Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu with Audrey Mamoepa, wife of the late government spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa, at the unveiling of a plaque at the GCIS media centre which has been named after him. Picture: GCIS/DoC

Pretoria - Ministry in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu on Friday took a swipe at the EFF for disrupting Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan in Parliament on Thursday.

Mthembu was speaking at the unveiling of the Ronnie Mamoepa Media Centre at Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) on Friday morning.

He said Mamoepa would have been disappointed at the way members of the EFF conducted themselves.

Mamoepa was a former spokesperson to Cyril Ramaphosa when he was deputy president. He died while in office in 2017 following a stroke.

Reggie Moalusi, representing the South African National Editors’ Forum, said Mamoepa had always been available for the media and was always patient, even with those who were not well informed.

On Thursday there was a tense stand-off as EFF MPs approached Gordhan at the podium instead of leaving, and parliamentary security staff were called in to remove them.

“We stand by Pravin,” Mthembu told attendees, Mamoepa’s family and colleagues at GCIS.

Mthembu spoke highly of Mamoepa, who he said had been one of the youngest prisoners to be incarcerated on Robben Island.

He said the unveiling was about Mamoepa’s legacy. “Ronnie’s generosity of spirit inspired him to reach out to disadvantaged communities and to provide assistance to needy individuals from all walks of life.”

Colleagues described Mamoepa as dedicated and someone who fostered a cordial working relationship between media and government.

The event took part on what would have been Mamoepa’s 59th birthday.

Speakers related the professional and personal experiences they shared with the communications doyen, who was described as a gallant freedom fighter, a gentle giant and a humble man.

His son, Olefile, touched many with his speech. “As you know, my dad hated flying as much as he travelled so much. He wanted to control the pilot, which is why I have him to thank today now that I’m in aviation.”

His wife, Audrey, looked more at ease and at peace than at the funeral in 2017. She smiled at the memories.

Mthembu later unveiled the plaque which detailed Mamoepa’s life at the doors of the media centre.

Political Bureau