Jackson Mthembu
BornJackson Mphikwa Mthembu
(1958-06-05)June 5, 1958
Witbank (Emalahleni)
DiedJanuary 21, 2021(2021-01-21) (aged 62)
Cause of deathCovid-19 related complications
ResidenceMbombela (Nelspruit)
NationalitySouth African
Political partyANC
Spouse(s)Thembi Mthembu

Jackson Mphikwa Mthembu was a South African politician and member of the ANC where he served as a National Executive Committee Member. At the time of his death, he was Minister in the Presidency.



Mthembu was born and bred in Witbank (Emalahleni) in 1958, Mpumalanga Province.[1]


Mthembu was married to Thembi Mthembu.[1] His first wife, Pinkie, and one of his daughters died before him.[2]


Mthembu survived by five children. His daughter Thuli Mthembu spoke at his funeral on behalf of her siblings.[3]


He did his secondary education at Elukhanyisweni Secondary School in Witbank where he was a student leader during the 1976 students’ Uprisings. Mthembu proceeded to the University of Fort Hare where he was expelled in 1980 because of his involvement in student activism.[1]

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United Democratic Front (UDF)

Mthembu was elected the Deputy Regional Secretary of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in the then PWV region (now Gauteng Province) under the leadership of the late Albertina Sisulu.

It was through his involvement with the South African Council of Churches (SACC) under the leadership of Rev. Frank Chikane that he joined the SWAPO solidarity campaign. The solidarity campaign was comprised of various civic groups including the religious community, business and taxi associations under the banner of the UDF.

During his time in the UDF, Mthembu was part of the leadership that supported SWAPO’s election campaign by providing, among others, minibus taxis to transport voters during the first democratic elections in what was then South West Africa (now Namibia). SWAPO won the elections which led to the liberation of the then South West Africa (Namibia) from apartheid South Africa.[1]

Mthembu also led both the local branches of the National Education Crisis and the Detainees Parents’ Support Committee (DPSC), all affiliates of the United Democratic Front (UDF).[1]


After the unbanning of political parties in 1990, Mthembu led the Witbank branch of the ANC.

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

He served in several strategic roles including as a member of the ANC Mpumalanga Provincial Executive Committee. Since 2007 Mthembu was part of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC).

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 South Africa's Constitution in the Constituent Assembly then under Cyril Ramaphosa. He was later appointed as MEC in Mpumalanga Province for Public Works, Roads and Transport serving under the successive Premierships of Matthew Phosa and Thabang Makwetla.

From 1995 to 1997 he was the national spokesperson of the ANC under Nelson Mandela. From 2009 to 2014 he was appointed in the same role.

Mthembu also chaired the ANC Caster Semenya Support Committee which included Winnie Mandela. The committee was tasked to give practical support to Caster Semenya against the inhumane treatment, abuse and discrimination she was subjected to by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).

The late Mthembu also 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.[1]


Jackson Mthembu died on 21 January 2021. In a statement released on Twitter, Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed Mathembu's death. He said Mathembu had passed away from COVID-19-related complications. Ramaphosa accorded Mthembu an Official Category One state funeral. Mthembu was laid to rest in Emalahleni.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Jackson Mthembu, Mr, South African Government, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: January 21, 2021
  2. Keith Gottschalk, Jackson Mthembu’s death unites friends and rivals in tribute, Money Web, Published: January 23, 2021, Retrieved: January 24, 2021
  3. eNCA, eNCA, Published: January 24, 2021, Retrieved: January 24, 2021