President mourns passing of Aziz Pahad

Thursday, September 28, 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his sadness at the passing of former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 82.

The anti-apartheid struggle stalwart and former member of Parliament, who exercised his anti-apartheid activism in the Transvaal Indian Congress and was in exile between 1964 and 1990, served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1994 to 2008. 

Several months after the end of his tenure as Deputy Minister, the Department of Foreign Affairs was renamed the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

Pahad’s passing follows that of his brother and former Minister in the Presidency, Essop Pahad, in July 2023.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended his deepest condolences to the extended Pahad family, who has in short succession lost two distinguished members, who dedicated their lives to serving the nation.

“Our hearts go out to the Pahad family as they mourn the loss of two brothers and two outstanding servants of our people and our country.

“Aziz Pahad worked for our freedom during his decades in exile in the United Kingdom, Angola and Zambia – a period during which he played a diversity of roles, including as a member of the ANC's Revolutionary Council and the Political Military Committee and being part of the ANC negotiating team that secretly met representatives of the apartheid regime, and also with leading members of the Afrikaner community.

“It was fitting that, in acknowledgment 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,” the President said.

The President said Aziz Pahad was a consummate diplomat not only in the service of the country but in support of causes for freedom and justice elsewhere in the world, notably advocating the plight of the Palestinian people.

“Endearing of disposition and fierce of principle, he represented our nation with passion and clarity and played a significant role in educating the nation of our early democracy about international relations and South Africa’s role, place and vision in a world which itself undergoing change at that time. May his soul rest in peace,” President Ramaphosa said. –