South Africa: Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane On Passing of Deputy Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize

press release

Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane wishes to expresses her shock and deep sadness on the passing of Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Professor Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize.

Professor Mkhize passed away on 16 September 2021 after a short illness.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said she learnt with shock and sadness of the passing of Professor Mkhize. She described her as a reliable colleague and comrade.

"The passing of Deputy Minister Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize came as a big shock to me.

I have not just lost a dependable colleague in the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities but also a comrade of both the African National Congress (ANC) as well as the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL). Most importantly, I have lost a dear friend and it is a loss I feel most keenly," said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.

"I am particularly saddened by her passing as I always relied on Professor Mkhize's support, guidance and sisterhood in the work of this important portfolio of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities. I have lost a sister, a comrade, and a dear colleague at a crucial time where her insights and knowledge was much needed."

The Minister went on to say that ever since Professor Mkhize joined her at the Department, Mkhize dedicated her time and energy to advocating for the rights and interests of the most vulnerable of our people, in particular, persons with disabilities. "She spared no effort in ensuring that the concerns and interests of this sector are frontloaded in our work while also adding value to other work such as issues of women and youth."

The Minister spoke of Professor Mkhize as one of the most devoted and grounded people who served the country with an unwavering spirit. "For many years, she served tirelessly for the liberation and service of our people, especially the most vulnerable sectors of our society. She will be remembered for her vast contribution and she rightly deserves her place in our history books."

"We served together in the United Democratic Force (UDF), structures of the ANC including NEC, and she also passed on the baton to me as Treasurer General of the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL), and we also worked together in the Progressive Women's Alliance, and we both served our country in diplomatic capacity as Ambassadors."

Yesterday on 16 September 2021, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane led a delegation to the home of the Mkhize family to pay respects to the family. Minister expressed the sadness of the nation, and indicated that the country and the world has lost a great leader. The Minister spoke of Professor Mkhize as an intellectual of note and a critical thinker who contributed immensely to the work of Government and other sectors of our society.

"Her sharp and eloquent contributions to our department, the movement and broader society will be dearly missed."

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