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Johannesburg - Late African National Congress (ANC) stalwart and retired diplomat Moses "Moss" Chikane, made a significant contribution to the struggle of South Africans, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.

“I would like to express my deepest condolences to the entire Chikane family, the African National Congress and society at large. Moss Chikane made a significant contribution to our struggle and served the people of South Africa through the liberation movement," said Ramaphosa.

"We owe him and his generation an immeasurable debt of gratitude and appreciation. May his soul rest in peace.” 

Chikane died on Wednesday at the age of 69, following an illness.

The Presidency said that Chikane was a former leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF), serving as the organisation’s Transvaal Secretary. He was part of the "UDF Three" with Mosioua Lekota and Popo Molefe. They were prosecuted by the apartheid government in the Delmas Treason Trial, convicted of treason and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on Robben Island. 

Chikane was also the national coordinator of the ANC team responsible for facilitating the return of ANC members from exile in the early 1990s. In 2005 he served as South Africa’s Ambassador to Germany and to Zambia five years later.

Family spokesperson Chikane Chikane said that Chikane died late Wednesday night at around 11.30pm. Chikane had been unwell for some time and spent time in and out of hospital. 

Chikane was elected as a Member of Parliament in 1994 following South Africa's first democratic election.

In  2005, Chikane was appointed as South Africa's Ambassador to Germany and in 2010 he was posted to Zambia where he also served a full term as ambassador.

Chikane is survived by five sons and a daughter, three brothers and four sisters. The family will announce his funeral arrangements in due course.

African News Agency (ANA)