Environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa dies

22 September 2018 - 13:21 By Zingisa Mvumvu and QAANITAH HUNTER
Environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa died at a Pretoria hospital after having been admitted on September 8 2018.
Environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa died at a Pretoria hospital after having been admitted on September 8 2018.
Image: David Harrison

Environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa has died.

Molewa was hospitalised on September 8‚ and tourism minister Derek Hanekom has been acting in her role since then.

While the presidency has not yet released a statement‚ senior government ministers are believed to have been notified.

Aged 61‚ Molewa was a member of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) as well as the ANC Women's League national working committee.

On 30 April 2004 she became the first female premier of the North West provincial government‚ a post she filled until 2009.

Molewa was also the first and remains the only female to ever become the provincial chairperson of the ANC and in 1994 she became the first female to be chairperson of the portfolio committee on trade and industry.

Before being appointed minister of water and environmental affairs in 2010‚ among other government accolades she served as MEC for social development.

At national government level‚ Molewa briefly served as minister of social development in 2009‚ but in 2010 became the minister of water and environmental affairs after a cabinet reshuffle‚ replacing Buyelwa Sonjica.

Four years ago the department was split and Molewa became minister of the new department of environmental affairs‚ a position she held until her death.

It was under her stewardship of the environmental affairs department that the historic Paris Agreement to combat climate change was signed at the United Nations in April 2016‚ a global feat that she was credited as playing a large part in.

For this‚ she was in July awarded one of France’s top honours‚ the Officier de ’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur (an Officer in the French Legion of Honour). The honour celebrates accomplishments of distinguished individuals‚ irrespective of where they are from.

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