Presidential spokesperson Thabo Masebe said on Tuesday that Matsepe-Casaburri, whose health hasn’t been good in the last couple of months, died at a Pretoria hospital. She was 71.
"She was admitted in hospital about three weeks ago, she hasn’t been at work for a long time because of her health," said Masebe.
Expressing his condolences to her family and friends, President Kgalema Motlanthe said Matsepe-Casaburri was "an outstanding leader and servant of the people of South Africa".
"In her various leadership capacities and responsibilities, she has served the country with distinction, honour and selflessness," Motlanthe in a statement.
"With her incisive intellect she has made an invaluable contribution to the development of policy in various fields including Information and Communication Technology.
"On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa and, indeed on my own behalf, I express heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri," he said.
Among others positions, Matsepe-Casaburri was the first woman to be appointed to the board of the CSIR; the first black person and woman to become chairperson of SENTECH; the first female and black chairperson of the board of the South African Broadcasting Corporation from 1993 1997.
She was also the first female premier, as premier of the Free State from 1997 to 1999. In 1999 she became a member of Parliament and minister of communications.