Former president Jacob Zuma Picture: Themba Hadebe/AP (Archives)

Johannesburg - The ANC says it is saddened by the death of former president Jacob Zuma’s son Nhlankanipho Vusi Zuma following a short illness. The party has conveyed its condolences to the Zuma family and has described Vusi as a “bright, promising and disciplined” member of the ANC. He died on Sunday at Milpark Hospital at the age 25. 

“Nhlankanipho Zuma was a dedicated and humbled activist who took keen interest in the livelihoods of our people. His acts of kindness and gentle soul will forever remain in our hearts,” said the ANC in a statement on Monday. Vusi was the son of Zuma and Kate Zuma, who committed suicide in 2000. He is the youngest of five children from the couple, and his siblings include Duduzane and Duduzile Zuma. 

Close friend and uMkhonto we Sizwe veteran Carl Niehaus confirmed the news early on Monday morning. "Yes, it is true that Vusi was former President Zuma's son and he passed away late last night (Sunday) in Johannesburg after a short illness. I am not sure of the details of the illness or how the family are right now but we will be in contact with them soon," Niehaus said.  

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also conveyed his mesage of support to the Zuma family. 
 
“We have learned with shock and sadness of the sudden passing of former president Zuma’s son, Vusi Zuma, last night. I wish to convey, on behalf of government and all South Africans, our heartfelt condolences to former President Zuma, the Zuma family and relatives on the passing of their beloved son. Words cannot adequately express the pain of losing such a young family member. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time and we wish the Lord give former President Zuma strength. May the son’s soul rest in eternal peace,” said Ramaphosa. 

The former president’s spokesperson Vukile Mathabela said the family would appointed a spokesperson later in the day. Tributes have been pouring on social media. Former personal assistant to Nelson Mandela, Zelda la Grange described Vusi as a beautiful child.

“Oh my word. This is terrible. Vusi was a beautiful child. We saw him grow up. He went to Sacred Heart in Jhb. Just wondered about him the other day,” said La Grange.

Rev Jesse Jackson also sent his condolences to the Zuma family.

Political Bureau