Higher Education, Science and Innovation Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, has paid tribute to the late Professor Malusi Marcus Balintulo.
The Minister was saddened by news of the passing of Balintulo, who was a former Vice-Chancellor of Walter Sisulu University.
"I wish to express my condolences to the family, friends and the entire post-school education and training sector," the Minister said in a statement on Tuesday.
Nzimande, had known Balintulo since the early 1990s.
"I first came across some of Prof Balintulo’s writings in the late 1980s where I discovered that we also shared one common research area of interest – that of the evolution and role of Black universities in our higher education system, including the heroic struggles that took place in those institutions during the apartheid era, "he recalled.
According to the Minister, the Professor was part of the journey of transformation soon after the country attained its freedom in 1994 as they sought to "destroy the apartheid and colonial legal and structural foundations of our higher education system".
The Minister has described the late scholar as a distinguished author, writer, and academic who had published a range of important articles in sociology and education.
Balintulo studied at, amongst others, the University of Fort-Hare, University of South Africa, University of Durham and University of Warwick where he obtained his PhD in Sociology.
The distinguished professor also worked as a lecturer in the Departments of Sociology both in South Africa and internationally including at the University of Fort Hare, the University of the West Indies, the University of Nigeria-Nsukka, the University of Botswana, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland.
He was an acting Vice-Chancellor and Principal at the University of Durban-Westville, Cape Technikon, and later at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
He was also a founding Vice-Chancellor of Walter Sisulu University, soon after a number of universities were merged in the early 2000s.
"Prof Balintulo was amongst the trailblazers and part our cadre of educators and higher education administrators who contributed significantly towards the transformation of our education system."
According to Nzimande, due to his illustrious leadership and skill, Balintulo was appointed chairperson of the Ministerial Review Committee on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in June 2009.
"To his family, I offer my words of gratitude for having shared Prof Balintulo with the post-school education and training community. I have personally felt privileged to have known and worked with him," he said in his heartfelt tribute.
"May his soul rest in eternal peace," said the Minister.