AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
TRIBUTES have poured in for top South African business leader and former chair of Eskom Jabu Mabuza has passed away after a battle with COVID-19.
Mabuza (63) passed on at the Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, where he was being treated after falling ill during a visit to the Maldives.
Friends and colleagues of Mabuza took to social media platforms to pay tribute to a man who has run many major businesses in South Africa, including Tsogo Sun and state-owned enterprises such as Telkom. He was also president of Business Unity South Africa and served on the boards of many companies.
Sandile Zungu, chairperson of the Black Business Council, said Mabuza was larger than life who played a huge role in the formalisation of the taxi industry and a turn around specialist in corporate South Africa.
In a statement, his family described his as a gallant fighter for the political and economic freedom of South Africas. The family said 45 years ago, on Youth Day, Mabuza joined thousands of black youths who demanded the end of Bantu education. “He was later expelled for participating in that seminal protest that exposed the brutality of the apartheid regime and propelled the struggle for liberation,” the Mabuzas said.
General Bantu Holomisa, leader of the United Democratic Movement, paid tribute to Mabuza, a keen golfer. “My condolences to his family . We will miss you mfana in the fairways . You were a good person . It was always a joy to have you around . May your soul Rest In Peace,” Holomisa said.
Professor Bonang Mohale, a business leader and University of Free State chancellor said: “He was an incredible good quality human being. Absolutely inimitable. He served on the boards of no less than 15 companies. He loved life with the most amazing passion. He lived it to the fullest, the most incredible beautiful soul. We really send our heartfelt condolences to Sis Siviwe and his children.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa said as an entrepreneur and mentor to many, Mabuza built an outstanding career in business, which spanned his entrepreneurship as a taxi driver and owner, and his rise to chairing some of South Africa’s largest industrial groups and multinational enterprises.
Ramaphosa said Mabuza will be remembered for his pathfinder contribution to township and rural economic participation during the apartheid era through his roles in the Southern Africa Black Taxi Association and the Foundation for African Business and Consumer Services (FABCOS).
He also championed black economic participation and inclusive growth through his leadership of Business Leadership South Africa and Business Unity South Africa.
The President said: “COVID-19 has once again struck deep, hard and indiscriminately to deprive our nation of one our finest and most inspiring compatriots.
“Jabu Mabuza was a monumental figure on so many terrains of our national life.
“He provided inspiration and leadership to many, from Daveyton, where he started his illustrious career as a taxi driver, to Davos where he made his presence and values felt in global debates.
“We will miss the warmth of his personality, the forthrightness of his engagement on questions of national importance and the multiple precedents he set and led in the transformation of our economy.
“It is a profound loss that someone who believed so passionately in a better future for our country has been taken from us in the prime of his contribution to our nation. May his soul rest in peace.”