- President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his condolences after the passing of Queen Noloyiso Sandile on Wednesday.
- Queen Noloyiso passed away after a short illness.
- He described the Queen as "a bastion of traditional values and an inspiring and principled leader of her people".
President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed "profound sadness" at the passing of Regent of the Royal House of the AmaRharhabe, Her Majesty Queen Noloyiso Sandile, who died on Wednesday after a short illness.
In a statement on Wednesday, Ramaphosa described the queen as "a bastion of traditional values and an inspiring and principled leader of her people".
He extended his condolences to the Royal Household AmaRharhabe and the broader traditional communities.
"Queen Noloyiso played a significant role in the affirmation of traditional values and leadership in South African society at large, and in the development of her kingdom and the Eastern Cape more broadly," Ramaphosa said.
He added: "Under her able leadership, the AmaRharhabe firmly grasped the nettle of change and adapted to the demands of modern society, all the while holding proudly to their history, traditions and identity."
He said Queen Noloyiso was a champion of rural women, who challenged patriarchy in her community and gave a voice to female constituents.
"At a time when we face a grave public health emergency in the form of coronavirus, Queen Noloyiso actively mobilised support for the national effort to combat the pandemic, including calling on communities to halt traditional initiations.
"The united stand taken by the seven kingdoms in this regard was a critical intervention to save lives, and we owe a debt to the Queen for the role she played," Ramaphosa said.
"We join the Great Place of Mngqesha and AmaRharhabe in mourning her passing; at the same time, we pay tribute to her for her deep and unwavering commitment to the upliftment of her people and to her country. May her soul rest in peace."
He explained that the AmaRharhabe had been an independent sovereign kingship since the 18th century, with its status affirmed in 2016 by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.