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As tributes pour in from across the globe for former UN secretary general Kofi Annan who died on Saturday after a brief illness‚ the DA has described him as one of the “great African diplomats of our time”.
The party said Annan‚ who was 80‚ would be sorely missed.
“The Nobel Peace Laureate and global statesman will be remembered for the decades of his life he committed to the UN‚ and for furthering the cause of peace throughout the world.
“As the first Secretary General from Sub-Saharan Africa‚ he brought a special commitment to the continent into the UN and worked tirelessly to bring stability to its nations‚” said DA shadow minister of international relations and cooperation Stevens Mokgalapa.
He added that as chair of The Elders and close friend of Tata Nelson Mandela‚ Annan had continued to promote the principles of justice‚ tolerance and friendship to all after stepping down from the UN.
“His absence will be keenly felt‚ and we offer our deepest condolences to his wife and family. He will be sorely missed and greatly celebrated.”
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu‚ a fellow Nobel Peace laureate‚ described Annan’s death as “devastating”.
“We give great thanks to God for Kofi Annan‚ an outstanding human being who represented our continent and the world with enormous graciousness‚ integrity and distinction.
“His passing is an unexpected and devastating loss‚ and Leah and I send our warmest love and deepest‚ deepest condolences to Nane and the Annan family‚” Tutu said.
He added: “It was a tremendous honour and privilege to have Kofi serve as a member of The Elders during my period as chairperson‚ and to be succeeded by someone of his caliber. Members of The Elders formed a special bond‚ and Leah and I send our condolences to this family‚ too.
“May Kofi rest in peace and rise in glory!
“May God bless Kofi’s family and all who had the joy to know and be inspired by him.”
Parliament’s presiding officers‚ Speaker Baleka Mbete and Chairperson Thandi Modise said South Africa‚ Africa and the world were poorer after losing a luminary son of the African soil who‚ “through his character and its manifestation in various facets of life‚ not only served but inspired humanity across the world”.
They described Annan as a distinguished international statesman‚ champion of peace‚ an advocate for universal human right and indefatigable crusader for social justice.
“He had a special place in his heart for South Africa and keen interest in its developmental trajectory. He had called on South Africa to assert its role as a world leader in so many respects. We dare not fail.”
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said he had been with Annan just last month when he had joined The Elders to commemorate what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday.
“At the invitation of Mrs Graça Machel‚ we opened the 100 Sparks of Hope Peace Park. Mr Annan seemed quite well and none of us could have known that this would be his last visit to South Africa.
“Our country mourns with the global community. We will remember his leadership and his enormous capacity for empathy. His life’s contribution to the alleviation of poverty and suffering has changed millions of lives for good. His legacy is vast and will remain in our hearts and on our lips for years to come‚” Mangosuthu said.
Mandela’s grandson‚ Zwelivelile "Mandla" Mandela‚ said Annan would be remembered as a visionary who worked tirelessly for many humanitarian causes.
“We shall remember him for the immense contribution he made to the many vulnerable sectors of humanity‚ women‚ children‚ orphans the disabled and refugees.”