Presidency pays tribute to Mkhwanazi

A major champion for radical economic transformation has been lost, President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday, commenting on the death of businessman Don Mkhwanazi.

The Presidency, in a statement, said Zuma was shocked and saddened at the entrepreneur’s passing. Mkhwanazi reportedly died of a heart attack on Friday.

The Presidency said Mkhwanazi played a critical role in the pursuit of black economic empowerment and the “struggle for the deracialisation of the ownership and control of the South African economy”.

“Mr Mkhwanazi was a pioneer of black economic empowerment and a role model for many young black entrepreneurs. He served in various capacities advancing economic empowerment,” the Presidency said.

The ANC in a statement said Mkhwanazi’s death was a great blow to the party.

Mkhwanazi was a founder of the Black Management Forum and instrumental in driving the ANC’s agenda of economic transformation while being a supporter and mentor of many young black businessmen and women, Kodwa continued.

Mkhwanazi was a founder of the Black Management Forum and instrumental in driving the ANC’s agenda of economic transformation while being a supporter and mentor of many young black businessmen and women, Kodwa continued.

“He was an active and committed member, as well as to the black business fraternity in which he was a towering figure – playing a formative role in driving Black Economic Empowerment,” spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

“As an ANC activist with a passionate and unwavering commitment to the economic emancipation of black South Africans, he met with the ANC in exile in both Lusaka and London during the ’80s to gain greater understanding of the economic policies of the organisation, and how this would translate into tangible transformation when democracy arrived.”

According to the party, Mkhwanazi was in 1990 appointed the ANC’s senior economic advisor, where until 1994 he worked closely with the ANC on international business relations with former President Thabo Mbeki.

“As chairperson of the Apartheid Debt Coordinating Committee at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission [TRC] hearings he was foremost in exposing business’ contribution to apartheid.

“He went on to chair a number of corporations, BEE empowerment and business organisations and state entities, including the Central Energy Fund, and the National Empowerment Fund,” Kodwa said.

He was, also in the 1990s, part of a team established to promote trade ties between SA and the US.

“With the passing of comrade Don we have lost a pioneer and committed activist who will be remembered for paving the way for countless numbers of aspirant black businesspeople and radically transforming the heavily racialised business landscape in our new democracy,” Kodwa said.

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