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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


‘The death of Essop Pahad has left a void’ – Paul Mashatile

Former president Thabo Mbeki and Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi attended Essop Pahad's funeral.


Deputy President Paul Mashatile has praised late anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Essop Pahad describing him as an extraordinary revolutionary and an exceptional leader.

Pahad was laid to rest at the Westpark Cemetery on Thursday according to Muslim burial rites.

Many speakers who attended Pahad’s funeral paid glowing tributes to the anti-apartheid stalwart.

Former president Thabo Mbeki and Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi were among those who attended the funeral service.

Pahad passed away on Wednesday night at the age of 84.

ALSO READ: Former minister in the presidency Essop Pahad dies at 84

Betterment of society

Mashatile who delivered the eulogy in the absence of President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is out of the country, said Pahad was a tried-and-tested cadre and leader of the people of South Africa.

“I had the opportunity to visit Comrade Essop and his family. It was impossible and most painful to reconcile his frail state with the energetic, assertive, and forthright Comrade Essop I have known throughout the decades of struggle.”

Mashatile added that Pahad contributed immensely to the betterment of society.

“Our movement and society is challenged to construct an environment in which, though they do not become clones, young people become as dependable as Essop’s generation. In this way, the democratisation project does not lose its way.

“Essop Pahad has left a void. In his lifetime of struggle, he traversed the world to ensure that our struggle delivered victory to the ordinary masses of our people. We who remain are obliged to spare no effort to ensure that we stay the course,” Mashatile said.

Condolences

Mashatile conveyed government’s condolences to the Pahad family, friends and comrades.

Pahad was born on 21 June 1939 in Schweizer-Reneke in the North West. He grew up in a family of political activists.

After South Africa’s general elections in 1994, Pahad served as the Parliamentary Counsellor to the then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki. In the 1999 general election, Pahad was appointed as the minister in the presidency.

Pahad had been in retirement after serving as minister from 1999 to 2008.

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