Parliament pays tribute to anti-apartheid activist and former MP, Aziz Pahad

Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad died on Wednesday night. Picture: Thobeka Ndabula

Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad died on Wednesday night. Picture: Thobeka Ndabula

Published Sep 28, 2023


Tributes to former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad have been streaming in since his death, with South Africa’s Parliament describing him as an “extraordinary revolutionary who gave his all to the fight against apartheid”.

Pahad, 82, died at his Saxonwold home Johannesburg on Wednesday night.

Pahad was born into a family of anti-apartheid activists in 1940, with his early years shaped by the crucible of resistance.

In a statement issued by Parliament, of which Pahad served as a member from 1994 to 2008, it described him as a resolute advocate for justice and a living embodiment of courage and conviction.

In the face of apartheid regime-imposed bans and arrests, he stood unwavering, demonstrating fearless determination to challenge the oppressive apartheid system, Parliament spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said.

“His life was characterised by a deep sense of responsibility to his fellow citizens and a profound belief in the cause of freedom. A committed patriot until the end, he devoted his entire existence to serving the people, epitomising the very essence of selflessness, empathy, humility and sacrifice. His unwavering commitment to the struggle against apartheid carried the flame of hope for millions who yearned for a democratic South Africa.

“Pahad's journey as a diplomat and strategist showcased his brilliance and shrewdness. His tenure as Member of Parliament 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,” Mothapo said.

Parliament also remembered Pahad’s instrumental role in mobilising the international community against the apartheid South African government.

Even after stepping away from the Cabinet in 2008, Pahad's commitment to serving his people endured.

His appointments as former president Jacob Zuma's envoy to Israel and Palestine in 2014, and his chairmanship of a policy review commission under President Cyril Ramaphosa reflected his ongoing dedication to advancing the nation's interests on the world stage.

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