South African minister who planned Mandela funeral dies

AP News
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Posted: Mar 15, 2015 9:46 AM

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A South African Cabinet minister who led the planning of the 2013 funeral of Nelson Mandela died in a car crash early Sunday, authorities said.

The death of Collins Chabane, minister in charge of public service and administration, is a big loss to the government and the country, President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, noted in a condolence message that two police officers who were acting as Chabane's bodyguards also died in the crash.

Chabane's car hit a truck that was making a U-turn on a highway near Polokwane, the capital of South Africa's Limpopo province, South African media reported.

The truck driver, who was not injured, has been arrested and a case of negligent killing has been opened, the South African Press Association quoted police as saying.

Chabane planned the funeral of Mandela, the anti-apartheid leader and former prisoner who became president in South Africa's first all-race elections, with "great dignity and efficiency," Zuma's office said.

The funeral ceremonies for Mandela included a stadium memorial attended by U.S. President Barack Obama and dozens of other leaders from around the world.

Chabane was a veteran of the fight against apartheid, the system of white racist rule that ended with Mandela's election in 1994, according to the presidential office. He was also a long-serving member of the national executive committee of South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress.