In a statement Saturday, President Jacob Zuma did not give a cause of death for Roy Padayachie, 62, who died Friday in the Ethiopian capital, where the AU is headquartered.
“No amount of words can express this loss that the government and people of South Africa feel,” Zuma said.
Padayachie had been moved from minister of communications to minister for public service and administration in October in a Cabinet shuffle that became necessary after other ministers were caught up in corruption scandals.
Zuma’s governing African National Congress called Padayachie a veteran member “whose life was defined by his continued activism and his work amongst the poorest of our communities.”
The Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s main opposition party, praised Padayachie’s leadership of the public service ministry, which oversees government workers. The Democratic Alliance said Padayachie’s work “demonstrated his commitment to service delivery excellence.”