to hearing others’ points of view. His interest in the views of others was a result of his natural curiosity and love for debate, combined with his desire to continuously gain a better understanding of everything. He did not think that he knew it all – he was very much aware that he might be wrong about some things and he was willing to change his views on the basis of being presented with new evidence. This interest in scientific analysis was probably one of the factors that led to him to study electrical engineering while he was a political prisoner on Robben Island, which in turn would have reinforced his inclination towards thinking on the basis of scientific evidence. His deep respect for evidence and facts led to him being viewed as a very fair person, including by his political opponents. Collins’ technical and scientific side was complemented by a strong humanist side. He was a deeply compassionate man, full of empathy for other people and their difficulties. For example, when Collins was the MEC responsible for roads in Limpopo when the province was hit by the devastating floods of February 2000, along with neighbouring Mozambique, Collins was one of the first people on the ground as the disaster unfolded, tirelessly organising assistance. He spent whole nights in the pouring rain together with his department’s road maintenance units, battling to find a way across raging rivers, so that isolated communities could be reached. I had occasion to witness this trait a few months ago when a hospital in Limpopo had problems with its water supply over a weekend. Somehow Collins, who always had his ear to the ground, heard about it. He called me and told me about the problem. Without me even asking him he said he would travel to the hospital 500km away. The time was 5pm on Saturday afternoon. He went ahead and arranged that water should be supplied to the hospital. He did not have to do it, but he did. These personality traits combined to make Collins very successful as a leader in government. His compassion made him genuinely concerned about improving the lives of all South Africans, and this in turn led to him to being passionate about improving the performance of government. Collins pioneered the outcomes monitoring and national evaluation system in government. These systems are now strongly becoming embedded in government departments. This has already begun to contribute significantly to improving the performance of government. In this regard, Collins has left a proud and enduring legacy. He has made a major contribution to achieving the goal that he was so passionate about: improving the performance of government to improve the lives of the people. Collins Chabane was one of the leading pioneers of our new democratic dispensation. It was during the drafting of our Constitution that I was exposed to his sharp and analytical mind. The richness of his analysis has left a lasting impression on many who worked with him. Collins Chabane passed away during an important time in the history of our developmental state. As Minister of Public Service and Administration, he was hard at work to develop a new cadre of public servants that grasp their role as change agents. In his life and in his work, Collins was the embodiment of our government’s motto, Batho Pele. He argued that we must not spare any effort in our continued quest to professionalize the public service. Like him, we must put the development of our people at the center of our work to realize a capable, responsive, effective and efficient developmental state. One of the less known aspects of Collin Chabane’s work was that of promoting peace and security on the African continent. He did extensive work in many countries in Africa but especially in South Sudan. Many South Sudanese fondly regarded him as one of their own. They sometimes mistook him as a citizen of South Sudan. He took time when he travelled to South Sudan to visit many people of South Sudan in their homes and villages. Growing up in the rural village of Xikundu, he lived, appreciated and embraced the ways, religious practices, traditions and cultures of our people. For his extraordinary life, we thank his parents and the community who brought him up to respect all humanity and to cherish the collective wisdom of our people. True to his character, he visited his old primary school shortly before his passing and made a commitment to the Principal that he would contribute to the renovation of the school. Because he gave our movement and country so much, we must together honour his commitment and contribute to rebuild his former school. Collins Chabane lived a political life. He leaves a political legacy. He would have expected that his memorial be a political occasion, where we speak not only about the remarkable achievements of a nation in the making, but also about the many challenges that our people still face. It would have been his wish that we draw from his tragic passing the lesson that safety on our roads must become a national obsession. It would have been his wish that our shock and our sorrow be transformed into a solemn determination not merely to reduce the number of deaths on our roads, but to end them. We can stop the carnage on our roads. All we need is the will. We must spread this message in our homes, schools, communities and workplaces. Let us make this tragic event the turning point in the struggle we must necessarily wage to have safer roads.
As the poet wrote:
Comrade Collins we wish that we could tell you
We are not ready to let you go.
But you’ve already departed,
Your departure has filled our hearts with sorrow
We miss that little twinkle
That used to light up your eyes.
We miss the sound of your voice,
Your laughter and your humour.
But most of all we miss
The way you made us feel,
Like nothing could ever harm you because
Your love for life, music, your family and your organisation was so strong and real.
There are others here who miss you,
And they’ve gathered here today.
Your life touched so many people,
Who became your friends and comrades along the way.
They want you to know they will always remember you.
And they’re filled with sadness and grief.
No one really wants to say goodbye,
So we’ll just wish you eternal peace.
Mintirho ya vulavula! Mintirho ya nwina hi ivonile.
U exela kahle mutukulo wa ka Mhinga.
May his soul rest in peace.
I thank you.
A great Soul has departed, but the memories shall never fade. your Loss is huge, and i can only share your pain. May the soul that has gone, rest in peace. keep fait and courage.
we are sorry for your loss.