Memorial held for Francois Weyers, chief pilot and aerial operations manager, Kishugu Aviation Southern Regions
Francois Weyers, chief pilot and aerial operations manager for the Kishugu Aviation Southern Regions, passed away in the early hours of Monday, 11 January 2021. Francois was hospitalised for COVID-19 and sadly lost the fight on Monday. A memorial was held at the Stellenbosch Flying Club on Sunday, 17 January 2021 in his honour and included a ‘Missing man formation’, an aerial salute, by Kishugu Aviation and Working on Fire.
Anton Bredell, the Western Cape MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, said at the memorial, “South Africa has lost a stalwart of the disaster management fraternity. Francois was a much valued member of the community and showed himself. Over the many years of service to be a man people could count on. He is remembered for many things but always he was putting the lives and wellbeing of others first. The Oceanos tragedy and the role he played is well remembered. As for me, I shall never forget the role he played with the devastating Knysna fires in 2017 when we had to evacuate more than 10 000 people in the middle of the night. Francois ran that operation on the ground and saved many lives. There is no doubt.”
From the Kishugu Aviation statement, “Rest in peace Francois. You will be fondly remembered by all who crossed paths with you. It was such an honour working with you and we will miss you dearly. Fly high Francois!”
In his speech, CEO of Kishugu Aviation, Emile Grobbelaar said, “Thank you very much to Francois’ parents, Sidney and Elsa Weyers, his brother Charl, son Ruan, Vanessa and other family for allowing us to participate at today’s event; our most sincere condolences with your severe loss. In Francois’ own words (borrowed from Johan Heine) just over three weeks ago at Jacques Visagie’s Memorial, “The inevitability of death is painful to think about, almost always comes to soon and it’s one of the only times we’re forced to accept something without fully understanding it” We hope you find comfort for your loss in the knowledge that Francois’ spirit, passion, insight and compassion will always remain with us. We regard ourselves as fortunate and blessed to have been able to call Francois our friend and to have shared a very brief part of his journey with him. By definition “a tribute is something that we do or say, to show that we respect and admire someone or something”. It is further defined as ‘a gift, declaration or other acknowledgement of gratitude, respect or admiration’.
Never has it been more apt than in this instance that is our attempt as family, friends and colleagues to acknowledge our gratitude, respect and admiration for the life of Francois Johann Weyers. From Kishugu and Working on Fire it would be a complete understatement to say that Francois’s passing will leave a void in our personal lives and organisations. The fact is that Francois’ was part of our organisational DNA and we will have to rethink elements of our organisational design without him. Rus in vrede Kaptein Koljander!”
Fire and Rescue International share our deepest condolences with Francois’ family, friends and colleagues during these trying times. Francois, may you fly high, Sir!
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