Reports have surfaced that Minister Jackson Mthembu has died. According to a statement released by President Cyril Ramaphosa, Mthembu died early on Thursday morning.
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In his statement, Ramaphosa said Minister Mthembu was an exemplary leader, an activist and lifelong champion of freedom and democracy.
"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.
"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,” Ramaphosa said.
Mthembu was 62 at the time of his death on Thursday. South African politicians flooded social media with messages of condolences:
Herman Mashaba reminded South Africans that Covid-19 has no fear or favour when he posted on Twitter:Covid 19 update: David Mabuza to head coronavirus vaccine rollout
EFF leader Julius Malema expressed his heartbreak at the news as well:
On 11 January, Mthembu tested positive for Covid-19 after he showed some symptoms.
According to The Presidency website, Jackson Mphikwa Mthembu has always been an anti-apartheid activist who was part of the liberation struggle.
- Mthembu joined politics in the 1970s.
- He was born in Witbank, now known as eMmalahleni, in June 1958.
- Between 1990 and 1994, Mthembu was the ANC spokesman in Mpumalanga.
- Mthembu was part of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) since 2007.
- From 1995 to 1997, Mthembu was the national spokesperson of the ANC under President Nelson Mandela.
- From 2009 to 2014, Mthembu was appointed the same role.
- From 2016 to 2019, Mthembu served as the Chief Whip of the ANC in the National Assembly.
- In 2019, Mthembu was appointed as the Minister in the Presidency.
In other news, Briefly.co.za reported that hope is being restored after reports that the Covid-19 vaccine rollout is due soon.
With Deputy President David Mabuza set to head the rollout, many are hoping that it will bring relief to the struggling health sector.
South Africa recorded 12 710 new cases as at 20 January 2021, with 566 deaths recorded due to Covid-19 related complications.
The Eastern Cape currently reported the highest number of deaths at 9716 since the pandemic started.
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