Simphiwe lost his life as he and his colleagues tried to rescue people trapped inside the Bank of Lisbon Building in the city centre on September 5.
His memorial service was held at the Oasis of Life Family Church in Vosloorus on Tuesday, September 10.
Most of the speakers, including a sobbing father Robert Moropane, spoke fondly of him.
His father said the last time he saw his son was after he graduated, earning a medical course certificate.
“Siphiwe came to me at my workplace in Carlton Centre, Johannesburg, immediately after he obtained his certificate. He said he wanted to celebrate his achievement with me. I didn’t realise I would be seeing him for the last time,” said Moropane.
He added: “This is a very sad moment for me, the family and the entire community. But the sad part of all was to watch in social media a video footage of my son’s body falling from one of the tallest buildings in Johannesburg,” said Moropane.
Nosibhedlela Mosamo, the late Simphiwe’s grandmother, said she was saddened by his death and the gruesome manner in which he met his death.
“When we heard about the accident, it was like being in a nightmare. But as soon as we arrived at the scene, we were overcome by a sense of pain and sadness considering he fell from the 24th floor,” said Mosamo.
Andile Ramashala, one of the friends who attended the service, said Simphiwe was more than a friend.
“He was a friend, brother and a mentor. Actually, we lost a great person. Simphiwe spent most of his time with us than his family. We would like to thank his family for allowing him to be our friend. Now I believe God does not pick a rotten potato from the tree, but the best. He was like a best apple in the tree.”
Simphiwe’s elder sister, Sibongile Mokoni, could not hold back his tears when she delivered her eulogy.
Her younger brother, Sibusiso Mokoni, and aunt, Khabo Magagula, gave her morale support as she broke down in tears during her delivery.
Sibongile said she and her brother vowed that they would help each other to raise their siblings.
“My brother was everything to us at home. He was like a father, friend and a very good brother. We stayed together in the house and played a big role to raise our siblings. If I were given an opportunity to raise him from death, I would make a good use of that opportunity,” concluded Sibongile.
Thembisile Msomi (neighbour) described Simphiwe as one the smartest young men she ever met.
“He commanded a lot of respect. He respected others and handled himself with dignity,” said Msomi.
Pastor Mpumelelo Khalo delivered the word of God: “People like Simphiwe (heroes) need to be acknowledged.”
Referring to a passage from Job 5: 8- 18, Khalo said there were times in life where Job faced challenging situations.
“When Job buried his children he swore he would never insult God but would cry out to him,” said Khalo.
Khalo urged with Simphiwe’s parents to act like Job; to seek out for God in times of stress and pain and death.
He thanked Simphiwe’s parents for allowing him to work as a firefighter.
“If it were not for him in his role as a firefighter, many people would have died,” said Khalo.
Simphiwe is survived by his two little girls. The first one is a two-year-old and the second is only two months.
He leaves behind his parents Jabu Mokoni (mother) and Robert Moropane (father), the mother of his two children, his biblings Sibongile Mokoni (sister) and Sibusiso Mokoni (younger brother), his aunt Khabo Magagula and his grandmother Mosamo.
The funeral service takes place on September 14 at the Oasis of Life Family Church in Vosloorus starting at 8.30 am until 11am.
He will be laid to rest at Lala Ngoxolo Cemetery in Crystal Park.