South Africa
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Aziz Pahad was a hardworking public servant and astute diplomat with a 'lack of ego': Ramaphosa

Several struggle stalwarts had been laid to rest in recent times, many of whom were disappointed by what they were witnessing, Ramaphosa said.

"They have seen the liberation movement to which they dedicated their lives being racked by factionalism and in-fighting. They have seen the democratic government being eroded by corruption. 

"In one interview, Aziz Pahad said: 'We dare not forget that we are the servants of our fellow countrymen. The concept of Batho Pele, of putting people first, is disappearing like mist before the sun.'

"We who remain have a responsibility to ensure that Batho Pele does not disappear but that it is restored, revitalised and once again stands at the centre of all our efforts."


President Cyril Ramaphosa has described former deputy foreign minister Aziz Pahad as a "legendary networker", a hardworking public servant and astute diplomat.

"He gave meaning to the idea of servant leadership. In whatever role he was given, he showed steadfastness, self-reliance, commitment to a greater cause, lack of ego and principle," Ramaphosa said in his eulogy at the funeral of the late anti-apartheid activist.

Pahad, who died at his home in Johannesburg on Wednesday at the age of 82, was laid to rest on Saturday at the Westpark cemetery.

Ramaphosa said those who had read Pahad's book Insurgent Diplomat would have been struck by a narrative that was not so much about an individual and their exploits than it was "a charting of the evolution of our country’s foreign policy and those who enriched it".

"This was vintage Aziz Pahad. It was never about him. He never sought to place himself at the centre of the narrative of our democratic history. He was not consumed by the pursuit of fame, status or the accumulation of riches. For him, South Africa was the central character."