Dedicated, humble and a principled person. This is how political leaders, both from the ruling party and the opposition, remember the late Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu.
Following the news of the passing on of Mthembu on Thursday, due to COVID-19 related complications, various political leaders took to social media, where they expressed their condolences to Mthembu’s family and also shared their fond memories of him.
Dr Zweli Mkhize and his wife May said Mthembu was always friendly and shall be missed for his kind and generous spirit.
“A giant tree has fallen. A communicator par excellence, and an even better man. Rest well my brother, Jackson Mthembu. Our deepest love and condolences goes to the Mthembu family in this painful time,” Mkhize said.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura also expressed his sadness on Mthembu’s passing.
“Shattered by the news of the passing of our dear Comrade Jackson Mthembu. An activist and life-long champion of freedom and democracy who defended our Constitution to the very end. Lala ngoxolo, Mvelase,” Makhura said.
Basic Education Deputy Minister, Dr Reginah Mhaule, said she is battling to come to terms with Mthembu’s departure.
“We were hopeful that you were recovering well. Hamba kahle Mvelase,” Mhaule said.
Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi commended Mthembu’s leadership skills, especially the way he handled the debates.
“When the spear was blunt, Jackson Mthembu will sharpen it. When debates were 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,” Lesufi said.
United Democratic leader (UDM) Bantu Holomisa said he will miss Mthembu’s good sense of humour.
“You batted well during your innings. Your non-partisan approach in solving South Africa’s challenges should be emulated by many. You were a brave man who stood for what you believed in. We will miss your good sense of humour. May Your soul Rest in Peace,” Holomisa said.
In a statement, the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) described Mthembu as a true servant of the people.
“Jackson Mthembu was amongst the very few dedicated, humble and principled leaders of government. Mthembu almost always rose above factional politics,” the EFF said.
On behalf of the Democratic Alliance (DA), John Steenhuisen said he would like to extend their sincere condolences to his family, his friends and his party.
“You have lost a generous man with a big heart and an even bigger sense of humour. To say that Jackson was much loved would be some understatement.
“During the time that we served opposite each other in the National Assembly as chief whips of our respective parties, I came to know him well and I saw a side to him that explains why he was such a revered figure in the ANC.
“I knew him as a man of integrity, and someone who managed to see the bigger picture and the greater cause,” Steenhuisen said.
“He was always prepared to do what it took to find solutions to whatever impasse we might have been facing in the House. If this meant meeting up long after the working day was done to thrash out the details of an agreement, then Jackson would do so in a heartbeat.
“His passing will be mourned by all who knew him and everyone who worked with him, whether in his party, in cabinet or around the parliamentary precinct. I pray that his loved ones find strength and comfort in this difficult time.”
Former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane described Mthembu as an honest and humbled person.
“Some people are able to reach out across political aisles, they are able to change the atmosphere in a room, and they are honest and humble. Minister Mthembu was such a man. I am still shocked. Condolences to his family and to the ANC,” Maimane said.
Former Public Protector, Professor Thuli Madonsela, said the social justice community has lost a partner in Mthembu.
“There goes a man who epitomized human decency. Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the late Minister Jackson Mthembu and to his colleagues in the ANC and government,” Madonsela said.