President Jacob Zuma has extended deep-felt condolences to the Stofile family on the passing on of the Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare and former Minister of Sports and Recreation, Reverend Arnold Makhenkesi Stofile.
He has died at his home in Alice in the Eastern Cape at the age of 72.
Reverend Stofile, a distinguished veteran of the liberation struggle, became the first Chief Whip of the ANC in Parliament in 1994 and later served as the Premier of the Eastern Cape Province and later Minister of Sport and Recreation in the third democratic administration.
He also recently served as Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany.
Meanwhile, a government delegation including Premier Phumulo Masualle is visiting the family of struggle stalwart Stofile family in Alice to offer their condolences.
The SABC’s Eastern Cape Regional News editor Diedre Uren says Stofile has been unwell for some time.
“We in the Eastern Cape have known for a few weeks that he has not been well. We know that he was receiving care treatment in Cape Town for an undisclosed illness. Late yesterday afternoon we got some comment that he wanted to come back to the EC to Alice and things did not look good. There was a lot of speculation on Sunday afternoon when he apparently was brought back to his traditional home. So there was speculation that things did not look good.”
Stofile graduated with a B.A and Masters degrees in Theology from the University Of Fort Hare in 1979 where he later lectured.
In February this year, Stofile was appointed Chancellor of his alma mater – the Fort Hare University.
Stofile was also ambassador to Germany in the early 2010’s.
He was an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church. In the 1960’s, he was jailed for three years by the then Ciskei homeland government for harbouring activists.
In 2000, he was awarded PhD by the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE), now known as the Nelson Mandela University.
As African National Congress (ANC) national executive member, Stofile was appointed treasurer-general from 1995 until 1997
when he succeeded Raymond Mhlaba as 2nd premier of the Eastern Cape until 2004.
He held other senior positions including that of sports minister and ANC chief whip in Parliament.