Condolences for the late Free State Education MEC, Dr Tate Makgoe, this week, continued to stream in across the education sector. These include condolences from the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, Basic Education Deputy Minister, Dr Reginah Mhaule, various MECs, Umalusi, the South African Council for Educators (SACE) and teacher unions.
The sector was shocked and saddened after the untimely death of Dr Makgoe on Sunday, 5 March 2023 when the MEC and his protector, Warrant Officer Vuyo Mdi, were both killed in a car accident caused by stray cows whilst driving to Winburg. Dr Makgoe, who has been the MEC for Education since 2009, has been lauded for the success of the province in education which is attributed to his leadership and dedication to the sector, leading the province to retain the number one position for the National Senior Certificate (NSC) examination for four years in a row. His passing is a huge loss to the sector as a whole; it is a tragedy for his family, the province and the country.
A memorial service for the MEC took place at the Education District Offices in the Free State Province on 8 March 2023, at various venues throughout the province, as well as for the Free State Provincial Government on 9 March 2023, at the University of the Free State, South Campus. Dr Makgoe’s funeral service will take place on Sunday, 12 March 2023 at the University of the Free State, South Campus. Warrant Officer Mdi will be laid to rest on Saturday, 11 March 2023.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga described MEC Makgoe as a trailblazer of note. “I have no words to express my deepest shock at the news of the untimely passing of comrade Tate. When I was appointed Minister of Basic Education, he was also appointed MEC of education in the Free State and has been in the position ever since. The success of the province in education can be attributed mainly to his leadership, dedication, understanding of the sector and the innovation which has yielded great results. I am saddened by his passing.”
He obtained a Bachelor of Commerce honours degree from the University of the Free State, a Master's degree in business leadership from the University of South Africa, and then registered for a PhD in Leadership in Education with the University of the Free State. Between 1998 and 2001, Makgoe served as provincial treasurer and member of the executive committee of the ANC in the Free State. He later took on the role of chair of chairs in the Free State legislature, between 2001 and 2004. In subsequent years, he filled the role as the MEC for public safety, security and liaison, the MEC for finance before taking over the education portfolio in 2009. Makgoe made headlines this year after Free State clinched the number-one spot in the matric results for the fourth year in a row. The province obtained an 88.5% pass rate, an increase of 2.8% from 2021.