Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor has conveyed her “heartfelt condolences” following the death of Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi - National Freedom Party (NFP) leader and former deputy minister of science and technology during the reign of former president Jacob Zuma.
Pandor said kaMagwaza-Msibi played an important role in assisting her to steer the department of science and technology when she became the deputy minister in 2014.
“In her, I found a person who was genuinely concerned with the plight of our people, particularly the youth and women from the deep rural parts of our country,” said Pandor.
“From the moment she joined the department, she became, not just the champion but a strong advocate of the use of science and technology to improve the lives of our people.”
The minister said her thoughts and prayers are with kaMagwaza-Msibi’s family “during this time of bereavement”.
“May her soul rest in peace,” she said.
KaMagwaza-Msibi passed away on Monday morning after she was admitted to the Umhlanga Hospital in Durban two weeks ago.
NFP secretary-general Canaan Mdletshe confirmed her death, saying the party was devastated as NFP members had hoped that she would recover.
Mdletshe said she had died as a result of cardiac arrest.
NFP MP Munzoor Shaik Emam said : “She had not been well. I am advised it is Covid-19 related. She has been in the ICU and unfortunately this morning she passed away.”
He said kaMagwaza-Msibi’s untimely death “was indeed a great shock tinged with sadness”.
Mdletshe said the 59-year-old kaMagwaza was not any ordinary politician.
The NFP founder had never fully recovered from the stroke she had suffered in 2014 which affected her mobility.
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, Zuma appointed her as the deputy minister of science and technology from 2014 until 2019.
Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) has also extended its “deepest condolences” to the family, friends and colleagues of kaMagwaza-Msibi.
“Mama Zanele 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,” said ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe.
“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.”
African News Agency (ANA)