Pretoria - Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has sent his condolences to the family and friends of Professor Jakes Gerwel, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 66.
"On my own behalf and that of my family, and on behalf of the higher education sector, which Jakes served for many years with dedicationand absolute distinction, I wish to express our most sincere condolences to the Gerwel family, friends and colleagues. Indeed his passing away is a loss to the nation as a whole," said Nzimande.
Professor Gerwel, an academic and a politician, served as the Director General in the office of the former President, Nelson Mandela. He was the recipient of the Order of Southern Cross from Mandela, the Order of Good Deeds from Libya and Freedom of the Town from Somerset East.
His work also focused largely on academic roles which included educational adviser to the SA Students' Organisation, a chancellor of Rhodes University, and later as a rector of the University of the Western Cape.
Nzimande lauded Gerwel's contribution to the education sector, saying he would go down in history as one of the most progressive vice-chancellors South Africa has ever produced
"I believe that the higher education sector can still learn a lot of lessons from the vision that Jakes offered the sector, and his contribution within it. Many of the things he fought for remain relevant today, particularly the need to diversify the schools of thought in the sector, and society at large," said the minister. - SAnews.gov.za