Kofi Annan was a diplomat extraordinaire, says Ramaphosa

The 80-year-old passed away after a short illness surrounded by his loved ones in Switzerland on Saturday morning.

FILE: In this file photo taken on 06 December 2007 Former United Nations Secretary-General and president of the Global Humanitarian Forum, Kofi Annan gestures during a press conference in Geneva. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has described Kofi Annan as a “diplomat extraordinaire” who was focused on world peace.

The 80-year-old passed away after a short illness surrounded by his loved ones in Switzerland on Saturday morning.

He was the first black African to head the United Nations.

Ramaphosa says the world has lost a one of a kind leader.

The president’s spokesperson Khusela Diko said: “Mr. Annan was a great friend of the South African people. The president has called him a diplomat extraordinaire.”

Deputy President David Mabuza says Annan’s legacy must be celebrated worldwide.

“He marched with our leaders as we tried to reconcile a country that was broken.”

Tributes are pouring in from domestic and international leaders with high-profile politicians, faith-based organisations, and ordinary people taking to social media to honour the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)