SOUTH Africa’s minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu died from COVID-19 related complications on Thursday morning.
President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed his passing describing minister Mthembu, who tested Covid-19 positive on January 11, as an exemplary leader.
“It is with deep sorrow and shock that we announce that Minister in The Presidency, Jackson Mthembu passed away earlier today from COVID-19 related complications. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time of loss,” said President Ramaphosa in a statement.
“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.”
Minister Mthembu’s death comes a day after the death of Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Dr Sibusiso Moyo also from Covid-19.
In his condolence message, President Mnangagwa said Dr Moyo will be remembered by generations to come for his dedication to his country.
“The death early this morning of our Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Major-General (Rtd) Dr SB Moyo, after Covid-19 related complications has come to all of us as a great shock. On behalf of the ruling party, Zanu-PF, Government, my family, on my own and that of our entire nation, I wish to express my sincere and deep heartfelt condolences to the Moyo family,” he said.
“My heart goes out especially to his wife, Justice Matanda-Moyo, and to the children on their saddest loss. In condoling with them, I urge them to derive solace and comfort from the distinguished role Dr Moyo played in the service of his people and the nation, for which he shall be remembered and honoured across generations.”
President Mnangagwa said the late Dr Moyo whom he appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2017, was determined in executing the Second Republic’s engagement and re-engagement policy through which the country sought to mend relations with the Western countries that imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
“In that onerous role, our nation relied on him for a determined execution of our engagement and re-engagement policy through which we sought to embrace the rest of the world, while repairing relations with those countries which had taken positions against us over our legitimate and principled decision to recover our heritage, principally land,” he said.
“He persistently deployed patient and dignified diplomacy, even against difficult and often hostile interlocutors. Through that patience and perseverance, Zimbabwe has expanded friendships, and registered significant diplomatic gains and victories across the globe.”
The President said Dr Moyo was a distinguished scholar who delicately balanced his time between his responsibilities and chores as a soldier, and his pursuit of higher studies. “Such was his discipline and unrelenting quest for self-improvement which inspired all of us,” he said.