‘He still had so much to give’: tributes flow at Peter Matlare’s funeral

10 March 2021 - 11:57
By aron hyman AND Aron Hyman
Absa Group deputy CEO Peter Matlare was buried on March 10 2021. File photo.
Image: Marianne Schwankhart / The Times Absa Group deputy CEO Peter Matlare was buried on March 10 2021. File photo.

A consummate gentleman, honest soldier, faithful servant and loyal citizen of SA.

These were some of the words used to describe the life and legacy of Absa Group deputy CEO Peter Matlare at his funeral, which was broadcast on Wednesday.

Matlare succumbed to complications related to Covid-19 on Sunday.

“It is tragic and painful to accept Covid-19 has robbed us of a profoundly devoted husband and father, a brother, an uncle, a valued friend, a colleague and a respected leader not just in SA but across the continent,” Absa Group CEO Daniel Mminele told mourners.

He said the outpouring of grief in response to his passing “bares testimony to what and how much Peter meant to so many people whose lives he touched with his work, his generosity, and by being a very decent human being and very special person”.

“We have received many condolence messages from business leaders and public officials  - in SA, across the continent and beyond - from people who either worked with Peter or interacted with him, and who all deeply respected and admired him,” he said.

Mminele said it was “too early to have to let him go” because “we still needed so much from him, and he still had so much to give”.

He described Matlare as “a man of deep intellect and a sharp and constantly inquisitive mind, a charismatic man - not many people commanded presence the way Peter did and I am going to miss his infectious laugh dearly”.

He recalled visiting Matlare at home about a week before he fell ill.

“As I left, like so many other times, he insisted on giving me a bottle of wine to take home. He went to his cabinet and pulled out a bottle, only to change his mind.

Not many people commanded presence the way Peter did and I am going to miss his infectious laugh dearly.
Absa Group CEO Daniel Mminele

“As he was handing me the bottle, he said, ‘No, not this one.’ He pulled out another, a very expensive red wine, and said jokingly, ‘Dan, you might as well enjoy this before Covid gets the better of us.’ Little did we know.”

Matlare's daughter Itumeleng said, “Dad, you never gave up on me. You never gave up on anyone. You were a committed parent, always guiding us, loving us, and helping us. You encouraged us to be the best versions of ourselves every day.

“You were always there, giving the right advice at the right time and for all those times we came back home crying, you wiped our tears, reminded us that we are Matlares and that the person who was so awful to us was a waste of space and fresh air and that we shouldn’t be bothered by people like that.”

“My dad was a larger-than-life character who emanated warmth and raised us with so much love and understanding. The baseline of everything he did was honesty, integrity, and respect,” said his daughter Karabo.

“My dad backed us through everything. The flu, exams, he even tackled the runaway sheep at a traditional wedding,” she added.

Matlare was a former CEO of the SABC, chief strategy and business development officer of Vodacom SA and executive director of commercial at Vodacom SA. He held the position of CEO of Tiger Brands until the end of 2015.

He is survived by his wife Nomvula and three daughters.