President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed deep sadness over the passing of Essop Pahad, a renowned hero of the struggle for freedom in South Africa.
Pahad, who had served as a minister in the Presidency, peacefully passed away in his sleep at the age of 84 on Wednesday night.
After his ministerial tenure from 1999 to 2008, Pahad had been enjoying his retirement.
During the apartheid era, Pahad played an active role as a member of the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party.
However, due to his political activities, he was banned by the apartheid government from engaging in any further political work.
Consequently, in 1964, Pahad was compelled to go into exile.
In a statement released on Thursday, President Ramaphosa described Pahad as a strategic thinker who made a significant contribution to the establishment of democracy in South Africa.
Reflecting on Pahad’s lifelong dedication, Ramaphosa said, “We mourn the loss of a true veteran of our struggle, 65 years after he took his initial revolutionary step by joining the Transvaal Indian Congress.”
The president emphasized Pahad’s role as a visionary strategist, employing his profound understanding of injustice, inequality, and the human condition on both national and international levels.
Pahad’s efforts were instrumental in facilitating South Africa’s transition to democracy and introducing a democratic, non-aligned, and proactive nation to the global community.