THE business community has mourned the tragic passing of Jabu Mabuza, who contracted Covid-19.
Mabuza died on Wednesday at the age of 63.
Business Unity South Africa (Busa) president Sipho Pityana described Mabuza’s death as a great loss for business in South Africa. Mabuza was Pityana’s predecessor as president of Busa.
“I am at a loss for words. The passing of Jabu is tragic, devastating, and a great loss for business and our country. Jabu played a leading and pivotal role as a business leader with foresight and courage. He was a phenomenal human being and a gentle soul. Jabu was a role model for all South Africans who aspire to make a difference,” he said.
Pityana said Mabuza would be remembered for his courage during the state capture era.
“As president of Busa, he often had to deliver difficult messages to the government. I will always regard Jabu as a true leader, a man of integrity, and someone who was never afraid to speak his mind. He will be sorely missed at a time when we need all hands on deck to resolve the massive challenges posed by the global Covid-19 pandemic, and its impact on business and society. He was a consummate gentleman, a courageous leader, and a true South African.”
Busa deputy president Martin Kingston said: “I am dumbfounded at the sad and tragic passing of a patriot and friend.
“Our country has lost a beautiful person and a great leader. We remember his lovely nature and his outstanding leadership, both in the private and public sectors.”
Busa chief executive Cas Coovadia said: “I worked with Jabu when he was president of Busa and co-chair of the CEO Initiative. He had a character and personality that was contagious. He led with courage, honour and honesty. He was a true patriot.”
Busa said it stood with Mabuza’s family at this terrible time.
“We cannot begin to imagine their pain and sorrow, and we offer our support and wishes to help them through this painful period. We extend our sincere condolences,” Busa said.
The Small Business Institute (SBI) also extended its condolences to the Mabuza family. In a statement, the institute said it had learned with shock about the passing of Mabuza.
“On behalf of the SBI board, the tens of thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) affiliated to the SBI and our wider SBI supporters, we extend our condolences to the family. Jabu’s passing is not only our loss but also the loss for the rest of South Africa and anyone who shared his anxiety about growing inequality, unemployment, and poverty in our country,” the SBI said.
“We extend our gratitude to the family for having graciously and generously shared Jabu with us. In Jabu’s demise, the SME ecosystem is poorer for losing one of its loyal and long-standing supporters,” the SBI said.
SBI chairperson Sipho Nkosi said: “During this time of great sadness, we join the family in prayers as they come to terms with Jabu’s passing.”
At the time of his death, Mabuza was the chairperson of Sun International and lead independent non-executive director on the board of the MultiChoice Group.
Last year, he stepped down as the interim executive chairperson and acting group chief executive of Eskom.
Mabuza is survived by his wife, Siviwe, and three children.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE