Mario Oriani-Ambrosini died at his home in Cape Town in the early hours of Saturday morning at the age of 53. File picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town - IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini’s death won’t be in vain, the party has promised.

IFP MPs will be putting forward suggestions to Parliament to press on with legislative amendments and proposals introduced by Oriani-Ambrosini, who died of lung cancer on Saturday. He was 53.

Italian-born Oriani-Ambrosini said in February that the decriminalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes could have a far-reaching effect, not just for patients like himself, but for the whole economy.

He said this could be done through the Medical Innovation Bill, which he introduced to decriminalise the medical use of dagga.

IFP chief whip Narend Singh said on Sunday he would raise the matter when Parliament reconvened.

“I will raise it at the chief whips’ forum. But nothing stops us as the IFP, any of us as members, from adopting this bill and if Parliament requires that it must be reintroduced as a private member’s bill, then certainly we will do that.”

Singh said the party would also consult the Department of Health on the bill.

“We would not let Mario Ambrosini have passed on in vain because we believe there was a lot of merit in terms of the bill.

“If the Health Department feels it does not want to adopt this bill, then certainly we will get one of our members to reintroduce the bill as it was drafted by honourable Ambrosini,” said Singh.

He said Oriani-Ambrosini had made several other contributions as an MP.

“He made a significant contribution to rules that are being amended. There is a rules committee that is looking at the amendments of the rules and the honourable Ambrosini played an integral part in formulating amendments.

“The legacy of the honourable Ambrosini in presenting his proposals on amendments will certainly be taken on by us.”

IFP youth leader and MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa said it would be an “injustice” to Oriani-Ambrosini’s legacy to “confine” it to the final stages of his battle with cancer.

He said Oriani-Ambrosini should also be remembered for his ability to debate matters in Parliament.

“For me that brought democracy to life and Parliament moved away from just rubber stamping.”

Hlengwa said he was not sure how bills introduced by members who had died were dealt with, but he would take the matter up personally if need be.

President Jacob Zuma and other political parties conveyed their condolences.

“On behalf of government and all South Africans, we convey our heartfelt condolences to his family, the IFP and Parliament. May his soul rest in peace,” Zuma said.

Political Bureau