The Presiding Officers of Parliament have expressed sadness on the passing of anti-apartheid activist, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and an “extraordinary revolutionary” Aziz Pahad, who died on Wednesday at the age of 82.
In a statement, Parliament Presiding Officers said his life was characterised by a deep sense of responsibility to his fellow citizens and a profound belief in the cause of freedom.
“A committed patriot until the end, he devoted his entire existence to serving the people, epitomising the very essence of selflessness, empathy, humility and sacrifice. His unwavering commitment to the struggle against apartheid carried the flame of hope for millions who yearned for a democratic South Africa,” they said.
The Presiding Officers urged South Africans to renew their own commitment to the principles for which Pahad fought, and said in his memory South Africans must continue the work of building a just and democratic society that Pahad dedicated his life to achieving.
Parliament stated that Pahad's journey as a diplomat and strategist showcased his brilliance and shrewdness.
Between 1994 and 2008 he was a Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister for International Relations during which time he amplified the voices of those oppressed by apartheid on the global stage.
“As Parliament hosts the Brics Parliamentary Forum, we are grateful to Pahad and many diplomats who worked very hard to ensure that South Africa plays a meaningful role in deepening global diplomacy and cooperation,” Parliament said.
The Presiding Officers highlighted that one of Pahad’s crowning achievements was his instrumental role in mobilising the international community against the apartheid South African government.
His tireless efforts on this front contributed immensely to laying the groundwork for a global consensus that apartheid had no place in the modern world, Parliament said.
The Presiding Officers said that even after stepping away from Cabinet in 2008, Pahad's commitment to serving his people endured.
His appointments as President Jacob Zuma's envoy to Israel and Palestine in 2014 and his chairmanship of a policy review commission under President Cyril Ramaphosa reflected his ongoing dedication to advancing the nation's interests on the world stage.
“May his soul find eternal peace, and may his legacy continue to inspire generations to come. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his dear wife Angina, his brother, children, granddaughter, and extended family members, as well as his friends, comrades and colleagues who shared in his extraordinary journey,” the Presiding Officers said.