Pretoria - President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his “sincere” condolences at the passing of National Freedom Party leader and former deputy minister of science and technology, Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi.
Ramaphosa extended his sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of the late party leader, and to the membership of the National Freedom Party.
“It is sad to learn that Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi has joined a succession of prominent South Africans who have passed on after making numerous extraordinary contributions to our democracy and society,” said Ramaphosa.
“Ms Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi was a leader who devoted herself to the betterment of the lives of young people and of women and set a strong example for how this could be achieved. She held leadership positions in civil society, local government, national government and Parliament, where she conducted herself with the best interests of communities and the country at heart.”
Ramaphosa said the NFP leader’s conduct showed that political opposition can be highly effective without being antagonistic.
“She also enriched our parliamentary democracy with her intellect, integrity and dignity, and showed that political opposition can be fearless and firm without being antagonistic,” said Ramaphosa.
“May her soul rest in peace.”
Tributes have been pouring in following the death of kaMagwaza-Msibi at the Umhlanga Hospital in Durban on Monday morning.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said kaMagwaza-Msibi served the people of South Africa with distinction during her tenure as a parliamentarian between 2014 and 2019, when she resigned due to ill-health.
“May the family, friends and colleagues of Mama Zanele find solace in knowing that their loss is shared by the entire nation. May her soul rest in peace,” Pule said.
DA spokesperson Siviwe Gwarube said her party mourned the passing of the NFP, whom she described as “a powerhouse politician” who started her career in the IFP and later left to lead the NFP into Parliament.
“We will remember her for her fearlessness and as a trailblazer for women in politics. We also commend her for her service to the country as a councillor, Member of Parliament, Mayor and Deputy Minister.
IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa conveyed the party’s “deepest and sincere condolences to the kaMagwaza and Msibi families on the passing of the NFP leader and specifically to her daughter Gugu and son Melusi on the loss of their mother”.
He said they had always hoped that she would make a recovery following her admission to the hospital two weeks ago.
“We dip our banners down in honour of her life. We really offer our condolences to her family,” Hlengwa said.
KaMagwaza-Msibi cut her political teeth in the IFP and rose through the ranks to become its national chairperson.
The former mayor of Zululand District Municipality founded the NFP as a breakaway from the IFP in 2011.
After her party secured several seats in the National Assembly and KwaZulu-Natal legislature, former deputy president Jacob Zuma appointed her as the deputy minister of science and technology from 2014 until 2019.
However, after a poor performance by the NFP in the 2019 elections, she did not stay long in the National Assembly due to ill-health.
African News Agency (ANA)