South African cabinet minister dies of COVID-19


JACKSON Mthembu, South Africa’s minister in the Presidency, passed today from COVID-19 complications.

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the passing of a man who has become the first member of his executive to die from a pandemic that has claimed over 34 000 lives in SA and infected over 1.3-million.

Mthembu was the spokesperson of the government and the face of its campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of COVID-19. He hosted many media conferences where his colleagues in government outlined government programmes to combat the pandemic.

Ramaphosa said: “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. 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,” Ramaphosa said.

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Mthembu is a veteran ANC activist who cut his teeth in politics in Mpumalanga, where he rose to be speaker of the provincial executive council and a member of the provincial executive.

Before his appointment to the cabinet, he was the chief whip of the ANC in the National Assembly.

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