Messages of support pour in after Nomvula Mokonyane's husband dies
Messages of condolences are pouring in for the husband of environmental affairs minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Serge, who died early on Thursday in Johannesburg.
The presidency said that he had succumbed to an "extended illness".
Family spokesperson Mlimandlela Ndamase said they were in mourning and wanted privacy.
"The family will, in due course, communicate details pertaining to the funeral and any other memorial events and services," said Ndamase.
The ANC said in a statement that Serge had contributed "immensely to our struggle for liberation and the democratisation of SA".
"We shall forever remain grateful for his contribution as an activist of the United Democratic Front and the trade union movement during the dark days of apartheid."
The Congress of the People (Cope) said it was saddened. "It is also very easy for one to say to minister Mokonyane that we understand the pain she is going through, but no words can comfort or heal the pain of losing a loved one," the party said.
The pair met when Serge was a trade union organiser in Munsieville, a suburb close to Kagiso in Krugersdorp.
According to an extract in a 2003 issue of Drum magazine, they met at a June 16 rally.
They were married when Nomvula was two months' pregnant.
Drum said they were detained and Nomvula gave birth in prison but Serge only saw his first born when the child was 16 months old.
Serge surprised Nomvula when he called in to PowerFM two years ago while she was on air: "I admire your courage. You are very courageous and fearless. We take off our hats to you and we are very proud of you."
An emotional Nomvula thanked him for his kind words. "Thank you, my love."
She told the station that they met back in 1984.
"We were out protesting. The police were chasing after me and I fell on to some bottles and he lifted me up. Until today, he keeps on lifting me."
At the time they had three children and three grandchildren. "We love one another and he is a recipient of what I go through, because he knows who I am. I have never been on fed-up leave," she said on air.
"We come a long way. We have shared trenches and we have shared pain, but we are very intimate."
Serge was the founder of ZKM Consulting & Project Management.