President Cyril Ramaphosa. FILE PHOTO: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency/ANA

Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his sincere condolences at the death of veteran diplomat ambassador Sipho George Nene.

"As a member of the African National Congress, ambassador Nene served the organisation during exile in Lusaka, Zambia before joining the diplomatic service of a liberated South Africa in 1994," Ramaphosa said on Saturday.

Nene was appointed as South Africa’s first high commissioner to Nigeria and later served as South African ambassador to Switzerland.

During his tenure as deputy director general for multilateral affairs, Nene "advanced South Africa’s interests in a broad range of international fora".

“We have lost a special patriot and career diplomat who flew our flag with distinction and dedicated his period in exile to mobilising our region and continent to secure the liberation of our country,” Ramaphosa said.

“Through his leadership in our diplomatic service, ambassador Nene was instrumental in preparing South Africa’s emerging diplomatic representatives for the dynamics and demands of a rapidly changing world. His contribution therefore lives on [in] South Africa’s regional, continental, and global relations,” Ramaphosa said.

Nene, who died on Friday, retired from the international relations and co-operation department two years ago.

African News Agency/ANA