Aziz Pahad to be buried in Heroes Acre at Westpark Cemetery on Saturday

Published Sep 30, 2023


Anti-apartheid activist and former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aziz Pahad will be buried at the Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Pahad died at the age of 82 at his Saxonwold home on Wednesday evening.

President Cyril Ramaphosa granted the struggle stalwart a special official funeral category 2, which would include elements of police ceremonial honours.

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Pahad will be buried by Muslim rites. The religious ceremony is expected to take place after the African National Congress (ANC) and State programme which is due to start at 9.30am on Saturday.

In a tribute to Pahad upon his death this week, Ramaphosa described him as a diplomat who worked tirelessly for the global community.

Ramaphosa said Pahad spent his life in the struggle for freedom.

“It was fitting that, in acknowledgement of his vast experience in international mobilisation against the apartheid regime, Aziz Pahad was appointed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the dawn of our democracy and our reintegration into the global community,” Ramaphosa said.

Pahad played a prominent role in South Africa's attempt to stop the US-led attack on Iraq in 2003. He went on to represent South Africa at the International Court of Justice in 2004, when South Africa argued strongly against the erection of the Israeli West Bank barrier.

In Africa, Pahad played an active role in bringing peace to the warring factions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Angola. He visited Saudi Arabia in March 2006 to promote bilateral political and economic relations between the two countries.

ANC veteran Welile Nhlapo, who served as the South African Ambassador to Burundi and the US, applauded Pahad’s tenacity in his engagement with Palestinians during his term as former president Jacob Zuma’s special envoy to Israel and Palestine in 2014.

“He did a fantastic job because he knew the Palestinians and he knew the people in the Arab states that needed to be engaged.

“Every time an ambassador left, he would organise a farewell. So when we needed to reach out, he knew exactly who to talk to. That is what is important in diplomacy, building and maintaining trust,” Nhlapo said.

Former President Thabo Mbeki, whom Pahad worked with for many years in government in his role as deputy minister of foreign affairs, said Pahad advocated for South Africa’s non-aligned position.

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