"Special patriot "Ambassador Nene passes away

Sunday, April 8, 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to veteran diplomat, Ambassador George Nene, who passed away on Friday.

“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,” said President Ramaphosa on Saturday.

Ambassador Nene, who was appointed as South Africa’s first High Commissioner to the Republic of Nigeria, has also served as South Africa’s ambassador to Switzerland.

During his tenure as Deputy Director-General: Multilateral Affairs, Ambassador Nene advanced South Africa’s interests in a broad range of international fora.

President Ramaphosa said as a member of the African National Congress (ANC), Ambassador Nene served the organisation during exile in Lusaka, Zambia, before joining the diplomatic service of a liberated South Africa in 1994.

“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 South Africa’s regional, continental and global relations,” said the President.

Ambassador Nene retired from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) two years ago.

Dirco Minister Lindiwe Sisulu also joined President Ramaphosa in extending her condolences to the family and friends of Ambassador Nene.

Minister Sisulu said Ambassador Nene ranks among the top diplomats the ANC and the government of South Africa ever deployed across the world.

“South Africans must celebrate the contribution Ambassador Nene made to the fight against apartheid and his role in the development of our relations with various countries across the world. We have lost one of our best diplomats at a time when we still need their experience and wisdom,” said Minister Sisulu on Saturday.

Ambassador Nene was the chairperson of the South African Association of Former Ambassadors and former Deputy Director General: Multilateral at the department.

Details of Nene’s memorial service and funeral will be communicated in due course. - SAnews.gov.za