President Jacob Zuma described his death as a monumental loss for the nation and the progressive movement as a whole.
“He was a dedicated, committed, energetic and highly capable servant of the people. He has served this country exceptionally well as a cadre of the ANC, as an MEC and at the time of his death, as the deputy minister of health,” Zuma said in a statement.
Zuma said Sefularo was a highly skilled and eloquent leader who provided sound leadership by assisting Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to steer a very busy department pivotal to the strategy of changing how government works.
“He was one of the sharpest medical minds in our country. We were still awaiting sterling work from him in the roll-out of the new HIV and Aids treatment and prevention plan that was announced in December last year,” Zuma said.
“Working together, the minister and deputy minister made a formidable team that ensured excellent performance by the department.”
“We are devastated by the news. Our hearts go out to the family during this period of shock, pain and disbelief,” Zuma said.
AIDS activist Zackie Achmat also wrote a tribute to Sefularo. Read it here
Western Cape Health Minister Theuns Botha, said Sefularo’s death was a great loss to this country.
‘It is no secret that I have an excellent relationship with the national ministry, and I have great respect for the exceptional experience and managerial skills that Dr Sefularo displayed. In particular now, in the final preparations for World Cup 2010, to which Dr Sefularo devoted his time in these last months, his death is a great loss. In my dealings with him he was always professional and committed to the health sector,’ said Botha.
Mike Waters, Democratic Alliance spokesperson on health said Sefularo was a hard, dedicated worker and a loss to the country.
‘Dr Sefularo was one of a new generation of leaders in the health portfolio who have reinstated science at the centre of the campaign to tackle HIV/Aids, and scuttled the remains of the Aids dissidents. To a large degree because of his work, South Africa now has a detailed, credible and practical plan for preventing and treating Aids infections,’ said Waters.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa said
‘Comrade Sefularo’s death should serve as a call to the African National Congress and government to implement the National Health Insurance Scheme in the interests of the working class and the poor. This is the befitting tribute that our movement can honour comrade Sefularo for his efforts and dedication in the transformation of the apartheid and racialised health-care system in our country post 1994 democratic breakthrough,’ said Castro Ngobese of NUMSA
North West Premier Maureen Modiselle described Sefularo as a ‘brother, colleague, friend and comrade with whom I worked together for many years during his time as Health MEC in the North West and as a cadre of the ANC’.
Gauteng MEC for Health Qedani Mahlangu said Sefularo was a hard worker and a cabinet minister dedicated to his work.
‘As minister in charge of making sure that health facilities are ready for the FIFA World Cup in the country, Sefularo worked tirelessly to ensure that the country meets its objective of hosting a successful soccer tournament.’
‘The minister’s death is not only a loss to his family, but that of the country as a whole. Indeed his passing will leave a void that will be difficult to fill,’ she said.
Fidel Hadebe spokesperson for the Health Department said Sefularo’s death was a great shock to his department.
‘The death of Deputy Minister Dr Molefi Sefularo is great loss to the department given the work he was doing. He was in charge of making sure that the health sector was ready for the FIFA World Cup, a job he handled diligently. He played a great role in the National Health Insurance plan. He was also at the fore front of numerous other campaigns such as the implementation of the New HIV treatment guidelines, the polio and measles vaccines. It is really a sad loss but as the department we have to pick up the pieces and carry on with the work,’ said Hadebe.
Asanda Fongqo, spokesperson for the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) said the Deputy Minister had died in the midst of the country’s struggle to meet the Millennium Development Goals in 2014.
‘His expertise in our health system will be solely missed. The untimely death of this struggle hero is a big loss, not only to the health sector but to the whole nation,’ said Fongqo.
Norman Mabasa, Chairman of the South African Medical Association described Sefularo as a humble well respected and approachable person who made a huge difference to the health care in South Africa in his quiet and respectful way.
‘Dr Sefularo had a deep understanding of the politics of healthcare and the needs of healthcare professionals. The numerous interactions he had with SAMA over the years showed his visionary leadership and enormous passion for accessible, good quality healthcare for all South Africans. South Africa has lost a brilliant leader. His death is a great loss to the medical profession and the country at large.”
‘He had a passion for overhauling healthcare in South Africa, and was a major driving force behind the National Health Insurance plan,’ said Mabasa.
Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele conveyed his condolences to Sefularo’s family. He said a team of accident investigation specialists would be assigned to the investigation.
‘As colleagues serving together in government, we worked very closely and Dr Sefularo will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during these difficult moments. The Department of Transport has dispatched a team of accident investigation and reconstruction specialists to assist the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the investigation of this crash,’ he said.
loveLife said his death came as a great shock.
Sefularo served as a Trustee on the board of The loveLife Trust from 2004 to 2008.
‘He was a man committed to the future of South Africa,’ said Dr David Harrison, former loveLife CEO.
‘Deputy Minister Molefi was incredibly dedicated to young people and placed great emphasis on combating hopelessness among young people leaving school early without prospects of employment. This was a struggle to which he devoted much of his energy, and part of this, he believed, was creating opportunities and a new identity for young people,’ said Harrison.
‘We’ll remember him for his commitment to HIV prevention for young people and to loveLife in particular. We are especially grateful for the role he played in providing guidance and leadership in governance’, said Grace Matlhape, CEO of loveLife.
Dr Karl le Roux, chairperson of the Rural Doctors Association (RUDASA)said Sefularo cared deeply about improving health care in South Africa and had a particular passion for rural health.
‘He emphasised this when he spoke at the launch of the WITS Centre for Rural Health and the Rural Health Advocacy Project last year. His death is a great loss for South Africa, particularly as we stand on the cusp of a major HIV testing campaign and grapple together about how to improve health care in rural areas and the poorest of the poor,’ said Le Roux.The Treatment Action Campaign remembered the constructive role Sefularo played in the drafting of the National Strategic Plan in 2007.
‘In the National Ministry of Health Dr Sefularo played a very important role post the denialist period on AIDS. He also represented a sense of continuity to the leadership of the National Department of Health at the time.
The nation will remember him as a good man and a leader who cared about the health of the poor people. We must all work to ensure that his vision for health is made a reality in the years ahead,’ the statement said.
Minister of Public Enterprises and former health minister, Barbara Hogan remembered Sefularo for his humility and hard work.
‘I have known him for a very long time and until May 2009, we worked together at the Department of Health. He was humble, principled, hard-working and committed. He really understood and appreciated the challenges facing our country’s health system and he worked tirelessly and selflessly to ensure that change was effected for the betterment of our people,’ she said.
Chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency Andile Lungisa said he hope the agency and the health department could develop a legacy project in honor of Sefularo.
‘He was a dedicated and energetic leader who was able to touch numerous lives during his lifetime. We are particularly pleased with the great strides that Dr Sefularo and Minister Aaron Motsoaledi have made in educating particularly young people about HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment. Young people can learn a lot from the way he dedicated his life to serving the country,’ said Lungisa
Sefularo leaves his wife Kgomotso and 4 children.