South Africa

Politicians describe Jackson Mthembu as 'man of honour' & 'a true patriot'

CAPE TOWN - Political parties have paid tribute to the late Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthemb u as a man of integrity and someone who was passionately committed to improving the lives of all South Africans.

Mthembu died on Thursday, at the age of 62, after contracting COVID-19.

He was at the forefront of communicating the government’s messages aimed at combating the virus.

His passing leaves President Cyril Ramaphosa without a key member of his Cabinet as well as a staunch ally, who devoted his efforts to healing rifts in the African National Congress (ANC) and restoring public confidence in the party he served from when he was a young activist.

ALSO READ: ‘He leaves behind a legacy of honesty’ - politicians remember Jackson Mthembu

Heartfelt salutes from opposition parties for a man they held in high regard, even though Mthembu was a stalwart of the ruling ANC.

Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader Julius Malema knew Mthembu well: “Jackson was a man of honour, a man of integrity, a man without the usual scandals that comes with being a politician after 1994. He was very senior in terms of his own credentials, yet he never felt entitled.”

For DA leader John Steenhuisen, Mthembu was someone who could see the bigger picture and the greater cause. He described his death as a devastating blow.

“A true patriot has been lost and somebody who demonstrated, through word and deed, and in a very brave way, that it is possible to reach across the aisle and find compromise, but also, that it is possible to stand up against your own party, sometimes, when it is in the best interests of the country.”

The IFP’s Mkhuleko Hlengwa said: “He was full of life, and while he was a very jocular character, he was also a very serious individual who understood that the business of the people required all of us to put shoulder to the wheel.”

UDM leader, Bantu Holomisa recalled his diligence as an MP and committee chairperson: “You could see that he wouldn’t just go to a meeting without preparing.”

WATCH: Remembering Jackson Mthembu, moments from the archives

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