Obituary – Thamsanqa Sokutu: Praised for his work – and for being ‘only human’

2015-02-01 15:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Thamsanqa Sokutu has been hailed as a man who contributed enormously to the rise of black business in democratic South Africa.

Sokutu (51) died on Thursday night, though details were thin at the time of going to press.

Business journalist and presenter of the Money Show on 702 and Cape Talk 567 Bruce Whitfield broke the news on Twitter on Friday night: “I am told former African Bank director, ex Public Works DG Tami Sokutu died at home last night. Appears to have died in sleep.”

Newspaper readers may remember Sokutu as the man who, in the wake of African Bank’s crash, famously told the Sunday Times: “F**k the poor.”

The unsecured lender collapsed late last year and Sokutu was among those blamed for its free fall.

But his close friend, Sandile Zungu, the vice-president of the Black Business Council, said Sokutu should be remembered for his “vast positive contribution to the business community” and not just his “mistakes”.

Zungu said he’d learnt of Sokutu’s death “from natural causes” with “absolute shock”.

He planned to meet the Sokutu family last night to offer both his and the black business community’s condolences.

“We do feel the family’s pain. Their loss is also our loss,” said Zungu.

“From what I know, the family has been devastated, but I cannot speak on their behalf – I can only imagine what they are going through, having lost the head of the family.”

The two men met as students at the University of Cape Town in the mid-1980s.

“As a young man, he was an introvert, but what was striking about him was his love for his people,” Zungu said.

“This is proved by his decision to join the public service in this country’s first democratic administration.”

He said Sokutu loved his people dearly and had played a pivotal role in ensuring the black business community was both organised and professional.

“He made a positive contribution to public life. He will be remembered for all the good things he did and, of course, his mistakes – because he was only human,” he said.

Black Business Council secretary-general Xolani Qubeka said the council was saddened and shocked by Sokutu’s passing.

“While he was not a member of the council, he was one of the leading black people in business and we consulted him from time to time,” said Qubeka.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.