Public Service and Administration Minister Roy Padayachie would be honoured with a category one official funeral, the Presidency announced on Saturday.
“This category of a funeral is reserved for Ministers who are still serving in office,” said spokesman Harold Maloka in a statement.
Padayachie, 62, was found dead in his hotel room in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia by a colleague. He was attending a meeting of the African Peer Review Mechanism.
He had joined the public service and administration ministry in October last year. He was former minister of communication and before that deputy minister of public service and administration.
The burial would take place in Durban on Wednesday, and national flags would be flown at half mast from Monday in honour of Padayachie and former co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Sicelo Shiceka until then.
Labour Minister Mildred Olifant would serve in Padayachie’s position until further notice.
Earlier, Padayachie’s remains arrived back in South Africa.
“Minister Padayachie’s body was handed over to his family and loved ones after it arrived in Durban from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” Maloka said.
Olifant and representatives of the provincial government, representing President Jacob Zuma and Cabinet, joined the family.
Zuma personally telephoned Padayachie’s wife, Sally Mudaly Padayachie, to convey his condolences.
Details of the burial would be communicated later by Minister Collins Chabane, who is the chairman of the inter-ministerial committee on State funerals, Maloka said.
Earlier, Zuma said no words could express the loss that government and the people of South Africa felt at this loss.
“It is sadly a great measure of his dedication and personality that he was to meet his destiny and fate in pursuance of a better Africa and a better world, a goal he dedicated his entire life for it to be realised and achieved.”
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said Padayachie was passionate about the development of children and assisted her greatly in this area of work, especially in the field of early childhood development.
In a statement she described Padayachie as a brilliant yet humble man.
“He was a very educated man who could interpret his education in all areas of life.
“As an old ANC member, he understood the meaning of being a comrade and cadre of the movement and his work ethic was informed by the values of the ANC,” said Dlamini.
The African National Congress said Padayachie was a committed member of the party whose life was defined by his continued activism and his work amongst the poorest communities.
“Even in death he will remain the champion of the poor,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga said he was deeply saddened by the news.
“We are in an absolute state of shock and words cannot begin to describe the deep sadness that has engulfed all of us,” he said in a statement.
He said Padayachie was without a doubt one of the most talented, experienced and visionary government leaders with unmatched ability to fit in whatever portfolio he was deployed to.
The Democratic Alliance said it was shocked and saddened to hear of the Padayachie’s death.
“Minister Padayachie was an able and hard-working member of Cabinet, who was always responsive and available to engage with the DA,” national spokesman Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.
“He will be missed in Parliament, in Cabinet, and indeed by all who worked with him or under him in his long and distinguished career in service of South Africa.”
The SA Communist Party said Padayachie’s exemplary behaviour and commitment would continue to inspire generations of cadres to serve their people selflessly without any expectations of personal or material rewards.
“Comrade Roy has dedicated almost his entire life to serve our democratic movement and all South Africans with absolute commitment, when asked by the movement to do so in different capacities,” SACP said in a statement.
Congress of the People leader Mosioua Lekota said Padayachie left behind a long track record of service to the South African people.
The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said Padayachie died as he lived, working hard for his country and continent.
“He devoted his life to serving his people, especially the poorest and most oppressed,” Cosatu said in a statement.
The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union said Padayachie’s death was a major blow to the alliance and the country in general.
“The nation will always remember his contribution to the struggle for freedom and his dedication to the transformation of our society,” spokesman Sizwe Pamla said in a statement.
The Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said in a statement he knew Padayachie well as a minister and saw him as a friendly person who was easy to get along with.
“He eagerly argued about issues that were close to his heart, but he always did it in a grownup and friendly way manner so you could never the less stay friends.”
The SABC also expressed sadness over the former minister of communications death.
Chairman Ben Ngubane in a statement sent his condolences to Padayachie’s family, on behalf of the SABC board, management and staff.
“This is a sad day indeed for not only minister Padayachie’s family, but for the country as a whole. We will always remember his dedication to the broadcasting industry and to the nation as a whole.”
The SA National Civic Organisation called Padayachie one of the loyal and committed ministers of this democratic rule.
“He will be remembered for his civic activities in the Verulam area and sober leadership role within the ANC,” spokesman Dumisane Mthalane said in a statement.