African National Congress (ANC) deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte has hailed Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, saying he died with his boots on, working for the citizens of South Africa.
Mthembu died on Thursday morning due to Covid-19 complications.
The minister had tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month, and government called on those who had come in contact with him to self-quarantine.
Briefing the media on Thursday evening, Duarte described Mthembu as someone who had an unbelievable work ethic and was loyal.
“He was stern, firm and loyal to both South Africa and the ANC. He put the country first, was loyal to the party and didn’t live in the clouds. He understood the people’s challenges and was always ready to serve.”
Duarte said Mthembu was a defender of the truth and leaves a legacy of honesty, integrity and a legacy of deep value.
She continued to say the minister would be remembered for his friendly approach to people.
“And an ability to communicate very easily to people and to draw people in conversations.”
The deputy secretary-general added that the ANC and his family was still struggling to process his death.
“Our brother is gone and he is not coming back. The loss for the family is incalculable. They’ve lost someone very important to them. They’re in grief, it’s still very raw and they would like for the opportunity to let this sink in.”
Duarte noted that Covid-19 “has no respect for anyone and it will take anyone from us”.
“That’s why we are determined to support government in the procurement of the vaccine.”
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) also paid tribute to Mthembu, describing the minister as “a true servant of the people”.
“The dedication of Minister Jackson Mthembu was demonstrated through his principled participation in the struggle against the nonsensical apartheid regime, as a students’ leader, a youth activist, as workers’ leader, community leader and certainly without entitlement for individual benefits.
“He understood that his participation in the struggle was for a common good and for the people, not for individual benefits and glory.
“Comrade Jackson Mthembu almost always rose above factional politics, and never felt entitled to any leadership responsibility. He was a true servant of the people.”
[WATCH NOW]: Deputy President @FloydShivambu paying tribute to the late Minister, Jackson Mthembu.
The incorruptible, dedicated and principled political leader.
Lala Ngoxolo Mvelase. pic.twitter.com/G4wP6qQPEb
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) January 21, 2021