Government hosted a virtual memorial service for the late Jackson Mthembu, who tragically died last week after succumbing in his battle against COVID-19. Various Ministers, including Deputy President David Mabuza, paid tribute to their fallen comrade, and continued to describe him as a man who stood for integrity and decency.
“This is not a passing of an individual, but a premature departure of a representative of a great generation,” said Mabuza.
Mabuza hails ‘symbol of struggle for freedom’
Mabuza said that Mthembu had committed his life to the pursuit of democracy, and said that his efforts will long be remembered and revered.
“His contribution to our freedom and democracy deserves to be cherished by generations,” he said. “He symbolises a generation of freedom fighters who came after June 1976.”
Mabuza made mention of the various personal adversity that had befallen Mthembu, who’s eldest daughter tragically took her own life in 2019.
“In the recent past, Minister Mthembu survived an armed robbery where he almost lost his life and he also overcame pain for the loss of his mother and traumatic loss of his eldest daughter.”
Defeating COVID-19 will honour Mthembu’s legacy
Despite these personal adversities, Mabuza said that Mthembu had “used his own experiences to inspire others”.
“He was full of empathy and compassion,” he said, adding that “ending this virus will be a befitting tribute to Minister Mthembu”.
“May the soul and the spirit of Minister Jackson Mphiwa Mthembu rest in eternal peace. The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic shakes the foundations on which we stand tall and reminds us that we’re mere mortals.”
“Minister Mthembu stood for the truth and nothing less. His loss is shared by many. It is not surprising that many stand undivided in commending the personal and professional attributes of Minister Mthembu.”
Jackson Mthembu family mourn loss
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said that “every area of our lives has been touched by this pandemic,” and paid tribute to Mthembu’s legacy of consolidating tension between opposing parties.
“He was firm, robust, yet he could yield to a voice of reason,” he said.
Teddy Gomba, a family member, said that the sudden loss has struck the Mthembu household to its core.
“If love alone could have saved you, never would you have died. In life we loved you and in death we still love you.”