Mandela Foundation saddened by Asmal death

2011-06-22 18:50
Johannesburg - The Nelson Mandela Foundation on Wednesday expressed sadness at the death of ANC veteran, Kader Asmal, 76.

"On behalf of our founder, board of trustees and staff, we would like to express our deep sadness at the passing of Professor Kader Asmal, a lifelong fighter for freedom and justice," the foundation said in a statement.

"A close associate of our founder, Mr Nelson Mandela, professor Asmal struggled for decades in South Africa and in exile for an end to apartheid and for the achievement of a constitutional democracy in which all, regardless of gender, race or political affiliation would be regarded as equals."

Asmal died in the Constantiaberg hospital in Cape Town after having a heart attack and slipping into a coma, eNews reported.

After the first democratic election in 1994 Asmal was appointed as the minister of water affairs and forestry by Mandela.

The foundation said Asmal's voice would be missed and quoted Mandela who wrote to him on his 75th birthday.

Mandela wrote to Asmal: "While serving in our Cabinet we often referred to you as the 'Minister of all portfolios'. Although we did so in a humorous way, there was truth to it.

"Few people have the knowledge and experience to compare with you and you have become an expert on so many subjects that your wealth of knowledge is an asset to our movement and our country.

"Your 75th birthday is then also an appropriate and welcome opportunity to thank you for your friendship over the years. The sacrifices you have made and the role that you played will remain in our history books forever."

Asmal's death follows that of struggle icon Albertina Sisulu, wife of Walter Sisulu, who died on June 2.

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