Tuesday, 05 January 2021

Pretoria: Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has paid tribute to the late National Teachers’ Union (NATU) President, Allen Thompson, who succumbed to COVID-19 related complications on Monday.

In a statement, Motshekga described Thompson as more than just a president of a teacher union.

Expressing shock and sadness, the Minister conveyed her condolences to Thompson’s family, friends and colleagues. Thompson, Motshekga said, had impacted many people through the work he was doing.

“Mr Thompson was a fearless leader, who made a huge contribution to the sector.

“In October, I shared a stage with him in Newcastle at a NATU ceremony. That event will remain forever etched in my mind.

“Thompson gave of his time, talent and soul. I shared a lot of ideas with him on different matters, with the matric rewrite being the latest matter.

“In Thompson, we had a scholar and a patriot,” said the Minister.

She said the sector will miss him dearly as a leader who truly put the interests of learners and teachers first when engaging on matters affecting basic education.

Basic Education Deputy Minister, Dr Reginah Mhaule, said Thompson’s passing is a great loss, especially because he was young.

“I believe he had a long life ahead of him. He still had a lot to contribute.”

Mhaule has, on behalf of the department and the sector, conveyed her sincere and heartfelt condolences to Thompson’s family, friends, the leadership and colleagues of NATU, and other structures in which he served.

Mhaule has urged South Africans to continue to strictly adhere to the health and safety protocols in order to prevent and manage the spread of COVID-19, especially in social settings such as funerals, and to avoid mass gatherings.

She reminded everybody to always wear a mask, sanitise, wash hands and observe social distancing at all times.

“Compliance is the cheapest way to stay safe. So please play your part and save your life and those around you.” she said.