Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza, says she is greatly saddened to learn about Professor Mohammad Karaan's passing.
Karaan is a former Dean of the Faculty of AgriSciences at Stellenbosch University (SU) and a champion of agriculture and rural development.
The department has described the Professor as a giant in South Africa's agriculture, with an enormous contribution to policy and academia.
He served in the government's National Planning Commission and was the Chairperson of the National Agricultural Marketing Council. He is also a former board member of the Land Bank and the Agricultural Research Council and most recently, a member of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.
"Prof Karaan's passing is a massive loss for the country, at a time when we need leading development thinkers and practitioners like him the most, as the country begins to implement the Economic Recovery Plan," said Minister Didiza.
"Chapter six of the National Development Plan was largely drawn from his vision for agricultural and rural development, which emphasised a need for public-private partnership approaches in agricultural development."
The Minister has called on citizens to honour his legacy by continuing with his approach of the broader government agricultural development.
"We send our sympathies and prayers to Prof Karaan's family at this challenging time. The agricultural community will miss Prof Karaan's insights and wisdom."
According to Stellenbosch University, at the time of his death on 13 January 2021, he was Professor in Agricultural Economics and President of Maties Rugby.
"It's really shocking to hear of Professor Mohammad Karaan's untimely death. He was a particularly valued and beloved colleague who made his mark - at SU, but also nationally and internationally," Rector and Vice-Chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers, said.
The current Dean of the Faculty of AgriSciences, Professor Danie Brink said they will remember him as a remarkable leader, conciliator, true influencer in agricultural circles and a friend.
"His death is a huge loss to the South African agricultural sector at large, and in particular also to our faculty. He was a special man who had the ability to bring people from different spheres together. His heart was in agriculture, and he believed in strengthening it."
Brink said Karaan was empathic towards others, supported colleagues and had an insight and ability to unravel complex issues.
"He has had a lasting impact on the vision of the faculty, the university, on agriculture and South Africa."
Karaan is survived by his wife, Basheerah and children, Zayne, Kamilah, Tauriq, Burhan and Adam.
"It really is a big loss, and our hearts go out to his family in this very sad time," De Villiers added.