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OBIT | Clarence Mini: Committed to breaking down barriers and prejudice until the last day

2020-05-16 08:00
Dr Clarence Mini. (Supplied)

Dr Clarence Mini. (Supplied)

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In 2010, then former Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi appointed him chairperson of the CMS, a statutory body charged with safeguarding the R160bn medical schemes industry and the 8.9-million lives it covers, writes Grace Khoza.


Harnessing his love of medicine and passion for the health sector, Dr Clarence Mazwangwandile Mini – a father, husband, business leader and chairperson of the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), was deeply committed to breaking down barriers and prejudice and made sacrifices for freedom and democracy in South Africa. 

Dr Mini, who suddenly died at the age of 69 from Covid-19 complications, will be missed by his family and many friends from different political, medical and economical persuasions from all over the world and South Africa. 

 Born on 6 November 6 1951, throughout his life, he brought representatives of different economic and business beliefs together and was regarded as an active and valuable member of the medical fraternity. 

Always prepared to explain his beliefs, he would discuss his understanding of the role of the health sector in life, and was not afraid of expressing any trenchant views.  

A natural opponent of negative thinking, he emphasised the strengths in those around him. This positive philosophy produced a remarkable positivity in the organisations he served and made a notable mark on the medical sector and fraternity in South Africa and further afield.  

While in exile, he graduated in medicine from Sofia Medical Academy in Bulgaria in 1986. He went on to live and work in Swaziland, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Australia. 

He returned home in 1990 and proceeded to obtain a Diploma in Community Medicine from the University of Stellenbosch in 1993 and another diploma in Palliative Care Medicine at the University of Cape Town in 2002. 

He has worked at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital, Mdantsane in East London and was a Principal Medical Officer for the Port Elizabeth Municipality responsible for, Municipal Primary Healthcare Services that included Occupational Health, HIV/AIDS/TB and Sexually Transmitted Diseases prevention services and managing municipal healthcare staff. 

He was a National Director at Family Health International, where he was responsible for the AIDS Control and Prevention Programme and helped set up HIV/AIDS and TB Prevention programmes in all provinces around South Africa.   

He also acted as Corporate Affairs Director for Thebe Healthcare Administrators, where he was responsible for marketing medical scheme administration services and co-founded the HIV/AIDS Haven in Port Elizabeth.  

He was also the National Co-chairperson of the National AIDS Convention of South Africa which wrote the first National Aids Plan of South Africa, the chairperson of the Southern African Network of AIDS Service Organizations, as well as the President of the South African Medical Association in Gauteng and the former Chairperson of the Board of Healthcare Funders. 

He co-authored the National HIV/AIDS Program of South Africa and co-authored the National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan of South Africa.  

Before he died on Monday May 11th,  Dr Mini was chairperson of the African Health Placements Organisation – an organisation that places doctors and nurses in rural hospitals and other under-resourced areas of the country, a Board member of Institute of Human Evolution at Wits University, a Trustee at St Andrews for Girls High School in Johannesburg, a Member of the Social Transformation Committee of the African National Congress, a Board member of the Brien Holden Eye Institute, Chairman of the Moses Kotane Foundation and a Member of the Audit and Risk Committee of Thebe Medical Scheme. 

A kind, generous, warm and welcoming father, husband and community leader, Dr Mini was an avid reader and had a passion for the improvement of peoples’ health which was maintained throughout his fruitful life.  

In 2010, then former Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi appointed him chairperson of the CMS, a statutory body charged with safeguarding the R160bn medical schemes industry and the 8.9-million lives it covers.

His term was due to come to an end in September this year. 

He had a brilliant sense of humour, and enjoyed practical jokes. He was a loving father and a very decent man who always thought of others.  

He joins his other son, Vuyi, who died two years ago. He leaves his wife Nancy, son, Yandi, daughters Yolisa, Nandi and Nomhle and grandchildren, Lelo, Khumo and Luthandolwethu   

He will be sorely missed by his family, clan, extended family and all those whose lives he touched.  

- Grace Khoza is General Manager for Stakeholder Relations at the Council for Medical Schemes. 

Read more on:    clarence mini  |  obituary
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