Former President Thabo Mbeki has paid tribute to Aziz Pahad as a key figure in shaping the country’s foreign policy and advocating for South Africa’s non-aligned position.
Pahad worked with Mbeki for many years in government in his role as deputy minister of foreign affairs.
Pahad passed away on Wednesday at the age of 82.
The Thabo Mbeki Foundation said Pahad grew up in a Struggle family and his views were shaped by his family.
When he was in exile then ANC President Oliver Tambo entrusted him with the responsibility of joining the delegation of the ANC that met with the delegation from South Africa in a meeting in Senegal in the 1980s.
But Pahad also played a bigger role in the negotiations when the country was preparing for transition to a new democratic state in the early 1990s.
The foundation said Pahad’s contribution on foreign policy matters remains highly regarded.
“He served as a member of parliament following the 1994 democratic elections and was appointed deputy minister of foreign affairs, a position in which he served until his retirement in 2008. During his time in office, he played a key role in shaping the evolution of South African foreign policy in the democratic era. He was a strong advocate for South Africa’s non-aligned foreign policy and a tireless champion for South-South cooperation and the advancement of Africa’s development interests,” said the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.
After he left government Pahad was not lost to South Africa as he served in different areas including as presidential envoy to the Middle East.
He also worked as adviser to the department of international relations and cooperation.