Former ANC treasurer- general Mendi Msimang has died.
Msimang was treasurer of the ANC under the leadership of former president Thabo Mbeki.
He served as the ANC’s representative in London during apartheid in the 1960s, and served as the South African high commissioner to the United Kingdom between 1995 and 1998.
Msimang was married to former health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang who died in 2009.
It was during his tenure as treasurer-general that the controversial arms deal was negotiated.
Gauteng premier David Makhura told the SABC on Monday that the ANC received the news with great sadness. “We knew that he had been unwell for quite some time”. The details around his death are currently unclear.
Msimang has been remembered for his contribution to the liberation struggle with general secretary of the South African Federation of Trade Unions Zwelinzima Vavi remembering him as a “down to earth and gentle giant of the liberation struggle.”
I learnt with a deep sense of sadness the news of the passing away of the ANC stalwart, ntate #MendiMsimang. Everyone who knew him only had % the highest respect for this unassuming, down to earth and gentle giant of the liberation struggle. Rest in power #MendiMsimang
— Zwelinzima Vavi (@Zwelinzima1) December 3, 2018
Msimang, Makhura said, was “one of those very special generation of South Africans who dedicated his entire life to the struggle for liberation of our country. He worked all over the world to make sure that freedom is realised in his lifetime. Uncle Mendi was an exceptional leader of the ANC.”
“He represented the people of South Africa during the dark days of apartheid. He made sure that the voice of the people of our country and their yearning for freedom is never dulled in the various capitals of the world.”
Makhura has called on South Africans to follow in Msimang’s footsteps and to keep working towards freedom.
“We thank him for his contribution. He answered the call to go out and fight. When we look at the new call, Thuma Mina, we know that we should go out and fight and be inspired by Uncle Mendi. He never stopped working.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa has also expressed his condolences, describing Msimang as “strong of character and principle”.
“Today we bow our heads and hearts in remembrance of our beloved Tat’ uMendi Msimang in whom South Africa has lost a servant-leader and patriot of great distinction.
“With his passing, he joins a gallery of extraordinary South Africans who have bid us farewell in recent months and years and whose passing should inspire all of us to appreciate are our history more, and to honour their legacy with unstinting work for a better future,” Ramaphosa said.