The late Dr Frank Mdlalose was a guest at the 90th birthday celebration of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in 2018. Buthelezi has paid tribute to Mdlalose following his passing at the weekend: Picture: Doctor Ngcobo / African News Agency (ANA)
The late Dr Frank Mdlalose was a guest at the 90th birthday celebration of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in 2018. Buthelezi has paid tribute to Mdlalose following his passing at the weekend: Picture: Doctor Ngcobo / African News Agency (ANA)

KZN mourns its first-ever premier, Dr Frank Mdlalose

By Anelisa Kubheka Time of article published Apr 6, 2021

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Durban - The death of KwaZulu-Natal’s first democratically-elected premier, Dr Frank Mdlalose, has been described as a great loss.

Mdlalo, 89, died at the weekend in hospital after succumbing to Covid-19. On behalf of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Makhosazana Mdlalose said they had a happy life with their father who looked after all them very well.

“He was a good father. It was wonderful to have such a man as a father. As a family, we are so proud of the work he did in the community in Newcastle as well as the work he did for the province, and for our country. He worked in the community as a doctor, and as a politician. He was much loved by all,” she said.

Mdlalose was the KZN Premier from 1994 to 1997 and also served as South Africa’s ambassador to Egypt in 1998.

Makhosazana said that the pillars of Mdlalose’s life were the community, church and family. She said it would be impossible to mention all of the many contributions he made during the course of his life.

“We will always miss him, and the special time we shared together as a family, especially our family meals. About a month ago, he asked that everybody be at home on Saturdays, so we were blessed to have all been together as a family (on Saturday). To reach 89 is a good life, despite his many co-morbidities. He is at rest now. Our family would like to express our sincere gratitude and thanks for the many kind messages of support and condolence that we have received since the news broke of our father’s passing”.

IFP founder Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi extended his condolences to Mdlalose’s children, Makhosazana, Themba and Lindiwe, and to his wife Eunice who was currently in hospital fighting the virus.

“We pray for her and we wish her strength,” he said.

Buthelezi said that Mdlalose was an outstanding servant of South Africa and, as one of the first members of Inkatha, he quickly showed his leadership qualities.

He said that Mdlalose served in his cabinet in the former KwaZulu government, as minister of the interior and then minister of health.

“During the constitutional negotiations, he became one of the IFP’s main negotiators, and was our country’s champion for federalism and the creation of provinces.

“When South Africa achieved democracy in 1994 and the electorate placed KwaZulu-Natal under the governance of the IFP, we appointed Dr Mdlalose as the first premier of the province. He was our national chairperson and premier, until ill health forced him to relinquish these positions. He handed over the premiership to Dr Ben Ngubane, having laid a good foundation of democratic governance in KwaZulu-Natal,” Buthelezi said.

He said they were proud when the national government appointed Mdlalose as South Africa’s Ambassador to Egypt.

“May his family be comforted in this difficult time, and may this great patriot rest in peace.”

DA leader Francois Rodgers said his party enjoyed a good working relationship with Mdlalose.

“During his time as the premier he strived to include all parties in the post-apartheid dispensation. He included the DA in his provincial cabinet under the position of chairman of education.”

The Daily News

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