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The management of departments and entities led by the late Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, will pay their respects through a drive-by visit to his family residence in Ackerville, Witbank, this afternoon. 

“The management will address the family from across the street. The drive-by and address will occur in line with strict COVID-19 protocols,” said the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) in a statement.

The following departments and entities reported to the late Minister:

•             The Presidency

•             Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)

•             Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation

•             Brand South Africa

•             Media Development and Diversity Agency

•             National Planning Commission

•             Statistics South Africa

“He steered the ship with transparency, commitment and confidence. He always served the people of South Africa unreservedly. May his soul rest in peace.  Hamba Kahle Minister Mthembu,” said the GCIS.

Tributes continue to pour in for the late Mthembu, after his passing on, due to COVID-19 related complications on Thursday. 

Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu said the untimely passing of Mthembu has not only robbed his family of a husband, father, brother and uncle, but it has also robbed government and the nation of a great leader.

“A man of noble character, Minister Mthembu and I shared the importance of attaching values and principles to our political practice to the dot. This is evident from the work that he produced in his portfolio as well as his role within the ruling party. I would call him ‘Juck son’, and he would protest about me ‘zuluwising’ his name.

“Those who had the honour of being in his presence can attest to his calm nature; those who had the privilege of working with him; can speak to his leadership skills and his intelligible guidance. He was a peacemaker, constantly providing direction when things seemed to derail,” Mchunu said.

“As we continue to adjust to the ever-changing ‘new normal’,” Mchunu said COVID-19 continues to claim the lives of many members of society – young and old.

“Minister Mthembu’s dedication to the public service will forever be appreciated and valued. His immense contributions to governance and the country will be remembered for years to come. Hamba kahle Mphikwa,” Mchunu said.

Sharing her fondest memory of Mthembu, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, said Mthembu was a real comrade, one you could talk to and laugh with no hesitation of discussing anything with him.

Dlamini-Zuma also noted that Mthembu was at the forefront of trying to convince South Africans to protect themselves against COVID-19 and “died in trying to save lives against COVID”.

“We are just shocked. He debated in meetings where he should debate and had ideas. You listen to him, and he listens to you,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

Also paying tribute to the late Mthembu, International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, said Mthembu was a wonderful person, a committed activist, a great friend and a hard worker, who served the people very well.

“I’m just absolutely stunned that we could lose such a person. He wasn’t afraid to express his opinion freely and he was totally dedicated to South Africa,” Pandor said.

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said Mthembu’s death has been a terrible blow to the African National Congress (ANC).

“A committed United Democratic Front (UDF) activist, an ANC grassroots leader, a member of Parliament, a Chief whip of the majority party, a Minister in the Presidency. What an accomplishment! And yet so humble and accommodating of all,” Sisulu said.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the news of the passing of Mthembu came as a shock.

“We were not ready for this but we have to accept and pick up the baton,” Mbalula said.

Echoing other political leaders’ sentiments, Mbalula said Mthembu was passionate about his work, and a principled leader.

“He was a dedicated fighter and a good comrade. He didn’t take anything personal, and we remain indebted to him and his family for the contribution he made for us to be free. Mthembu is one person who, when he feels that something wrong is happening, he stands up.

“He cared about things, he stood up against wrong doing. I’m proud to call him a comrade because he has all the principles that defines a comrade. He loved the ANC and the people of this country. He was a good communicator,” Mbalula said.


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