Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has died of Covid-related complications, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced today. Mthembu died earlier this morning, aged 62.
“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,” the president said on Twitter.
“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,” he added.
The minister tested positive for Covid-19 on January 11 after showing some symptoms.
Mthembu has been at the forefront of the government’s fight against the coronavirus, which is wreaking havoc in the country. He was responsible for communicating government’s messages in the fight against the pandemic.
As of Wednesday night, 38,854 people had died across SA of Covid-19 related complications, while nearly 1.37 million had been confirmed as infected since the virus outbreak in the country in March last year.
Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said at the time that he “remains in high spirits and wishes all those who are also fighting the coronavirus a speedy recovery”. Mthembu was the fourth cabinet member to be confirmed as infected with the coronavirus.