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President Jacob Zuma expressed condolences on Saturday following the death of Public Service and Administration Minister Roy Padayachie.
“On behalf of myself, the cabinet, government and the people of South Africa, I would like to express our inner most sense of loss and despair at the passing of Minister Padayachie,” Zuma said in a statement.
“It is sadly a great measure of his dedication and personality that he was to meet his destiny and fate in pursuance of a better Africa and a better world, a goal he dedicated his entire life for it to be realised and achieved.”
Zuma said no words could express the loss that government and the people of South Africa felt at this loss.
Padayachie, 62, was found dead in his hotel room in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia by a colleague. He was attending a meeting of the African Peer Review Mechanism.
The African National Congress said Padayachie was a committed member of the party whose life was defined by his continued activism and his work amongst the poorest communities.
“Comrade Roy has a rich history in our struggle for liberation and it dates back to the Natal Indian Congress and the United Democratic Front,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
He said Padayachie impacted positively on many lives in KwaZulu-Natal where his constituency was based.
“Even in death he will remain the champion of the poor.
“While he has passed on, his work in the organisation and his selfless commitment to the struggle for total emancipation of our people and our collective commitment to improve the quality of life of all South Africans will remain with us,” said Mthembu.
The Democratic Alliance also responded saying it was shocked and saddened to hear of the Padayachie's death.
“Minister Padayachie was an able and hard-working member of Cabinet, who was always responsive and available to engage with the DA,” spokesman Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.
Maimane said Padayachie was effecting a steady turn-around at the department of public service and administration, which demonstrated his commitment to service delivery excellence.
“On behalf of the DA, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Minister Padayachie's family, especially his wife and children, as well as his friends and colleagues.
“He will be missed in Parliament, in Cabinet, and indeed by all who worked with him or under him in his long and distinguished career in service of South Africa,” Maimane said.
Padayachie had joined the public service and administration ministry in October last year. He was former minister of communication and before that deputy minister of public service and administration.
Radhakrishna Lutchmana “Roy” Padayachie was born on May 1, 1950 and joined the ANC in 1972.
He was a microbiologist at Reckitt and Colman from 1976 to 1979, he also worked as research chemist at Shell Chemical from 1979 to 1980, while working underground as an ANC operative.
He was a trustee of the Transitional National Development Trust serving on its audit and finance committees and its policy advisory group for the establishment of the National Development Agency.
He served as executive member of the Natal Indian Congress and executive committee member of the United Democratic Front in KwaZulu-Natal.
He was also a member of ANC KwaZulu-Natal negotiating team at Congress for a Democratic South Africa.
A business consultant, he strove to champion the small, medium and micro enterprises until he was appointed deputy minister of communications in April 2004 and deputy minister of public service and administration in 2010.
“We have lost a worker, an academic, a cadre and a soldier for a better South Africa, may his family be consoled by the work he has done for the country and its people,” said Zuma. -Sapa