Condolences pour in for late ANC veteran Zola Skweyiya

Skweyiya died at a Pretoria hospital early on Wednesday morning. The cause of his death is not yet known.

FILE: Zola Skweyiya delivering a speech on 20 June 2006 during the second day of two-week session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – Messages of condolences are streaming in on Wednesday morning for the late African National Congress (ANC) veteran Zola Skweyiya who passed away at the age of 75.

He served in various capacities during the party's exile years and post democracy.

Skweyiya died at a Pretoria hospital early this morning. The cause of his death is not yet known.

Energy Minister Jeff Radebe says Skweyiya played a pivotal role in the ANC.

“I want to express my personal and family condolences to the family of comrade Zola Skweyiya and the people of South Africa.

“Comrade Skweyiya was one of those first combatants of Umkhonto We Sizwe, was part of first generation of the Luthuli detachment in the early 1960s.”

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says that Skweyiya gave him his first break in public service.

“I was one for the first team that was assigned that task by Minister Zola Skweyiya that time, just to establish new branches, new regions and it’s a deep loss for the poor, as he was a caring person for the poor.”

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says he will be dearly missed.

“I happened to know him when he was the head of legal and constitutional development. Even when he was still in exile working with comrades like Mathole Motshekga and many others where we were dealing with issue about the democratic future, he was one of those people who worked hard in the constitutional development of this country.”


Skweyiya was born in Simonstown in the Western Cape in 1942.

He joined the fight against apartheid while at school and took part in boycotts against Bantu education.

He joined the ANC in 1956 in Lusaka, Zambia and received his law degree in Germany while in exile.

Skweyiya set up an ANC office in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia before he was recalled back to Lusaka to set up the party's legal and constitutional department.

He returned to South Africa in 1990 and became a member of Parliament in 1994.

Skweyiya served as Minister of Public Service and Administration and Social Development respectively.

He was appointed by former president Jacob Zuma as High Commissioner in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland in 2009.

In 2016, Skweyiya was part of a group of ANC veterans who called for Zuma's resignation.