South Africa’s anti-apartheid stalwart Aziz Pahad dies aged 82

11:41 AM Sep 28, 2023 | PTI |

South African politician and freedom struggle veteran Aziz Pahad has died here at the age of 82, almost three months after his elder brother and fellow activist Essop Pahad passed away.


“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Aziz Goolam Hoosein Pahad, during the evening of September 27, 2023, at the age of 82,” the family said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

“A patriot, freedom fighter and servant of the people throughout his life, former Deputy Minister Pahad was a dedicated member of the ANC, a brilliant diplomat and strategist who served as a Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister for International Relations from 1994 to 2008,” the statement added.

The Pahad brothers were activists in the struggle against apartheid from a very young age as members of the Transvaal Indian Congress.

They later went into exile and played a leading role in the African National Congress (ANC) as it led the international call to free Nelson Mandela.


They returned to South Africa after the white minority apartheid government, led by F W de Klerk, decided to free Mandela after 27 years as a political prisoner.

When Mandela became the country’s first democratically-elected president in 1994, both Pahad brothers joined his government in senior positions.

They also served under Mandela’s successor, Thabo Mbeki, but relinquished their posts when a faction of the ANC recalled Mbeki and installed Jacob Zuma as the president.

Aziz Pahad served as the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs under former President Mbeki for many years. In that role, Pahad was at the forefront of leading South Africa’s call on the international community to address the Palestinian crisis.

On a separate occasion, Pahad reiterated that South Africa would support India’s call for an international convention on terrorism which was already being discussed then in the United Nations.

The Indian delegation, led by Kashmiri politician Sharif-ud-Din Shariq, had met with Pahad to brief him on the situation in South Asia, especially the current situation with regard to the international fight against terrorism in general and what it called “Pakistan’s state-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir and other parts of India” in particular.

The members of the delegation pointed out that while the international community has demonstrated impressive unity in getting together to fight terrorism in all it facets post 9/11 attack; India had been suffering “state-sponsored terrorism” for more than two decades in Punjab and Kashmir.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced yet, but informed sources said that Pahad would likely be accorded a state funeral, as had been the case with his brother three months ago.

Pahad is survived by his wife Angina.


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