Govt pays tribute to Jakes Gerwel

2012-11-28 12:09
Prof Jakes Gerwel. Picture: Supplied

Prof Jakes Gerwel. Picture: Supplied

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Johannesburg - The government has sent its condolences to the family and friends of Professor Jakes Gerwel, who died on Wednesday morning.

"He played a significant role in shaping South Africa’s political history through his involvement in the Black Consciousness Movement, led by Steve Biko," said Government Communication and Information System acting CEO Vusi Mona.

"Prof Gerwel will be sorely missed by government, academic circles, and South Africans at large," he said.

Gerwel, 66, died at the Kuils River Hospital, in the Western Cape, on Wednesday morning.

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, which Gerwel chaired, conveyed condolences on behalf of Mandela, the board of trustees and staff to the professor's family and friends on Wednesday.

Wisdom and guidance

"We will deeply miss 'Prof' as we fondly refer to him," the centre said.

"Our founder [former president Mandela] worked with prof for many years, throughout his presidency and during and beyond his retirement.

"When Madiba stepped down in 1999 after serving one term as president of South Africa, Prof Gerwel, his director general, left the office of the president to join Madiba in his post-presidential work."

Gerwel led the Nelson Mandela Foundation Board of Trustees and staff through its recent transition to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, said its CEO Achmat Dangor.

"We will miss his wisdom and calm guidance," he said.

Privacy

Gerwel was in a critical condition on Tuesday after undergoing heart surgery after incorrect posts on some media houses' Twitter feeds on Monday said he had died.

Family spokesperson Pam Barron said the family would like its privacy to be respected in the next few days and that funeral arrangements would be announced.

Gerwel was a well-known figure in South Africa's political history and in his later years he chaired and was on the board of major organisations and corporations.

He was married to Phoebe Abrahams and they had two children: a daughter, Jessie, a son, Heinrich, and four grandchildren.
- SAPA

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