Deputy President David Mabuza says ending the spread and defeating the COVID-19 pandemic will be a befitting tribute for the late Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu.

He was addressing the virtual memorial service in Mthembu’s honour.

Mvelase, as he was affectionately known, was buried yesterday, after succumbing to COVID-19 complications last Thursday.

Minister Jackson Mthembu’s funeral service: 

His memorial service was also attended by several ministers including Naledi Pandor, Senzo Mchunu, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke among others.

Central to the government’s messaging of the coronavirus, the late Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu was seen as the face of the government’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mabuza says overcoming the spread of the virus will be a perfect and royal send-off for his colleague.

“The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with is a tangible reminder that life knows no sense of occasion. Just as it gives arbitrarily in birth, it takes indiscriminately in death, taking away the steady shoulders of giants.”

He has described Mthembu as gentle and praised him for his humility and commitment to selflessly serve the people.

“We have been unjustly robbed of a champion for social justice for the marginalised and destitute. For him, the public service leadership role meant that in everything we do, we must never stray from our pursuit of changing the lives of poor and vulnerable communities for the better.”

Mthembu’s colleague in Parliament Mondli Gungubele says Mthembu was revered for his loyalty and discipline and above all his display of consistency at all times.

Media practitioners also had sweet words for the two-term former spokesperson of the governing party under presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma.

While Mthembu is heaped with praises for his humility and being accessible to members of the fourth estate it is everyone’s wish that those coming after him will indeed emulate his deeds.

Minister Jackson Mthembu remembered at a memorial service: