The African National Congress (ANC) has made an impassioned plea to South Africans to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously, saying it has continued to claim millions of lives across the globe.

This follows the death of Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu of COVID-19 related complications on Thursday after being admitted to hospital last week.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte says they are still trying to process Mthembu’s departure.

She briefed the media at the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“The space that he took could not, will not be able to be filled very easily. We will always love him and we’re going to miss him dearly. And we hope that as we go on the next coming days we will find a way to heal ourselves, but to understand that the real issue here is to mind the period that we are in and COVID-19 is not playing with anybody.”

Duarte says Mthembu was the face and voice of government on the issues of COVID-19:

In the video below, Minister of International Relations and Cooperations, Dr. Naledi Pandor says she is deeply saddened to hear about Mthembu’s passing:

INFOGRAPHIC: The Life and Times of Jackson Mthembu: