Tributes pour in after DA shadow comms minister succumbs to COVID

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Cameron Mackenzie, DA MP and shadow deputy communications minister, has passed away.
Cameron Mackenzie, DA MP and shadow deputy communications minister, has passed away.

Cameron Mackenzie, Democratic Alliance MP and member of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications, has passed away.

The DA announced Mackenzie’s passing in a statement yesterday, following “a severe battle with COVID-19”.

In the statement, DA chief whip and MP Natasha Mazzone says: “Cameron was a valued member of the party’s parliamentary caucus and a dear friend who will be missed sorely.

“South Africa has lost a great public servant who served his country diligently and with the utmost passion.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Cameron’s wife, Lisa, and their three children. We send them strength and love during this time of immeasurable loss.”

Mackenzie joined Parliament in 2014 as a member of the DA in the National Assembly. The official opposition named him as deputy minister of the telecommunications and postal services portfolio when it announced its shadow Cabinet in June 2014.

He served in the Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal services from 2014 to 2019 and the Portfolio Committee on Communications from 2019 to 2021.

Members of Parliament, colleagues and friends have shared their tributes.

National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise and chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Amos Masondo said they were shocked to learn of the “untimely passing” of Mackenzie.

"It is saddening that once again, we are losing one of our own to this vicious disease. In Mr Mackenzie, Parliament has lost a diligent, dedicated and passionate public representative who contributed immensely to the oversight and law-making programme of Parliament.

“He used his knowledge, skills and expertise to strengthen not only the committee's work but the Constitutional function of the national legislature.

“Parliament extends heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and his political home, the Democratic Alliance,” reads the statement.

Boyce Maneli, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications, also expressed condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mackenzie, as well as Dr Vanguard Mkhosana, advisor to the communications and digital technologies minister.

Says Maneli: “We are shocked and saddened to learn of the untimely passing of Dr Mkhosana and Mr Mackenzie.”

In doing his oversight work, Mackenzie always put the interests of the country ahead of political party affiliation, says the communications chairperson, adding that his passing is a blow to the communications portfolio and the country.

Former DA MP and colleague Phumzile Van Damme tweeted: “My friend is gone. ‘You survived a bullet dammit,’ we joked last week like we always do. We’ve been through so much together & with humour, love & support carried each other through the most tough times of our lives. I am numb & in disbelief. It cannot be. Why do the good ones go?”

Rabelani Dagada, professor at the University of Johannesburg, also shared a tribute on his Facebook page. “I’m totally shocked, saddened, angry and helpless to hear about the passing on of Cameron Mackenzie, MP. He was a good human being, great mentor, loyal friend and dedicated public official. He sent me a text last week telling me that we should meet for a catch-up coffee session once he recovers.

“In his memory, we should continue to serve people, fight against poverty and advocate for good governance. Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”

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