Business, government, political and public entities have paid tribute to former Eskom chair Jabu Mabuza, who has become the latest high-profile South African to die of Covid-19 complications.
President Cyril Ramaphosa described him as “a monumental figure on so many terrains of our national life”.
An entrepreneur and mentor to many, the Presidency has recognised Mabuza, 63, who died on Wednesday, for having built an outstanding career in business – from being a taxi driver to becoming chair of some of the country’s largest industrial groups and multinational companies.
Among many of his corporate roles, Mabuza was former chair of Sun International, chief executive of Tsogo Sun Holdings, Eskom, Telkom and SA Tourism.
A trailblazer, Mabuza has been credited for having made an immense contribution to township and rural economic participation during apartheid – through his roles in the Southern Africa Black Taxi Association and the Foundation for African Business and Consumer Services.
As leader of Business Leadership South Africa and Business Unity South Africa (Busa), he championed black economic participation and inclusive growth.
Said Ramaphosa: “[Mabuza] provided inspiration and leadership to many – from Daveyton, where he started his illustrious career as a taxi driver, to Davos – where he made his presence and values felt in global debates.
“We will miss the warmth of his personality, the forthrightness of his engagement on questions of national importance and the multiple precedents he set and led in the transformation of our economy.”
The business community said his passing was “a great loss”.
“Along the way, he became a powerhouse in the South African economy,” said Busa president Sipho Pityana.
SA Tourism Board chair Siyabonga Dube said they were saddened by the news of the passing of its former board chair.
Current Eskom board chair, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, said Mabuza was “an exemplary leader and an advocate for clean governance”.
The ANC said Mabuza was “an integral part of the SA business landscape for many years”.
“Mabuza has had a colourful history in the business world and has made a huge impact wherever he was involved.”