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OBITUARY: The Life of Minister Jackson Mthembu.


Article by: Dumisane Dube.

Jackson Mthembu (62) died of COVID-19 complications on Thursday . As Minister in the Presidency, Mthembu was the public face of its messaging in the fight against the pandemic in the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said Mthembu was a much-loved and greatly respected colleague and comrade, whose passing leaves the nation at a loss.


Jackson Mthebu was born in Witbank (Emalahleni) in 1958, Mpumalanga Province.

Mthembu was married to Thembi Mthembu, he had six children. One of them, Nokhwezi, died last year after committing suicide at their home in the parliamentary village of Pelican Park.

He was a student leader at Elukhanyisweni Secondary School in Witbank during the 1976 students’ Uprisings, after completing his high school; he went to University of Fort Hare.


He was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the Witbank branch of the ANC, after the unbanning of political parties in 1990.

Between 1990 – 1994 he worked fulltime as ANC spokesman in Mpumalanga and participated as ANC staff component at the CODESA negotiations.


He was the national spokesperson of the ANC under President Nelson Mandela from 1995 – 1997, appointed to the same role again from 2009 – 2014

After the first democratic elections in 1994, he was part of the first ANC Members of Parliament contingent deployed in the then Senate (now NCOP), where he contributed to the crafting of the democratic Constitution in the Constituent Assembly then under the leadership president Ramaphosa.

Mthembu served as MEC for Transport in Mpumalanga from 1997 to 1999.


Mthembu was elected to National Assembly of South Africa in 1999 where he served till his death in 2021.

He was later appointed as MEC in Mpumalanga Province for Public Works, Roads and Transport.

He served as the Chief Whip of the ANC in the National Assembly from 2016 up to the end of the 5th term of parliament in 2019. After the 2019 national and general elections he was appointed as the Minister in the Presidency.          

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