The ANC has confirmed former Luthuli House general manager and MEC Ignatius Jacobs has died.
ANC deputy secretary-general Jesse Duarte, who was with the family at the time, confirmed the news, saying Jacobs had been battling cancer for three years.
“We have lost a great revolutionary. A comrade who grew up in the structures of the ANC – from underground politics to working at provincial level. To me, the loss is very great. He was a great friend and comrade and a very special person.”
Jacobs was first appointed as education MEC in former Gauteng premier Mbazima Shilowa’s cabinet. After that, he moved to the transport portfolio. He was also an adviser to Nomvula Mokonyane during her tenure as premier.
An emotional Mokonyane told News24 she was shattered on hearing of Jacobs’ death, saying he was a dear friend.
“I thought he fought his illness through, but I do believe there comes a time when your body gives in. Nash and I had become more than comrades. We have known each other from our youth days. We have known each other as detainees and underground operators.”
Mokonyane, who recalled their time in government, said the news of her friend’s death came a year after her husband’s death. “His life was a struggle until the end.”
Former ANC youth league president Lulu Johnson said Jacobs became ill after leaving Luthuli House.
“He is someone who was very strategic within the youth league as we were working together. Even as treasurer-general you would find him assisting at all levels, as a brother and at a political level.
“He was a true non-racialist cadre of the movement. We have lost a true cadre of the movement. What a sad day. The family might have to conduct the funeral but it will be on us to host a perfect and deserving farewell after the lockdown,” Johnson said.
Jacobs lost his position at Luthuli House in 2017 after allegations of a covert “war room” operation, aimed at sabotaging opposition parties’ municipal election chances, surfaced.