Political leaders, organisations and unions yesterday reacted with shock to the death of Deputy Minister of Health Molefi Sefularo.
Sefularo died in a car crash on the N4 west of Pretoria.
President Jacob Zuma said Sefularo's death was "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".
Zuma said Sefularo provided sound leadership to the department by assisting minister Aaron Motsoaledi in steering a very busy department, which was pivotal to the government's strategy of changing how the government worked.
Motsoaledi said he was devastated. "He (has) left a big gap in the department and I don't know how we'll fill it. He was methodical and extremely organised."
Motsoaledi said Sefularo headed all health preparations for the World Cup.
South African Medical Association chairperson Norman Mabasa said: "To us it's a great loss not only to the profession but to the country. He had a long political life that would have contributed to the nation."
Sizwe Pamla of the National Education Health & Allied Workers Union said Sefularo was a dedicated and disciplined person. "We were looking forward to working with him in transforming the health sector and implementing NHI."
North West Premier Maureen Modiselle said Sefularo was "a brother, a colleague, a friend, a comrade, having worked together in the province for many years during his tenure as MEC for health in North West as well as serving on the provincial leadership structures of the ANC".
DA spokesperson on health Michael Waters said Sefularo's death was a shock. "He worked together so well with Motsoaledi and they had identified problems in our health system that needed to be addressed."
Cope spokesperson Phillip Dexter said: "The deputy minister was a considerate and conscientious person who will be sorely missed by all who worked with him.
"His role as an MP and an MEC placed him in a good position to contribute to the transformation of the health department."
The ANC said Sefularo was a distinguished and disciplined cadre.
"He served the ruling party with distinction in various capacities where he was deployed," the ANC said in a statement.