NORTHERN Cape MEC for Education Mack Jack was laid to rest in his Eastern Cape hometown of Graaff-Reinet on Sunday.
Jack died in hospital after being diagnosed with the novel corona virus.
Delivering the eulogy at his funeral, Northern Cape Premier Saul said that the ANC and the Northern Cape provincial government were now poorer without Jack.
“Death has stolen from us our black jewel, our dynamic, jovial and glittering star. Our star faded. We are left heart-broken and completely distraught,” said Saul.
“He had warrior spirit and extraordinary energy. His commitment and diligence and service to our people will be sorely missed especially at this critical time where we are confronted by an enemy that is wreaking havoc in our communities.”
Saul said Jack’s contribution to improving the lives of the people of the Northern Cape will always be remembered.
“He did good on his promise to bring about positive change in the lives of our people and the responsibility and trust bestowed on him, he held with honour and truth,” said Saul.
Jack completed his High Schooling in Thubalethu High School in Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape in 1984.
His career in the education sector started when he was a teacher and later a principal from 1988 to 1997.
He then went on to become Chief Education Specialist at the Department of Education.
He joined a Local Teacher Organisation called GRAPTO (Graaaf-Reinet Professional Teacher Organisation) under NEUSA (National Education Union of SA) and was elected as Deputy Secretary at its inaugural meeting at the time.
He then served both as Local Secretary and Chairperson of the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and also led the Congress of South Africa Trade Union (COSATU) Local.
“In the short space of time that he has served the Education Department in the Province, Mac Jack has shown qualitative leadership. He was very passionate and focussed in improving the education system,” said SADTU in a statement.
In a statement, COSATU said Jack served as a distinctive trade unionist and did not disappoint workers when he was called to serve different structures of the ANC and ultimately in government.
“Comrade Jack possessed a great sense of humour and continued to work together with the trade union movement in an endeavour to harmonise workplaces and to ensure equitable stakeholder participation in socio-economic matters that concerns people of the Northern Cape,” said COSATU.
“The trade union movement will miss his vibrancy, selflessness, and profound vision of reinvigorating education but most of all, his passion for economic development in the province.”
Sihle Zikalala, Kwa-Zulu Natal Premier, took to twitter to bid farewell to Jack.
Free State Education MEC Tate Mekgoe also took to Twitter to bid farewell to his fellow MEC.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga also sent her condolences to the Jack family, saying he served with dedication throughout his term.
“Jack was a seasoned government leader and educationist,” said Motshekga.
“The passing of MEC Jack has robbed Basic Education Department of a seasoned educationist, policy expert and a leader who could build bridges between communities and the department.”
(COMPILED BY INSIDE EDUCATION STAFF)