Yesterday was a terribly sad day for us all to hear of the passing away of Minister Jackson Mthembu, Minister in the Presidency. IRMSA extends our heartfelt condolences to Minister Mthembu’s family, friends, colleagues and to all South Africans.
Not long ago, in November 2020, we were fortunate to meet Minister Mthembu at our IRMSA Awards at our offices in Sandton. The Minister accepted the IRMSA Risk Influencer Award, on behalf of the Presidency for the work of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic using risk management as a fundamental component of their decision making. That evening, I was so impressed by Minister Mthembu’s warmth, humility and keen interest in our institute and risk management. We felt so honoured to host the Minister, most particularly on a Friday night, after an extremely busy week and many months of little sleep and responsibility placed on him and those on the NCCC. As he left that evening, he turned to us and joked that he had never spent a Friday night speaking so much English but he had such an enjoyable time and looked forward to working with us again. After so many months of stress and anxiety, that we all experienced in 2020, I will never forget how that moment made us all laugh more than we had in many months – it was a breath of fresh air.
In his post awards interview Minister Mthembu said, “Our basic work is to serve South Africa. At no stage did we think that serving would result in rewards and awards”. For him, it was all about service to his country and the people of South Africa. He was a dedicated public servant that put his life on the line for the country he loved.
When we heard the news yesterday afternoon, of Minister Mthembu’s passing, the reality of Covid-19 hit me again, as we see people close to us being severely impacted. It is no longer just names and numbers that we hear of but people that we love, respect and revere that are being lost. After getting over the shock of the terrible news, I thought how we need to continue to honour those who have been lost to this pandemic and ensure we continue to do the work that so many of these people started. In the words of Minister Mthembu, “Until we have fought a good fight, until we have defeated this disease we have the need for the National Coronavirus Command Council.” It is so crucial that we therefore continue to honour Minister Mthembu’s legacy by serving our country and its people to ensure a bright future for us all. Click here to listen to this interview.
IRMSA and its members will continue to step up and work towards the common goal that we all have and that so many people, like Minister Mthembu have worked towards.
Lala ngoxolo Minister Mthembu.
Gillian le Cordeur
Chief Executive Officer
The Institute of Risk Management South Africa