South Africa

IN QUOTES | Jessie Duarte: Jackson Mthembu leaves behind a legacy of honesty

ANC deputy general secretary Jessie Duarte described the late presidency minister Jackson Mthembu as a good cadre who had an excellent work ethic.

The announcement of  Mthembu's death by the presidency on Thursday was met with shock from South Africans and the political fraternity.

The minister has been described by the public and members of the media, who he regularly interacted with on government press briefings, as a “humble servant” of SA.

Mthembu died on the job 

“Comrade Jackson died with his boots on because he had to interact with people when he was meeting with the media, explaining what the government's position is. There had to be people with him. It's unavoidable that somehow, someone will be infected and will infect other people.”

His family is in deep pain 

“They have lost somebody very important to them, so I think the loss for them is incalculable. We can't describe it, it's deep. It will take them a long time to recover and we will give all the support that we can give.”

Mthembu last week revealed that he had tested positive for Covid-19 and had visited a military hospital in Tshwane to get medical attention for an abdominal pain.

Here are five quotes from Duarte's press briefing:

He was a hard worker 

“Jackson Mthembu had an unbelievable work ethic. He worked long hours and his belief was that you don't leave a job undone. He was meticulous about preparing statements that needed to go out, even if it meant that he worked late into the night. He would work late into the night to perfect a statement to make sure that it was factual.”

He leaves the legacy of honesty

“He rarely lost friends. He made friends in his life. The friends he has will be his friends forever. We've lost a person who was very loyal to the country, put the country first at all times, he was very loyal to the ANC. He defended the ANC's values at every turn. He leaves a legacy of honesty and integrity.”

Covid-19 takes anyone 

“Covid-19 has no respect for anyone and it will take anyone away from us. For that reason, we can only reiterate the call we make every day, for people to adhere to the regulations, to stop with the conspiracy theories and to understand that it doesn't help you to make up a story about the vaccine when it stands between us and death.”

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