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Manuel pays tribute to Michael Coetzee

Secretary of Parliament Michael Coetzee passed away on Friday following a long battle with cancer.

FILE. Trevor Manuel paid a heartfelt and personal tribute to Secretary of Parliament Michael Coetzee who passed after a long battle with cancer. Picture:Werner Beukes/SAPA

CAPE TOWN - Former minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel has paid a heartfelt and personal tribute to Secretary of Parliament Michael Coetzee, who passed away on Friday after a long battle with cancer.

Manuel says he's known Coetzee for more than three decades, since they were both young anti-apartheid activists.

Coetzee went from rural Eastern Cape boyhood to student activist and then to the African National Congress (ANC)'s underground structures before giving his life to public service.

Manuel says Coetzee continued to work despite the cancer ravaging his body, showing the courage he was known for as an activist when tortured and kept in solitary confinement.

"He served this institution because he believed fundamentally in the value of parliament to delivering a democracy."

Coetzee was already ill when he was made secretary to parliament in November 2012, having served as deputy secretary for a number of years.

A memorial service for Coetzee is set for Wednesday at 11:30 at the St George's Cathedral in Cape Town.

His funeral service will be on Saturday at 10am also at St George's Cathedral.