Former Gauteng MEC for transport and senior ANC member Khabisi Mosunkutu died on Monday evening.
His wife, Nonqaba Mosunkutu, told News24 that Mosunkutu, 68, passed away at his Johannesburg home around 20:00 on Monday night.
It is believed that he died from complications of a stroke that he suffered in July this year. He has since been receiving treatment but his condition had worsened.
Nonqaba said that since their house burnt down in 2016, Mosunkutu started struggling with his health.
"He could not take it. Last year he was admitted to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital," said Nonqaba.
She added that there were complications, but that his death still came as a shock as he was doing a lot better, after suffering a setback in November.
"Yesterday, he was not as bad as he was three weeks ago."
Loss taking its toll
Nonqaba expressed that the loss of her husband, a day before Christmas, has been taking its toll on the family.
"I am not that okay, because I'm so used to having him around us as a family."
She added that she was at home with Mosunkutu and his children when he passed away.
In a statement, the ANC in Gauteng said it sends its deepest condolences to the family of Mosunkutu.
Provincial spokesperson Tasneem Motara said that Mosunkutu finally succumbed to a call-up to "join a galaxy of gallant freedom fighters and stalwarts of our movement whose immense contribution to building a non-racial, non-sexist and equal South Africa will never be forgotten".
"As a trade unionist, he was one of the founding members of Cosatu and is the former general secretary and president of the Post and Telecommunications Workers' Union, where he played a key role in ensuring that workers were not only united but were at the forefront of dislodging the repressive apartheid regime," said Motara.
"It was Cde Mosunkutu's desire to see the dawn of a new South Africa where the laws of the land would apply equally to all and where black people would not be second class citizens in their own country that propelled him to play various roles in progressive structures aligned to the liberation movement."
He will be remembered
Motara said Mosunkutu will be remembered for his firm-handedness when dealing with the taxi violence while he was MEC for transport.
"It was his no-nonsense approach that saw him bringing stability into the troubled industry."
According to Motara, Mosunkutu was an active member of the Soweto Civic Association, the South African Civic Organisation, the United Democratic Front in the former Southern Transvaal as well as a member of the underground ANC and its military wing uMkhonto we Sizwe during apartheid.
Mosunkutu was also a member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature and also served as MEC in various portfolios of Community Safety, Transport and Agriculture, Conservation and Environment.
"His passing could not have come at a worse time. It comes at a period where many a family are gathered together to reflect on the year that has been and to send each other messages of goodwill. The timing has only served to deepen the pain we feel at this great loss."