Stellenbosch University has paid tribute to veteran political economist and academic Professor Johannes “Sampie” Terreblanche‚ who died on Saturday afternoon at the age of 84 following a brief battle with brain cancer.

“It is with great sadness that I express Stellenbosch University’s deepest condolences to the family of Prof Sampie Terreblanche‚” said Prof Wim de Villiers‚ Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University.

“We honour him as a legendary political economist; much loved inspirational lecturer for thousands of our students‚ and one of Stellenbosch University’s critical voices.”

Terreblanche received an honorary doctorate from Stellenbosch University on December 10 2015.

His academic career at SU spanned half of the 90-year existence of its Economic and Management Sciences (EMS) Faculty. He was honoured for “his outstanding contributions as profound analyst of socio-economic systems and his fearless advocacy for the end of apartheid”.

Through the years‚ he had a lasting impact on many an economics student at SU‚ De Villiers said.

He added that De Villiers’ emphasis on social amelioration for the broader community served as a running theme in his scholarly work. As a member of the then Commission of Inquiry into Matters Relating to the Coloured Population Group (1973–1976) – the Erika Theron Commission – he became deeply affected by the problem of structural poverty. This became a constant influence on his views of South Africa’s political economy‚ manifesting in a number of his publications‚ which included 12 books and over 30 articles and book chapters. Even academic colleagues of dissenting views acknowledged the outstanding quality of his work‚ De Villiers said.

De Villiers said Terreblanche’s contribution to political transformation was aimed at social improvement for the majority. His insights had remained influential post-1994‚ and his A history of Inequality in South Africa‚ 1652–2002 in particular had become a significant reference for contemporary South African economic and social analysis.