It is with great sadness and deep sorrow that the Presiding Officers of Parliament join the nation in mourning the passing of Mr. Aziz Goolam Hoosein Pahad, 82, an anti-apartheid activist, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and an extraordinary revolutionary who gave his all to the fight against apartheid and dedicated his life to the establishment of a democratic society in South Africa.
Born into a family of anti-apartheid activists in 1940, Mr. Pahad’s early years were shaped by the crucible of resistance, becoming a resolute advocate for justice and a living embodiment of courage and conviction. In the face of apartheid regime-imposed bans and arrests, he stood unwavering, demonstrating fearless determination to challenge the oppressive apartheid system.
His life was characterized 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, epitomizing 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.
Mr. Pahad’s journey as a diplomat and strategist showcased his brilliance and shrewdness. His tenure as Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister for International Relations from 1994 to 2008 attested to his exceptional diplomatic acumen, through which he skilfully navigated the complex waters of international relations, amplifying the voices of those oppressed by apartheid on the global stage. As Parliament hosts the BRICS Parliamentary Forum, we are grateful to Mr. Pahad and many diplomats who worked very hard to ensure that South Africa plays a meaningful role in deepening global diplomacy and cooperation.
One of his crowning achievements was his instrumental role in mobilizing 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.
Even after stepping away from the cabinet in 2008, Mr. 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.
In his memory, let us renew our own commitment to the principles for which he so ardently fought, continue the work of building a just and democratic society that he dedicated his life to achieving.
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.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.