Trade and industry minister says nation and black business have been robbed by his untimely death.
The South African business world on Saturday mourned the death of prominent KwaZulu-Natal businessman and “father” of black economic empowerment (BEE) Don Mkhwanazi, who died of a heart attack in Durban on Friday night.
The 63-year-old Mkhwanazi was a politically connected businessman and an ally of President Jacob Zuma. At the time of his death Mkhwanazi was the chairman of Southern African Shipyards.
Mkhwanazi was a founder of the Black Management Forum in the 1980s and the first person of prominence to promote BEE. He was a member of the first Presidential BEE Advisory Council appointed by Zuma in 2009. The council played a critical role in the amendment of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Act and codes of good practice.
The African National Congress said it was saddened by Mkhwanazi’s death.
“The ANC is saddened to learn of the passing of prominent businessman and longstanding ANC member and supporter, comrade Don Mkhwanazi,” ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.
“His passing deals a great blow to the ANC of which he was an active and committed member, as well as the black business fraternity in which he was a towering figure – playing a formative role in driving BEE,” Kodwa said.
According to a family spokesman‚ Mkhwanazi died of a heart attack at a friend’s home in Umhlanga where he had attended a party.
Earlier this year, Mkhwanazi offered to help Zuma repay his Nkandla debt.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said Mkhwanazi would forever be remembered for his commitment and selfless work towards creating an inclusive and transformed economy. The nation and business community, particularly black business, had been robbed by his untimely death.
“Mkhwanazi was known as a fearless champion of B-BBEE, transformation, and economic development. He was indeed a true entrepreneur and an inspiration to many,” Davies said.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said: “It is sad to note the passing of Don Mkhwanazi. Heartfelt condolences to family, friends, Black Management Forum, and colleagues.”