South Africa's former deputy defence minister dies of COVID-19

Former South African deputy defence minister and founder of the Congress of the People (COPE) party, Mluleki George has died of COVID-19 complications aged 72.

George served as the deputy defence minister between 2004 and 2008.

He left the ruling African National Congress party in 2008 and joined Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa to form COPE.

In a statement paying tribute to the politician, COPE credited the politician with contributing in South Africa's independence struggle.

"We can never forget the huge contribution that comrade George made in our struggle to free this country. What we enjoy today is because of the selfless sacrifices that comrade George made."

South Africa remains to be the hardest-hit African country by the COVID-19 pandemic, having reported 1,127,759 infections and 30,524 deaths. Both figures are more than double the numbers reported by the countries that have reported the second-highest caseload and fatalities.

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