Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has died from COVID-19 related complications on Thursday, aged 62.
“It is with deep sorrow and shock that we announce that Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu passed away earlier today from Covid-related complications. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time of loss,” the president said on Twitter.
“Minister Mthembu was 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.
“I extend my deepest sympathies to the minister’s family, to his colleagues, comrades and many friends.”
Jackson Mphikwa Mthembu was born on 5 June 1958 in Witbank, Mpumalanga. He began his political career as a student leader at Elukhanyisweni Secondary School in Witbank during the 1976 students’ uprisings.
After finishing his formal education, he became involved in the trade union sector in the 1980s. It was during this time that he was arrested and charged with sabotage, treason & terrorism between 1986 and 1988, and tried together with 30 other activists from Witbank.
After the unbanning of political parties in 1990, he was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the Witbank branch of the African National Congress (ANC). Between 1990 – 1994, he worked fulltime as ANC spokesman in Mpumalanga and participated as ANC staff component at the CODESA negotiations.
He was the national spokesperson of the ANC under President Nelson Mandela from 1995 – 1997, appointed to the same role again from 2009 – 2014. He served as the Chief Whip of the ANC in the National Assembly from 2016 up to the end of the 5th term of parliament in 2019. After the 2019 national and general elections he was appointed as the Minister in the Presidency.
People on Twitter have been sharing their condolences.
When the spear was blunt #RIPJacksonMthembu will sharpen it— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) January 21, 2021
When debates where directionless, he will direct the debate
When anger was the order of the day, he’ll bring order and stability
We indeed lost a cadre and it will take us time to lift again these revolutionary banners pic.twitter.com/RK8O3o7sh5
#RIPJacksonMthembu— Tumi Sole (@tumisole) January 21, 2021
Condolences to the Mthembu family, friends, MPs and relatives.
The Presidency has announced that Minister Mthembu passed away due to covid-19 related complications.
RIP: Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu has died— Kgopolo Mphela (@PhilMphela) January 21, 2021
A statement confirmed that Minister Mthembu passed away on Thursday morning from COVID-related complications.
He was 62. #RIPJacksonMthembu pic.twitter.com/34ptI1kmXs
Jackson Mthembu 💔— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) January 21, 2021