South African Minister in the Presidency and former ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu has passed away at the age of 62 due to COVID-related complications. His death was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday afternoon.
“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.
“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,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
Mthembu served in various roles within the ANC and in parliament since the 90s. Prior to being appointed as Minister in the Presidency in 2019, he had been serving as the chief whip of the ruling party since 2016.
The Minister’s passing comes ten days after he tested positive for covid-19. Mthembu announced his positive test on Twitter on the 11th of January. “Today I visited the Military hospital in Tshwane to get medical attention for an abdominal pain. After undergoing some tests, I tested positive for Covid 19 . Plans are afoot to get all my family members and close associates tested as well,” he said in his last tweet.
Mthembu is survived by his wife and five children. In March 2019, his eldest daughter Nokhwezi died by suicide.