IN QUOTES | Ramaphosa says Jackson Mthembu was a man of 'great courage' and a principled leader

25 January 2021 - 12:45
President Cyril Ramaphosa and the family of Jackson Mthembu arriving at the Roman Catholic Church in Ackerville, eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, for Mthembu's official funeral service.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and the family of Jackson Mthembu arriving at the Roman Catholic Church in Ackerville, eMalahleni in Mpumalanga, for Mthembu's official funeral service.
Image: SA Government/Twitter

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday described the late minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu as an honest and principled leader who was filled with wisdom. 

Ramaphosa paid homage to Mthembu during his funeral and called on ANC leaders to follow in his footsteps. Mthembu died on Thursday from complications related to Covid-19.

Scores of South Africans and members of the media, whom he regularly interacted with during press briefings, flooded social media with condolence messages. Many described Mthembu as “fatherly” and a “humble servant” of SA.

Here are six telling quotes from Ramaphosa's address: 

The presidency was well represented 

“During the pandemic, minister Jackson Mthembu carried our message of compassion and solidarity and unity across the nation. He was at the forefront of our national effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic. The very pandemic that has now claimed his life.”

Mthembu was respected across political party lines 

“We have lost a man who was able to transcend political differences and to reach out and forge alliances in pursuit of a common goal. He was a person who was admired and respected across political party lines. We need more men and women like him ... He was greatly respected and loved by his family, community, colleagues in the ANC and fellow members in parliament.”

I have lost a friend

“As for me, I have lost not just a dependable colleague and a comrade, I have lost a dear friend and it is a loss I feel most keenly. Minister Mthembu had many virtues that I have observed over the many years of our working together and friendship. He was generous in spirit and had a charming personality, as all those who interacted with him and met him would be able to testify.”

He had a great sense of humour

“He had an enduring ability to lift anybody's mood, including my mood and to fortify my resolve in even the most difficult situations. His sense of humour was often most irreverent. He laughed, and he laughed like someone who really loved life. He laughed about many things that he probably shouldn't have laughed about, just as he cared deeply about everything that he should.”

Mthembu was honest and stood up for what he believed in

“He was a principled person and a man of great courage in times of calm and difficulty. Above many other things, Jackson Mthembu was an honest man who never hesitated to speak up for what he believed to be right, no matter what the cost to him personally.” 

He was loyal to the people of SA

“He was faithful and loyal to both his organisation, his movement and to the people of our country. To his movement, the ANC, he worked so hard on a daily basis to advance its causes. He worked very hard as a minister in the government, he was also faithful to the constitution of our country which he pledged to defend and protect.” 


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