Jackson Mthembu

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

‘If you see a man in red overalls, run!’ Six times Jackson Mthembu made us laugh

Amongst the tributes for Jackson Mthembu today, many have mentioned his sense of humour. Boy, could he make us laugh – even when he wasn’t trying…

Jackson Mthembu

Photo: GCIS / Flickr

Jackson Mthembu’s untimely death has cast a grim shadow over South Africa on Thursday. The minister, who passed away due to COVID-19 complications, has been the subject of heartfelt tributes from all across the country. And, for those who remember Mthembu for some of his lighter moments, you’re in luck: We’ve got his funniest exchanges here.

Six times Jackson Mthembu made us laugh:

His fatherly advice in Parliament

Man, we’ve got to start with this. It’s so good, it made the title. During a Parliamentary address, Jackson Mthembu ensured he’d be the ultimate ’embarrassing dad’. He singled his daughter Thuli out, warning her to stay away from men in red overalls. His takedown of the EFF sparked a laugh-riot in the National Assembly:

“My daughter is sat in the gallery. Her name is Thuli. I just want to say to her, if you see anybody wearing a red overall and boots approaching you, run my girl! And don’t look back!”

The need for ‘vibrators’ on COVID-19 wards

Surprisingly, the WHO has done very little research into this method of fighting coronavirus: A much-needed break in the tension during the early stages of this pandemic was provided by Jackson Mthembu, after this classic slip-up.

“We are dealing with concerns over PPE, and the way they are distributed. There are issues of vibrators, that need serious attention in our hospitals and ICUs.”

Jackson Mthembu’s desperate plea to SA’s ‘terrible drinkers’

‘We drink like fish’ could well become a national motto – once that alcohol ban gets lifted. An exasperated Mthembu once asked South Africans what it would take for us to ‘drink like other nations’, after he called out the terrible drinkers of SA.

“It goes without saying that as South Africans, we are bad, terrible drinkers. What do we need to do to drink like other nations? You know, we don’t drink [responsibly], we drink like fish!” 

Dismantling the EFF and DA in one go

Mthembu seemed to save his best material for the EFF. During the 2019 SONA Debate, the minister sharpened his tongue and headed for the red corner, giving Malema and his colleagues a fair amount of stick after the General Election. Oh, he also made time for a quick barb at the DA, too…

“The EFF are bullies who have no place in our democracy, they are simply a two-man dictatorship… If one wants the only manifesto which will be implemented by this government is the ANC manifesto. If one wants that right, they have to win an election first. And as for the DA? They are the epitome of white male privilege.”

Lessons on ‘how not to steal’

Shame man, we know he meant well, but last year Jackson Mthembu revealed that Cabinet Ministers would ‘go back to school’. His comments were made in the wake of the PPE scandal, where government corruption ran riot. He outlined how training courses could teach the most senior of our politicians ‘how to stop robbing the public’. Eish!

You are never too wise to learn, nor are you too old to educate yourself. Cabinet – all of us – will go back to school. This is so we can gain more knowledge on analysis and critical challenges of government. We hope that these training courses for all elected officials will help us learn how to implement policies – and prevent us from robbing the public of service delivery.”

Jackson Mthembu, the cheerleader

The lack of rhythm. The jarring dance moves. And, the painfully awkward chant itself. An animated Jackson Mthembu threw himself into this campaign – and that’s when the problems started. Alas, it has become one of those moments that South Africans remember warmly, due to it being objectively funny. We’d have loved one more rendition of this…