South Africa Loses a Key Political Figure and Activist to COVID-19
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed in an announcement on Thursday the passing of Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu at 62 — from complications related to COVID-19 which he contracted on January 11.
Mthembu was one of the government's key leaders in its response to the pandemic and the public face during many press briefings.
Jackson Mphikwa Mthembu was born on 5 June 1958 in Witbank, Mpumalanga.
After finishing his formal education, he became involved in the trade union sector in the 1980s. It was during this time that he was arrested and charged with sabotage, treason & terrorism between 1986 and 1988, and tried together with 30 other activists from Witbank.
An anti-apartheid activist who first became involved in politics in the 70s, Mthembu was the ANC party spokesman under President Nelson Mandela from 1995-1997 and again from 2009-2014.both in the 90s and early 2000s.
The president has extended his condolences to the minister's family and colleagues.
As of Wednesday 20 January, South Africa's Department of Health reported 1,369,426 cases of Covid-19 and 38,854 deaths.