Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to embark on a Working Visit to France

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04 Jul 2014

Paris - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa with his spouse Dr Tshepo Motsepe, supported by Minister Nathi Mthethwa and Deputy Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo will undertake a working visit to the Republic of France from 5 - 6 July 2014 to attend and address the commemoration of the 98th anniversary of the battle of Delville Wood which occurred during World War 1.

This year's commemoration service is of particular significance taking place against the background of the planned re-interment of the mortal remains of Private Myengwa Beleza, one of the first South Africans and a  member of the African Native Labour Corps to perish during World War 1 in France.

Due to segregation at the time, black South Africans who had perished during the war were buried separately in different civilian cemeteries across France, while their white counterparts were interred at the Delville Wood Memorial. In this context, the mortal remains of Private Myengwa Beleza will be exhumed from the civilian cemetery of Seine-Maritime near Le Havre for reburial at Delville Wood Memorial to honour all South Africans, black and white who contributed to the demise of nazism.

The re-interment of Private Beleza at Delville Memorial is part of efforts to honour all those South Africans, black and white, who contributed immensely to efforts aimed at pushing back the frontiers of fascism.  It is our conviction that this re-interment will go a long way and contribute towards while restoration of the dignity of  restore the dignity, particularly of those black South Africans, who participated in the war and thus help create peace in the world. 

During his visit to France the Deputy President will participate at the 98th commemoration of the battle of Delville Wood which South African soldiers died during the First World War (WWI).  

Following the visit to France Deputy President, Ramaphosa will lead a South African Government delegation to Sri Lanka.

PROGRAMME - Delville Wood Memorial


09h00   Re-interment Ceremony at Delville Wood

10h30   Commemoration of the Battle of Delville Wood

            Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the French Memorial

Enquiries: Ronnie Mamoepa Spokesperson to the Deputy President on 082 990 4853

Issued by: The Presidency