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News - Date: 22 July 2021
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“Mavu a la vhathu.” This is a Tshivenda expression used when a prominent community builder passes away. The expression was on everybody’s lips after hearing of the sudden passing of Cllr Khakhathi Jeremiah Khunwana (49).
Khunwana, who was a ward councillor for Ward 7 in Musina Municipality, died after a short illness early last week. He was also a member of the Musina Municipal Council’s executive committee and Portfolio Head for Technical Services and Economic Development and Planning.
Deployed by the African National Congress (ANC), Khunwana joined Musina Municipality in 2016 after the disestablishment of Mutale Municipality, where he had also served as a councillor. As a capable leader, Khunwana had acted as mayor of Musina on several occasions.
During his time as a councillor, a total of 119 RDP houses and 77 toilets were built for less privileged community members in his ward. He had also masterminded the construction of a modern community hall at Muswodi Tshisimani. Some of the villages that did not have electricity were electrified under his leadership. He had also assisted more than 200 local community members to get employment in his ward. In resolving the network challenges in his ward, he successfully worked with MTN for the erection of a network tower at Ratshibvumo High School. He also worked with De Beers Venetia Mine to facilitate the construction of an administration block at Folovhodwe Primary School. He was at the forefront to fast track the completion of the Luphephe-Nwanedi Regional Water Scheme that is now supplying water to various villages in his ward.
Musina Mayor Mihloti Muhlope was devastated by Khunwana’s passing. “We did not expect this, and his passing will have a huge impact on service delivery. In fact, I felt as if the world was crumbling on me when I heard the bad news. Cllr Khunwana was a reliable servant of the people who would put the interests of the community first. We do not have enough words to express our loss because what has happened has seriously crushed our hearts. However, we send sincere condolences to the family, fellow councillors, the whole community of Ward 7 and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him. May his soul rest in peace.”
Musina Municipality’s Speaker, Cllr Gilbert Netshisaulu, was equally shocked by Khunwana’s death. “I have asked myself many questions that I could not answer, and I ended up putting everything in God’s hands. Musina Municipality will no longer be the same without this community builder who has made a huge impact on people’s lives. He might be gone, but his good work will live with us for ever.”
Khunwana was buried during an emotional service at his home village of Muswodi Tshisimani last Thursday.
The late Cllr Khakhathi Jeremiah Khunwana in happier times.