The family of African National Congress (ANC) stalwart Zola Skweyiya says they were preparing to celebrate his 76th birthday on Saturday, when the former cabinet minister died on Wednesday morning.

Skweyiya died at the Kloof private hospital, east of Pretoria, at the age of 75.

He served as Minister of Public Service and Administration under the Nelson Mandela administration between 1994-1999 and as minister of Social Development during the Thabo Mbeki administration between 1999-2009.

He then went on to be South Africans High Commissioner to the UK, until his retirement in 2014.

Family spokesperson Dr Khulu Mbatha says they were planning to celebrate Skweyiya’s birthday this coming Saturday.

Mbatha says, “It saddened me to know that this Saturday, the Saturday we are burying Mama Winnie, we are saying goodbye to another stalwart Skweyiya. It is actually his birthday on the 14th and we were just deliberating with the family since he is in hospital how should we prepare for his birthday and now he dies almost three days before his birthday.”