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South African Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, has reportedly died from COVID-19 complications. The 62-year-old minister died this past Thursday after revealing last week that he had contracted the coronavirus. Tributes have been pouring in from colleagues, opposition parties, media personalities and South Africans in general. President Cyril Ramaphosa shared the news of Mthembu’s sudden passing on social media.


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Mthembu reportedly visited a military hospital in Pretoria after experiencing abdominal pains that needed medical attention. According to IOL, he was tested for COVID-19 and the results came back positive. He died only after ten days of battling the virus.

His death has, contrary to the nature of politics, united the voices of opposition parties in the outpouring of endearing condolences. According to BusinessDay, John Steenhuisen, leader of the opposition party Democratic Alliance (DA), stated that while they were enemies, they were also friends during the time they both served as chief whips of their respective political parties.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) stated that Mthembu’s death was the the “loss of a powerful force who discharged his responsibilities with passion”. The EFF went on to commend Mthembu for his unwavering stance on land expropriation, this according to the SABC. The Freedom Front (FF), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and Congress of the People (COPE) all commended Mthembu’s character.

Tributes have also been coming in waves from ANC members. National Chair of Provinces, Thandi Modise, said that they had lost a fierce vocal freedom party. Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, reportedly saluted Mthembu for his immense contributions to the party.

South Africa is currently on an adjusted level three lockdown levels, all beaches remain closed and the sale of alcohol has been halted. The government has, however, announced for a COVID-19 vaccine rollout to commence in February 2021.

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