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COVID-19 claims senior S/African cabinet minister

South Africa's Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu died on Thursday of coronavirus-related complications, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.Ramaphosa said in…

South Africa’s Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu died on Thursday of coronavirus-related complications, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.Ramaphosa said in a statement that the minister succumbed to COVID-19 on Thursday morning. He was 62.

“It is with deep sorrow and shock that we announce that Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu passed away earlier today from COVID-related complications,” Ramaphosa said.

He described Mthembu as an “exemplary leader, an activist and lifelong champion of freedom and democracy.”

“He was a much-loved and greatly respected colleague and comrade whose passing leaves our nation at a loss,” Ramaphosa said.

The late minister was an integral part of the government’s team spearheading the fight against COVID-19 in South Africa.

He was responsible for communicating government’s messages in the fight against the pandemic.

His death comes as South Africa is battling a surge in COVID-19 infections, with more than 1.38 million cumulative cases and over 39,500 deaths as of Friday morning.

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