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Ronnie Mamoepa’s death mourned

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Deputy President's spokesperson dies from complications following stroke

LATE: Spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa during his stint as Home Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa. Picture: Etienne Creux
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa died at the age of 56 late on Saturday night, his family and the presidency announced.
“It is with profound sadness that the Mamoepa family announces the death of their beloved son Ronnie Mamoepa, at the age of 56,” Mamoepa family spokesman Groovin Nchabeleng said.
“Ronnie passed on in the late evening at a hospital in Pretoria after battling complications arising from a stroke he suffered last month. He was receiving the highest medical care. 
“Ronnie Mamoepa is an icon of the country’s liberation struggle having served five years of his youth in incarceration at the infamous Robben Island prison in Cape Town,” he said. 
“At the attainment of liberation in 1994, Ronnie joined government and served his country with distinction as a communications practitioner. His extensive experience included African National Congress communications and various communications roles in government, notably the presidency, the department of foreign affairs, and the department of home affairs.
 “The Mamoepa family are asking the people of South Africa to join them in prayer as they come to terms with the untimely loss of Ronnie. The family expresses its sincere appreciation to the management and staff of Unitas Hospital who cared for Ronnie in the course of five weeks. “We are also grateful for all the tokens of support received from members of the family, friends, colleagues, and associates from Ronnie’s extensive network around the country and internationally. 
“The Mamoepa family also appreciates the close interest taken in Ronnie’s well-being by the management and staff of the presidency as well as the Minister and Deputy Minister of Health Drs Aaron Motsoaledi and Gwen Ramakgopa. Our thanks also go to various senior specialists who volunteered their services to care for Ronnie and comfort the family. Details of funeral arrangements will be released in due course,” Nchabeleng said.
Earlier, Ramaphosa and President Jacob Zuma both expressed sadness at Mamoepa’s death at about 11.15pm.
Ramaphosa and Zuma conveyed their sincere condolences to Mamoepa’s immediate and extended family, comrades, friends, and colleagues, the presidency said in a statement. Mamoepa, a former political prisoner and member of the Gauteng provincial legislature, was a highly regarded and accomplished public servant and veteran communicator who served the African National Congress and various departments in government with distinction, it said.
In his latest role, since 2014, Mamoepa served as spokesperson for Ramaphosa.
 “This is a great loss to me personally, to the presidency, and government at large,” Ramaphosa said.
 “However, our thoughts are firstly and foremost with Ronnie’s wife, Audrey, his children, and his siblings. I offer my sincere condolences to Ronnie’s relatives, friends, comrades, and colleagues who have suffered the loss of someone who was much loved and respected across our country and beyond. We shall miss him greatly.” 
Ramaphosa, who visited Mamoepa in hospital several times during his illness, expressed his appreciation to the management and staff of Unitas Hospital as well as other medical professionals who attended to Mamoepa for their sustained efforts to make Mamoepa comfortable during his extended illness. Details of memorial events would be made known as soon as they were finalised with the Mamoepa family. – African News Agency (ANA)