Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor says she is devastated by the death of Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu. Aged 62, Mthembu succumbed to COVID-19-related complications earlier on Thursday.
The African National Congress (ANC) has also expressed shock and sadness at Mthembu’s death.
Pandor has hailed Mthembu for his immense contribution to the ruling party and South Africa.
“To be honest, I am totally devastated. I just cannot believe that comrade Jackson is gone. He gave his working life, his youth, his commitment, to our country, to struggle for freedom, from a school boy right through to his adulthood and even up to today. His presence in the ANC was so tremendous,” says Pandor.
Dr. Pandor saddened by the passing of Minister Mthembu:
‘Big shoes to fill’
President Cyril Ramaphosa says he was deeply saddened to hear that Mthembu had passed away.
In a statement, Ramaphosa says Mthembu was an exemplary leader, activist and life-long champion of freedom and democracy. Describing his passing as a great loss to the nation, the president conveyed his condolences to the Minister’s family, colleagues and friends.
The ANC says Mthembu has left big shoes to fill.
Party Deputy Secretary, Jessie Duarte says they are still trying to process the news. Mthembu was admitted to the hospital with COVID-19-related complications last week.
Duarte briefed the media at the ANC headquarters, Luthuli House in Johannesburg, saying: “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,” says Duarte.
Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, has described Mthembu as “irreplaceable, upright and principled.”
“This death is devastating to some of us. The pain is cutting very deep,” laments Motsoaledi.
South Africans urged to take COVID-19 serious
Cope Spokesperson Dennis Bloem says Mthembu died fighting and serving the country.
“It is a very sad day not only to his family but to the entire country. Jackson Mthembu died with is boots on. This man was there for the people of this country. Before he was appointed as minister, Jackson Mthembu was on the group. We are very saddened.”
COPE’s Dennis Bloem urges South Africans to take COVID-19 serious:
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has added its voice to the flood of messages of condolences in the wake of the death of Minister Mthembu.
DA leader John Steenhuisen says the news came as a great shock.
The EFF pays tribute to the late Jackson Mthembu who served as Minister in the Presidency, as one of the few incorruptible government leaders. EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu praised Mthembu for his stance on land expropriation.
“Minister Mthembu was amongst the very few incorruptible leaders in government. He was one of the most dedicated and principled political leaders he was not always blown by the wind he always stuck to principle. We worked with him very well when he was the chief whip of the majority party and under his guidance of the ANC parliamentary majority caucus, amongst his legacies is the fact SA is going to expropriate land without compensation. We say to Minister Mthembu that May your soul rest in perfect peace!”