Hospitalised Deputy Minister in the Presidency Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize passed on Thursday morning.
She was 69.
Mkhize, who was a member of the African National Congress (ANC)National Executive Committee, was considered a hard-working and dedicated cadre.
ANC Women’s League President Bathabile Dlamini described Hlengiwe as a relentless fighter for gender rights.
United Democratic Movement leader, General Bantu Holomisa said Hlengiwe was a humble intellectual.
The cause of death has not been disclosed, but Dlamini said Hlengiwe was taken to hospital after falling ill earlier this week.
Her death after a “short illness” came as a shock, said Dlamini.
Professor Thuli Madonsela, the former public protector, tweeted: “Shocked beyond words … heartfelt condolences to loved ones and colleagues of the late Deputy Minister Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize”.