Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa has died, the ANC confirmed on Saturday.
She was 61 years old.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said Molewa’s death has left the party and country “poorer given her role in advancing the country’s transformation agenda”.
“She has been and will always remain a symbol of rare social and political activist who rose in the ranks of the democratic since her involvement in the trade unions before joining the North West provincial government as MEC in various departments before being a premier of the province,” he said in a statement.
“Her role was noticeable and she was affirmed as a leader of the ANC NEC, NWC and a Cabinet minister in various departments. Our history as a country will not be complete without acknowledging the pivotal role that individuals like her played in enhancing the impact of the collective effort to make South Africa a better place.”
Before being appointed to her current post in 2010, Molewa was the minister of social development and the first female premier of the North West.
A member of the ANC’s national executive committee, Molewa became involved in the struggle in the 1970s and previously served as the deputy president of the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union (SACCAWU).