- Tributes are pouring in for former deputy defence minister Mluleki George, who died on Tuesday.
- George served as deputy defence minister from 29 April 2004 until 25 September 2008.
- The ANC and government said they were saddened by his death and offered their condolences.
National government and the ANC have paid tribute to former deputy defence minister Mluleki George.
George, who served in the portfolio from 29 April 2004 until 25 September 2008, died on Tuesday.
Government spokesperson Phumla Williams conveyed condolences and said government was saddened by George's death.
George served as a Member of Parliament from 1994 until September 2008.
Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, said: "We have lost another patriot. A person who served with humility and fought for the freedom of our people. He was a political activist at heart but also a great leader. His passion for the betterment of South Africa was seen in his actions. His passing surely leaves us poorer as a nation."
George also played a role in the unification of sport in the country in the early 1990s.
He served as the president of the National Sports Council and was also elected the vice-president of the South African Rugby Football Union from 1993 to 1998.
George was also a member of the International Rugby Board from 1994 to 1997.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said George contributed enormously to the downfall of apartheid, as well as in the reconstruction and development of the country following the 1994 democratic breakthrough.
"George was a founder member of the United Democratic Front (UDF). He was also executive member of the South African Communist Party (SACP) Border Region in 1990. George also served as chairperson of the ANC Amathole Region in the Eastern Cape.
"He played a key role in the transformation of sport. Among other things, he was founder member of the National Sports Council in 1988 as well as founder and executive member of the National Olympic Committee of South Africa in 1989," said Mabe.
George also served as treasurer-general of the Congress of the People (Cope) which was formed in 2008.
"The ANC is grateful for his service to the nation and for his role in the creation of a free and democratic South Africa. We convey our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and all freedom-loving people of South Africa. We hope they will find comfort and strength in the knowledge that the nation shares in their grief," Mabe said.