African National Congress (ANC) KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu is to be buried in KwaDukuza on the north coast of Durban on Saturday. Mthembu died of COVID-19 related complications in hospital this week.

Other political party leaders have described the former chairperson of the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs portfolio committee in the provincial legislature as someone who respected people including those that did not belong to his party.

Mthembu served as both ANC chairperson in the Greater KwaDukuza region, as well as KwaDukuza Mayor for eight years before becoming the ANC’s provincial spokesperson.

Premier Sihle Zikalala is expected to attend the funeral service, which will be held in terms of COVID-19 regulations limiting the number of people.

ANC KwaZulu-Natal Secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli says Mthembu fought until the end.

“I can confirm that comrade Ricardo, it is quite correct that he tested positive of COVID-19. That’s why I am saying that when we are waging this war, we must not be despondent only because some of our greatest soldiers are falling.”

“As we move along, I think that is what the spirit of comrade Ricardo, and many others like him, it’s what must propel us to move forward. We must embrace that fighting spirit. He has been in the hospital for more than two weeks. It demonstrated the level of courage and tenacity that he had. To stay in hospital and stay on the machine and ventilators for such a long time, it shows that this was a comrade who was determined to fight.”