jackson mthembu

Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, has died after succumbing in his fight against COVID-19. Photo: Twitter/Nyiko Chuma

‘Death be not proud’: Tributes pour in for late Jackson Mthembu

Mthembu was known for his warm sense of humour and ability to find common ground across the benches. Tributes have poured in for ‘a giant’.

jackson mthembu

Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, has died after succumbing in his fight against COVID-19. Photo: Twitter/Nyiko Chuma

South Africa is in mourning after President Cyril Ramaphosa broke the tragic news that Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has succumbed to his battle against COVID-19, and tributes have poured in from across the political spectrum for a man unanimously lauded for his honour, reliability and warmth. 

Ramaphosa has lost a close ally, and said that the country has lost “an exemplary leader, an activist and life-long champion of freedom and democracy”. 

“He was a much-loved and greatly respected colleague and comrade, whose passing leaves our nation at a loss,” he said. 

DA, EFF offer condolences for loss of ‘giant’ Jackson Mthembu  

Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen said that he is “devastated to learn of the passing of Minister Jackson Mthembu”, adding that it “was such an honour to serve alongside this true South African patriot”. 

“Condolences to his family and friends and the colleagues in his party. May his soul rest in peace,” he said. 

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema tweeted a broken heart in reference to Mthembu’s passing. 

‘He valued accountability dearly’  

Former Johannesburg Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba said that COVID-19 is leading to the demise of some of the country’s “giants”. 

“My condolences to family and colleagues of Jackson Mthembu. We must not allow politics to forget our humanity. Giants are falling to this disease. May he rest in peace,” he said. 

DA MP Solly Malatsi said that Mthembu had a reputation for fighting vigorously against the scourge of corruption, and paid tribute to his unwavering sense of humour. 

“Jackson Mthembu was a rare exception amongst Ministers as he valued accountability dearly and never shied away from difficult questions. He had an impeccable knack for banter that could defrost the most tense moments between political opponents.” 

Mthembu’s ‘humour was his god-given gift’  

One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane paid tribute to a colleague who has been lauded for his ability to cross the benches and engage in a calm and reasonable manner with those perceived as opponents to the ANC. 

“Death be not proud. This is sad news indeed,” he said. “I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the family of minister Mthembu and to all members of the ANC. May his soul Rest In Peace.”

“May his family, friends and work colleagues find comfort and guidance from the Lord.”

Bantu Holomisa, leader of the United Democratic Movement, said that Mthembu fiercely fought for what he believed in, and said that humour was “the gift that god gave him”. 

“My condolences to this family and friends, and indeed his colleagues in parliament,” he said.  “Mthembu would stand for what he believed in. He would not be persuaded easily. We will miss his sense of humour as well. He has left a big gap. May he rest in Peace.”

Mthembu diagnosed with COVID-19 two weeks ago

In Mthembu’s last tweet over 10 days ago, he announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and thanked the nation for its support. 

“Today I visited the Military hospital in Tshwane to get medical attention for  an abdominal pain . After undergoing some tests , I tested positive for COVID-19. Plans are afoot to get all my family members and close associates tested as well,” he wrote.

“I want to thank the many South Africans who have wished me a speedy recovery . As a people we must overcome COVID-19.”