JOHANNESBURG, August 18 – The African National Congress has expressed profound sadness at the news of the death of former United Nations (UN) secretary general and Nobel Peace Prize winner Kofi Annan on Saturday.
“An eminent and distinguished son of Africa, Mr Annan was a great friend of the people of South Africa who played an immeasurable role in shaping the global agenda in favour of the people of the developing South,” head of the ANC presidency Zizi Kodwa said.
As the 7th UN secretary general, Annan painstakingly used his tenure to advance peace and sustainable development while working determinedly to push back the frontiers of poverty and underdevelopment, he said.
At the time of his death, Annan formed part of the group of eminent persons – The Elders – whose stated mission was working together for peace and human rights. Among his many passions was silencing the guns on the African continent and delivering universal health coverage to all people.
“The ANC joins the people of the world in mourning the departure of this great statesman. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Annan family during this difficult period of grief,” Kodwa said.
Annan, who became the seventh UN secretary general, died on Saturday. He was 80 years of age. The Ghanaian diplomat was awarded the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, and was the first black African to head the UN.
Annan died in the early hours of Saturday in Switzerland after a short illness, according to a statement issued by his family. He served as secretary general from January 1997 to December 2006, and became the first black African to take on the top job as the world’s top diplomat. He was founder and chairman of the Kofi Annan Foundation. (ANA)