International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has extended her condolences to the family and relatives of the late former Ambassador and Minister, Dr Zola Skweyiya.
Skweyiya passed away on Wednesday morning, shortly before what would have been his 76th birthday on 14 April.
Skweyiya, who died after a protracted illness, became a Member of Parliament in 1994 and assumed the position of Minister of Public Service and Administration.
In 1999, he was appointed as Minister of Social Development, a post he held for the next 10 years until 2009. He spearheaded the implementation of the social protection system, including child grants and the formation of the South African Social Security Agency.
In 2009, he was appointed as High Commissioner of South Africa to the UK and Ireland, where he advanced the interest of South Africa and Africa.
Paying tribute to Skweyiya, Minister Sisulu said Skweyiya crafted the ethos of Batho Pele.
“He insisted that the public service is professional and all public servants serve the people with the same commitment and dedication. He also extended his professionalism and commitment to the diplomatic family when he was appointed High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ireland, young people learnt a lot from him,” Minister Sisulu said.
A sad and great loss
Also extending condolences to the family and relatives, North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo described Skweyiya’s death as a sad and great loss.
“Skweyiya’s death is not only a great loss to his family and relatives, but to the country at large. We will forever value the contributions he made throughout the struggle for our freedom, and the effort he put in during the initial stages of developing policies for our democratic South African government,” Premier Mahumapelo said.
Premier Mahumapelo said Skweyiya contributed immensely towards the development of policies on public service and administration, as well as those aimed at improving the living conditions of the country’s elderly while he was serving as Minister for Public Service and Administration and Social Services, respectively.
“In offering our deepest condolences, our prayer is for the Skweyiya family to find consolation in knowing that their loss is the country’s loss, and that the memories of Zola Skweyiya’s leadership and expertise will remain a source of inspiration and encouragement to all of us in the North West Provincial Government, as we work towards realising the goals set out in the National Development Plan. May his soul rest in peace,” Premier Mahumapelo said.
Details of Skweyiya’s memorial service will be communicated early next week.