Former telecoms, postal services deputy minister passes on

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Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize.
Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize.

Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, former telecoms and postal services minister, has died, the Presidency says in a statement.

Mkhize passed away today, at the age of 69.

At the time of her passing, Mkhize was deputy minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, following her appointment to the post in May 2019.

Prior to joining the Presidency, she served as deputy minister of correctional services, deputy minister of economic development, minister of home affairs and higher education and training.

She also served as chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications in Parliament and was a former ambassador to the Netherlands.

In a statement, president Cyril Ramaphosa says he is deeply saddened by the passing of Mkhize, extending his condolences to her family, friends, colleagues, comrades and associates across the country and internationally.

The president further describes Mkhize’s passing as a national loss. “Prof Mkhize’s legacy is indelible across so many dimensions and sectors of our national life. She distinguished herself as a tireless and passionate anti-apartheid and human rights activist, and campaigner for an end to gender inequality.

“She availed herself for service at the international level, including her representation of Transparency International South Africa in global institutions. Prof Mkhize played a crucial role in conflict resolution during our transition to democracy.

“We owe Prof Mkhize our gratitude and deep respect for the commitment she displayed as a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, chairperson of the Reparations and Rehabilitation Committee, and trustee of the National Peace Accord Trust.

“She set a profound example for all of us by immersing herself in building a better South Africa while pursuing a multi-faceted path as an academic, from the universities of Zululand, Natal and South Africa, to Mississippi and Illinois in the United States.

“She applied her extraordinary personal achievements to the upliftment of traumatised children, to asserting the equality of oppressed women, to upholding the human rights of victimised and persecuted people around the world, and ensuring the doors of learning would open wide to new generations of South Africans.

“She played her part unselfishly and with great love for humanity. Our task is to keep her legacy intact and build on it. May her soul rest in peace.”

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