South Africa

Minister Jackson Mthembu remembered as ’greatly respected and much-loved’

Johannesburg - The ANC, the government and political parties have expressed shock at the death of Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday led the tributes for Mthembu saying he was a dedicated member of his Cabinet.

The ANC also said Mthembu died with his boots on while other parties said he was the public face of the government’s response to Covid-19.

Mthembu, 62, died on Thursday following Covid-19 related complications.

Ramaphosa said Mthembu led by example.

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“Minister Mthembu was an exemplary leader, an activist and lifelong champion of freedom and democracy. He was a much-loved and greatly respected colleague and comrade, whose passing leaves our nation at a loss,” said Ramaphosa.

Minister Jackson Mthembu (left) with Peter Dlomo, Mike Mabuyakhulu,, Sihle Zikalala Ace Magashule and Sindi Chikunga and other other ANC members during 108 celebration of the ANC at Gamalakhe sports and Leisure sports field in Port Shepstone. Picture Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA) Archives

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the party had lost a remarkable member. She said Mthembu was an outstanding organiser for the ANC in Mpumalanga in the 1980s in the fight against apartheid.

“Comrade Jackson, I would say he died with his boots on, working for the people of this country,” said Duarte.

She said Mthembu was the face of the ANC for many years as its spokesperson and recently was the face of the government in the fight against Covid-19.

Ministers Jackson Mthembu and Nkosazane Dlamini Zuma. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency Archives

ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina, who succeeded Mthembu in the position, said she was shocked at the death of Mthembu.

Majodina was attending the funeral of ANC MP Nombulelo Hermans in the Northern Cape, who also died of Covid-19, when she received the news.

Majodina said Mthembu was an outstanding leader in Parliament and government.

She said the ANC had lost an incredible leader.

Minister Jackson Mthembu and his wife Thembi Mthembu arrive for the State of the Nation Address. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Good Party leader and Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille said she was shocked at the death of Mthembu.

“Shocked and saddened by the news of the passing of Minister Jackson Mthembu. He was a true servant of the people and I was always struck by his incredible empathy for people,” said De Lille.

Minister Jackson Mthembu. Picture: Jason Boud/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

DA leader John Steenhuisen said he was shocked by the death of Mthembu.

“During the time that we served opposite each other in the National Assembly as chief whips of our respective parties I came to know him well and I saw a side to him that explains why he was such a revered figure in the ANC,” said Steenhuisen.

The IFP also paid its tribute to Mthembu saying he was dedicated to his work in the government.

IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said Mthembu will be remembered for the good work he did.

“Minister Mthembu was a bridge-builder, and an individual with a deep love for our country and for service. He was a humble gentleman and will be remembered for his decisive leadership and candour,” said Hlengwa.

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) said Mthembu was a humble person who worked hard.

Busa President Sipho Pityana said the late minister was the public face of the fight against Covid-19.

“In the recent period, alongside President Ramaphosa and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize, Mthembu became the public face of the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, through countless public engagements. How tragic, then, to hear that it was the very same pandemic that took his life,” said Pityana.

Many South Africans turned to social media to share their condolences.

Political Bureau

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