‘I grew up in front of Jackson Mthembu’

'I grew in front of Jackson Mthembu'
MOURNING: Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane has joined millions in the outpouring of grief over the passing of minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu. PICTURE BY Twitter

The late Mthembu represented “ethical and principled leadership”, the province’s first citizen has said.

Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane has revealed the late ANC NEC member Jackson Mthembu was her neighbour in Witbank and she grew up in front him, before they served in Numsa while working at Highveld Steel and Vanadium Corporation.

The Highveld Steel iron plant closed in 2016 having been in operation for over 50 years in the Witbank area.

Tsipane said she remembers working with Mthembu at Highveld Steel where they served in the national union of metal workers of SA (Numsa) – representing workers.

Mthembu died on 21 January 2021 due to a Covid-related illness.

He was born in Witbank on 5 June 1958. Tsipane was also born in Witbank in 1973.

She said for many years Mthembu had been her neighbour in the Witbank township of Ackerville.

Tsipane sent her condolences to the Mthembu family and said his death is really saddening.

She said Mthembu was someone who “led not only with words but with actions”. 

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“Our province has lost a true son of the soil,” the Premier said.

Mthembu’s death was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa Thursday afternoon 21 January.

Mthembu wrote on Twitter last week 11 January 2021 about how he was feeling pains in his abdomen and how he decided to go to the 1Military Hospital in Pretoria where he tested positive for Covid-19.

Few minutes later Mthembu twitted again, thanking those who had wished him a speedy recovery.

Tsipane said Mthembu’s leaves a huge void in the political space.

“His passing leaves us with a deeper commitment to serve our people tirelessly. His is a legacy we all endeavour to replicate and honour. May his soul rest in peace,” she said.

(edited by MLM)

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