Jackson Mthembu ANC

ANC Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu briefs media on outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, the 21st of August 2019. (Photos: GCIS)

ANC remembers Jackson Mthembu: ‘A great loss to SA and our movement’

ANC Deputy SG Jessie Duarte said members are still reeling from the shock following the tragic passing of Minister Jackson Mthembu.

Jackson Mthembu ANC

ANC Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu briefs media on outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, the 21st of August 2019. (Photos: GCIS)

The African National Congress (ANC) is currently mourning one of its NEC members Jackson Mthembu, 62, who passed on from COVID-19 related complications on Thursday 21 January. Holding a press conference just a few minutes after President Cyril Ramaphosa broke the dreaded news, two members spoke of their colleague, comrade and brother. 

ANC Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte said Jackson Mthembu had an unbelievable work ethic and worked incredibly long hours but it wasn’t all work, the minister did make time for play too. 

“He had a great sense of humour and had the ability to communicate very easily with people. He could also be quite firm and he could also be quite stern if he needed to be but he rarely lost friends, he made friends. The friends he has will be his friends forever,” said Duarte. 


Duarte went on to say that he was extremely loyal to his country, always put it first and was also extremely loyal to the ANC and defended its values at every turn. 

“For us who have lost a brother and a friend, this is a great loss and we are still reeling from the shock. He leaves a legacy of honesty and integrity and legacy of deep value to us. To be the spokesperson of the ANC is not the easiest job in the world but I think he did it excellently well and he has been an excellent minister in the presidency,” she said. 

“I am struggling, frankly speaking, I’ve known him for many many years, it’s difficult to process that he’s gone but he is gone and he’s not going to come back. Our beloved NEC member with his delightful laugh and his ability to bring to the NEC great value is gone forever, we should not lose anyone else,” she added. 

Communications manager for the ANC Keith Khoza worked closely with Jackson Mthembu and called him a mentor that lived for the ANC. 

“He embodied that brand in his conduct in every way. He was indeed the son of the soil and we are going to miss him dearly,” he said. 


ANC National spokesperson Pule Mabe also released a heartfelt statement saying Jackson Mthembu’s death was a great loss for the country. 

A young student and youth activist since the 70s, Jackson Mthembu went on to play a critical role in the mass democratic movement, including the United Democratic Front and ANC underground structures in the then Eastern Transvaal, as a vocal proponent for freedom and the emancipation of the people. 

His ability to engage and win over even those who disagreed with him, saw him excel in communications in the ANC, eventually serving as its National Spokesperson and the Chief Whip of the ANC in Parliament. 

“Mvelase’s contribution in the NEC was always considered, aimed at genuine exchange of ideas and finding solutions, always passionately committed to the betterment of South Africa’s people, especially the poor and marginalised,” said Mabe.  

“The ANC conveys its heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, colleagues and comrades. The passing of Jackson Mthembu is a great loss to South Africa and to our movement. On behalf of the National Executive Committee of the ANC, we dip our revolutionary banner to this formidable South African patriot,” he added.