- Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga said Free State MEC Tate Makgoe's contribution to the education sector was immense.
- Makgoe and his bodyguard died in a car crash on Sunday morning.
- Makgoe made headlines this year after Free State clinched the number-one spot in the matric results for the fourth year in a row.
Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga has described the late Free State MEC Tate Makgoe as "simply the best".
Motshekga shared fond memories of Makgoe, who died in a car crash on Sunday morning. Motshekga was flanked by education MECs from three provinces - Mavhungu Lerule-Ramakhanya from Limpopo, Zolile Monakali from the Northern Cape and Mbali Frazer from KwaZulu-Natal - during a visit to the Makgoe family in Bloemfontein.
Free State Premier Mxolisi Dukwana accompanied the minister and her delegation to the family house. A briefing was held at the premier's office afterwards. Makgoe was appointed the Free State MEC for education in 2009 when Motshekga was appointed minister.
"Tate was leading in many respects. The many innovations that we made were because we had the advantage of identifying the issues and knowing what we should focus on. His contribution was immense," she said.
Makgoe made headlines this year after Free State clinched the number-one spot in the matric results for the fourth year in a row. The province obtained an 88.5% pass rate, an increase of 2.8% from 2021. A visibly emotional Motshekga lauded Makgoe's achievements.
"He did a Tina Turner of just Simply the Best, and I'm happy that I saw him so happy. He was very humble, and I told him he is focused and hard-working, and he really put his best foot forward," she said.
READ | 'A day of hope, restoration': Dukwana elected Free State premier 11 years after Magashule fired him
Makgoe, 59, and his bodyguard, Warrant Officer Vuyo Mdi, died in a car crash on the N1, outside Winburg, in the early hours of Sunday morning. Their driver Pule Nkopane survived and was rushed to Winburg Hospital, Sello Dithebe, Dukwana's spokesperson said on Sunday.
Between 1998 and 2001, Makgoe served as provincial treasurer and member of the executive committee of the ANC in the Free State. He later took on the role of chair of chairs in the Free State legislature between 2001 and 2004.
In subsequent years, he filled the role of the MEC for public safety, security and liaison and the MEC for finance before taking over the education portfolio in 2009.
Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele expressed his shock and sadness and described Makgoe as a visionary.
"Makgoe firmly believed in raising the bar higher and believed that every child has the potential to achieve anything. Part of the focus of his strategy to improve the education sector in the Free State was on rural and township-based schools and, under his leadership, the department adopted chartered accountants, economists and engineers to assist township and rural schools," Gungubele said.