President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to the late Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo for the contribution he made to South Africa at home and internationally during and after the struggle for its liberation. Picture: Supplied

PORT ELIZABETH - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday paid tribute to longstanding diplomat and activist Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, who passed away at the age of 71.

Extending his condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Kumalo, the president said that Kumalo had played an influential role in the South African struggle against apartheid, which led to the UN's declaration of this oppressive system as a crime against humanity.

“South Africa and the international community shares this great loss with the family and friends of ambassador Kumalo," Ramaphosa said.

“We will remember this outstanding patriot, activist and consummate diplomat for influencing and guiding the global debate on apartheid and for asserting South Africa’s role in the global community during the early years of our democracy.

“Thanks to his passion for our country, ambassador Kumalo was instrumental in South Africa’s transition from a Pariah state to a partner to the international community."

Kumalo was South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the UN from 1999 to 2009, representing the country during its first tenure on the UN Security Council from 2007-2008.

He also served as co-chair for UN Human Rights Council and was chair at the UN of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), as well as the Group of 77 plus China.

“Ambassador Kumalo flew the flag not just for his own country, but for the SADC region, African and the nations of the Global South. He also championed the cause of building a multilateral system of global governance that would advance inclusion, fairness and peace among the nations of the world," the president said.

“His dedication and tenacity has ensured that South Africans and people around the world live in a better world today”, Ramaphosa said.

African News Agency