Parliament's Environmental Affairs portfolio committee has joined others in paying tribute to Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, who died at the age of 61 in a Pretoria hospital on Saturday after a short illness.
"The committee is saddened by the passing of the minister, as she has played a significant role in environmental affairs both internationally and domestically. She has also contributed immensely in ensuring that South Africa is on par with other nations on matters that affect the sustainable use of the environment," committee chairperson Philemon Mapulane said on Sunday.
Molewa had made significant contributions in international multi-lateral platforms on issues concerning the conservation of the environment. She had played a pivotal role in the adoption of a historic climate change agreement in 2015, known as the Paris Agreement, he said.
Molewa was an outstanding ambassador for environmental activism and sustainable development, both internationally and domestically.
“Minister Molewa made significant contributions in global multi-lateral platforms, especially on global efforts that seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She played a key role in South Africa hosting a successful 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to [the] Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) in Johannesburg that took place from 24 September to 5 October 2016.
"The committee commends the sterling role she played and her stewardship that led to the decrease in the numbers of rhino being killed in South Africa three years in a row. This is a testament to minister Edna Molewa’s experience and skills within the sector. The committee wishes her family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances strength at this time. The country is indeed poorer without her," Mapulane said.