Pretoria – Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula is mourning the passing on of his predecessor, Minister Makhenkesi Stofile, saying the country is poorer without him.
Stofile was serving as the Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare at the time of his death. He was also a former ambassador, Cabinet Minister and Eastern Cape Premier. He passed away on Monday.
“As the current Minister of Sport and Recreation, I am honoured and humbled to serve and walk in the footsteps of such a giant. South Africans can find solace in knowing that he will not be forgotten. His spirit lives among all freedom loving and dedicated servants of the South African people, who aspire to be like him,” said Minister Mbalula.
The Minister joined President Jacob Zuma in extending his condolences to the family and friends of Stofile.
“We are indeed poorer without him. As a freedom fighter, he was prepared to sacrifice his life fighting the injustices of apartheid. As a Reverend, he gave hope and inspired many to remain rooted in the belief of a spiritual power bigger than them and that they are stronger when united.
“As an administrator and policymaker, he laid a solid foundation for previously disadvantaged South Africans to be given opportunities to address the imbalances of the past,” said Minister Mbalula.
The Department of Sport and Recreation honoured and acknowledged Stofile with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Parliament also joined President Zuma and Minister Mbalula in conveying their condolences.
“Reverend Stofile made a major contribution to our struggle for freedom, a democratic and non-racial South Africa and helped to build our society. In 1994‚ he became a Member of Parliament as well as the first Chief Whip of the African National Congress in Parliament,” said Parliament in a statement.