Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament, Cameron MacKenzie, died of COVID-19 on Wednesday, 7 July. The party’s Natasha Mazzone confirmed MacKenzie’s passing on Thursday, in a statement, and said the DA is mourning the loss of a diligent and passionate public servant, colleague and friend.
MacKenzie succumbed to COVID-19 on Wednesday night after a severe battle with the disease, according to Mazzone. A wife, Lisa, and three children survive him.
“Cameron was a valued member of the Party’s parliamentary caucus and a dear friend who will be missed sorely. South Africa has lost a great public servant who served his country diligently and with the utmost passion,” said Mazzone.
“Our thoughts are with those who still continue to battle against COVID-19, and we urge all South Africans to remain safe during these difficult times,” concluded Mazzone.
MacKenzie, who would have turned 61 next month, was shot and wounded in the shoulder during an attempted robbery in Johannesburg in 2020. He underwent surgery and recovered well from the incident.
“My friend is gone. ‘You survived a bullet dammit,’ we joked last week like we always do,” said former DA MP Phumzile Van Damme, in a social media post mourning MacKenzie’s death.
“We’ve been through so much together and with humour, love and support carried each other through the most tough times of our lives. I am numb and in disbelief. It cannot be. Why do the good ones go,” questioned Van Damme.
MacKenzie said politics was always an important part of his life “for as long as [he] could remember.” In 1978, he left South Africa because he refused to join the South African Defence Force (SADF). When he returned to the country in 1990 he became actively involved in politics after the Boipatong Massacre, joining the African National Congress (ANC). MacKenzie, however, left politics in 1996 following the conclusion of the controversial 1996 Arms Deal.
“In 2005, having witnessed the steady decline of Johannesburg – especially the potholed filled roads, I decided to stand as an independent candidate in the 2006 local government elections, believing that as a non-aligned councillor I could get more accomplished than the incumbent DA Councillor by constructively engaging with the ruling ANC,” said MacKenzie.
At that point, in time, he perceived the DA as the party of wealthy white people but added that his mind was changed by the work the party was doing for the people of the Kya Sands informal settlement. “There were election posters on the shacks of DA councillor John Mendelsohn, whose commitment to those who lacked any voice was inspirational to me,” said MacKenzie.
“I have been a DA member ever since , witnessing the application and practical implementation of policies where we govern that improve not only the lives of the poor but all South Africans.
MacKenzie was initially elected as a DA MP in 2014 and re-elected in 2019. He said he was honoured to walk in the footsteps that went before him and was thankful for the privilege of serving South Africa and its people.