Tributes are pouring in for ANC veteran and former deputy minister for home affairs, Aziz Pahad, who died at his home in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Addressing a post-cabinet media briefing, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said: “Cabinet expresses its condolences to the family and friends of Aziz Goolam Hoosein Pahad, a former anti-apartheid activist and the fist foreign affairs deputy minister from 1994 to 2008.”
Parliamentary presiding officers said it was with great sadness and deep sorrow that they joined the nation in mourning the passing of Pahad, 82.
National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo described Pahad as “an extraordinary revolutionary who gave his all to the fight against apartheid and dedicated his life to the establishment of a democratic society in South Africa”.
Mapisa-Nqakula and Masondo said Pahad, who was born in 1940, stood unwavering, demonstrating fearless determination to challenge the oppressive apartheid system.
Pahad's journey as a diplomat and strategist showcased his brilliance and shrewdness.
“His tenure as MP and deputy minister for international relations from 1994 to 2008 attested to his exceptional diplomatic acumen, through which he skilfully navigated the complex waters of international relations, amplifying the voices of those oppressed by apartheid on the global stage.
“As Parliament hosts the BRICS Parliamentary Forum, we are grateful to Mr. Pahad and many diplomats who worked very hard to ensure that South Africa plays a meaningful role in deepening global diplomacy and cooperation.”
Mapisa-Nqakula said in memory of Pahad the nation should renew its own commitment to the principles he so ardently fought for, and continue the work of building a just and democratic society that he dedicated his life to achieving.
The SACP said Pahad played an important role in the South African Struggle for liberation.
“His activism was already maturing during his teenage years when he became a member of the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress in 1958. His activist role included organising strikes against the racist regime, premised on a non-racial basis.”
The party also said he became an invaluable player in galvanising the international anti-apartheid movement while based in the UK since 1964, following the Rivonia Trial and having been banished and exiled by the apartheid regime.
“The SACP pledges to preserve the legacy of our liberation stalwarts while continuing to unite the working-class towards socialism,” it said.
The ANC Youth League said it learnt of Pahad’s passing with profound sorrow and sadness.
“Comrade Aziz Pahad belonged to a generation of freedom fighters who made immense sacrifices for the liberation of our country.
“His service within the ANC and the nation at large was marked by unwavering integrity, honesty, and uprightness,” the youth body said.
They added that Pahad firmly believed in involving the younger generation and entrusting them with more responsibility.
“He saw the potential for young people to contribute creatively to addressing our nation's challenges. As the spear has now fallen, it falls upon the younger generation to pick it up and continue the battle for the development of our country, continent, and the world, all while emulating comrade Aziz Pahad's selflessness,” ANC Youth League said.