Government has announcement the untimely death of the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa. The Minister passed away at the age of 61 in a Pretoria Hospital on Saturday 22 September after a period of illness.
President Cyril Ramaphosa offered his condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Molewa.
“This is a devastating loss to our nation and to the global community who owe a great debt of gratitude to the late Minister Molewa for her championship nationally and globally for the environmental integrity of a sustainable planet Earth that can be shared and enjoyed by all nations and all people, rich and poor. Minister Molewa has distinguished herself in many capacities and causes from her contribution to our liberation to fighting for equality of women in our society. We shall miss her greatly’ Ramaphosa remarked.
The President has declared a period of mourning with immediate effect and ordered that the National Flag be flown at half-mast at all flag stations countrywide and at South African diplomatic missions abroad.
Molewa’s family has meanwhile proposed that the funeral, which will most probably be a state funeral, be held on 6 October. The family also revealed that she died from an extremely acute form of pneumonia, also known as Legionnaires’ disease. The minister’s brother, Fana Mmethi, who spoke on behalf of the family, said “Our sister passed away yesterday, 22 September 2018 following complications of Legionnaires’ disease. Knowing she had been ill has done little to lessen the blow. We are comforted in the knowledge that we are not alone in this, our darkest hour. South Africa had lost a great leader: an activist, a patriot and a revolutionary who has been called to her Maker, leaving us bereft” Mmethi stated.
According to several medical websites, the disease is usually caused by an infection and a bacterium known as legionella. It is not contagious but is usually contracted from inhaling bacteria. Although Legionnaires’ disease primarily affects the lungs, it occasionally can cause infections in wounds and in other parts of the body, including the heart.
Molewa became North West agriculture, conservation, and environment MEC after 1994 before being elected African National Congress provincial chairperson and premier from 2004 to 2009. She also served as social development minister before being appointed environmental affairs minister.