President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his condolences to the family of former Minister and Member of Parliament, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, following her death.
Joemat-Pettersson was Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Police in the National Assembly at the time of her death at the age of 59 on Monday.
“We will miss the passion and vigour with which Tina Joemat-Pettersson fought for a better South Africa from the rural villages of the Northern Cape to the benches of Parliament and international platforms. May her soul rest in peace,” President Ramaphosa said.
Joemat-Pettersson was a native of Kimberley in the Northern Cape and served as the province’s first MEC for the Department of Education and simultaneously the MEC for Arts and Culture in post-Apartheid South Africa.
She held the position of MEC for Education for at least 10 years until 2004, when she served for five years as MEC of Agriculture and Land Reform in the province.
In 2009, Joemat-Petterson was then appointed to the portfolio of Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries – a position she held for five years and then succeeded Ben Martins as Minister of Energy from 2014 until a cabinet reshuffle in 2017.
“We have lost a remarkable leader who dedicated herself to improving the quality of life in her home province of the Northern Cape in the early years of our democracy before assuming national responsibilities in key portfolios,” President Ramaphosa said.
After leaving the executive arm of government, Joemat-Petterson returned to the legislative arm in 2019 as a Member of the National Assembly (NA) and at the time of her death, was serving as Chairperson of the Police portfolio committee in the NA.
She has also served on the Ad hoc Committee on Flood Disaster Relief and Recovery and the action 194 Ad hoc Committee.
“Ms Joemat-Pettersson’s passing has left us reeling with shock. She will be remembered as an astute politician who used her skills, talents, and knowledge to advance legislative work to change the lives of ordinary South Africans. She exuded great energy, passion, and goodwill, and was not afraid to speak her mind. May her soul rest in peace,” Parliament’s presiding officers said in a statement.
The African National Congress (ANC), which deployed Joemat-Petterson to serve in government, hailed her contribution to the democratic government and the preceding struggle against Apartheid.
“Death has robbed our movement and the people of South Africa of a humble, dependable and dedicated servant. The ANC pays tribute to this extraordinary freedom fighter whose sacrifices and commitment to the liberation of her people remain a source of inspiration to many young cadres of our movement.
“All those who love justice, freedom and democracy will sorely miss her intellectual sharpness, political maturity and passion for defending those who are vulnerable in our society, especially women.
“[She] has a rich history of struggle and service to the people of South Africa. She was a leader who had a calling to serve the people of South Africa and who chose to surrender her own life to the service of the people. Her life was a living example that revolutionary leaders are not born but emerge from experience. They are shaped and nurtured by the daily struggles of the people and the values of the freedom struggle,” the ANC said. – SAnews.gov.za