President Cyril Ramaphosa, Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and chairperson of the national council of provinces Amos Masondo have described late former deputy foreign affairs minister Aziz Pahad as an exceptional diplomat who went beyond the call of duty.
Ramaphosa said Pahad was a diplomat who worked tirelessly for the global community.
The SACP also said Pahad had continued to play a critical in various platforms after he left government in 2008.
Ramaphosa said Pahad spent his life in the Struggle for freedom.
“It was fitting that, in acknowledgement of his vast experience in international mobilisation against the apartheid regime, Aziz Pahad was appointed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the dawn of our democracy and our reintegration into the global community,” Ramaphosa said.
“Aziz Pahad was a consummate diplomat not only in the service of our country but in support of causes for freedom and justice elsewhere in the world, notably advocating the plight of the Palestinian people,” said Ramaphosa.
Mapisa-Nqakula and Masondo said they were saddened by the death of Pahad who served in parliament for many years.
They said he was resolute in his quest for justice during the days of the Struggle against apartheid.
They said he was a skilful diplomat who managed to navigate through treacherous waters in the international relations sector.
“Even after stepping away from the cabinet in 2008, Mr. Pahad's commitment to serving his people endured. His appointments as 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,” said Mapisa-Nqakula and Masondo.
The SACP said Pahad had mobilised the international community in the Struggle against apartheid.
It said he served in ANC for decades. He also served in the Central Committee of the SACP.
“Despite leaving government work, Comrade Aziz continued to serve the people in various platforms. The SACP benefited from his profound political inputs, especially as an internationalist representing the ANC.
“In memory of Comrade Aziz Pahad, the SACP calls upon the working-class and all those who fight for justice to unite against imperialism. The SACP pledges to preserve the legacy of our liberation stalwarts while continuing to unite the working-class towards socialism. At a time when neo-liberal offensive is regaining ground to impose austerity measures and break the unity of the working-class and also widen inequality, the SACP says: ‘Put the people first, fight the cost of living crisis’,” said the SACP.
Former University of Johannesburg Vice-Chancellor and current Rector of the United Nations University in Japan Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala said he was devastated about Pahad’s death.
He said he was an intellectual who played his part in the fight for a just and non-racial society.