'Thank you South Africa,' Jeff Radebe bids farewell as longest serving minister post '94

Jeff Radebe with his wife Bridgette Radebe back 2001
Jeff Radebe with his wife Bridgette Radebe back 2001
Image: Raymond Preston

Jeff Radebe, the country's longest serving minister in the democratic dispensation, has thanked the country for allowing him to serve for 25 years.

Radebe headed numerous portfolios like public works, public enterprises, transport, health, justice and constitutional development, energy, as well as the presidency under former presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma.

Jeff Radebe at a recent media briefing
Jeff Radebe at a recent media briefing
Image: Trevor Samson

He bows out after President Cyril Ramaphosa did not appoint him to serve in the cabinet of the sixth administration.

The 65-year-old, however, did not disclose what he was going to do with his life.

"Thank you for allowing me the pleasure of diligently serving you for the past 25 years, it has been my honour and privilege to do my part for our nation," said Radebe in a media statement.

"As the longest serving minster in post-apartheid South Africa, having first served under Nelson Mandela, I am aware of the confidence and trust that was bestowed upon me as I served the people of this country.

"Since 1994 I have worked alongside every post-apartheid president and fulfilled my duty as a minister in key portfolios… Over the years, I have had incredible experiences and adventures, built up extraordinary collaborations which have turned into lifelong friendships, for which I am so thankful. In everything that I have done, I have tried to serve our country honourably, ethically, humbly, and more importantly, justly," he said.

Radebe said he had full confidence the newly inaugurated administration will guide the country to "a more prosperous future where everyone, despite their ethnicity, culture or creed, will have equal opportunities".

"There's no doubt that our country has had its fair share of challenges, however, when we, the people of this great nation, come together, we come out stronger as a united front and a unified country.

"It's my hope that as a servant to this great nation, that my love for SA and her people was evident in all that I have accomplished.

"As I pass on the mantle to my colleagues, I have no doubt that they will continue to serve and to carry the torch of democracy proudly, honourably and diligently to the benefit of our country and the continent as a whole," he said.

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