Cape Town - Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has died of Covid-related complications, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday.
He was 62 years old.
“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,” the president said on Twitter.
“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.”
The minister tested positive for Covid-19 on January 11 after showing some symptoms.
Mthembu was born in Witbank, now Emalahleni, in Mpumalanga in 1958 and cut his political teeth in student politics in the 1970s.
He served in party structures in the 1980s in the fight against apartheid. Mthembu was harassed by security forces in the 1980s.
During that period he served as deputy secretary for the UDF in Gauteng.
He was also involved with the ANC in the 1990s in his Mpumalanga region. After the democratic dispensation he was appointed MEC in Mpumalanga and he later became Speaker in the provincial legislature.
Mthembu was later deployed to Luthuli House where he became ANC national spokesperson from 2007 until he joined Parliament a few years later.
He served as ANC chief whip in Parliament before he was deployed in government as Minister in the Presidency after the 2019 elections.