Family, church and community were pillars of Frank Mdlalose's life, says family
Cape Town – Former Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) national chairperson, Dr Frank Mdlalose, who died from Covid-19, was a wonderful man and a good father, his family said on Sunday.
“We had a happy life, and our father looked after all of us, and our mother, very well. He was a good father.
“It was wonderful to have such a man as father,” a statement issued on behalf Mdlalose’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren read.
“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.”
Earlier, IFP founder Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi confirmed Mdlalose died of Covid-19. No further details were given.
His family said Mdlalose’s pillars in life were his family, community and church, adding that it would be impossible to mention all the contributions he made.
“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 yesterday,” the statement read.
“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.”
Buthelezi described Mdlalose as an outstanding servant of South Africa.
“We extend our condolences to his daughter, Ms Makhosazana Mdlalose, and to his wife who is currently in hospital fighting this virus. We pray for her and we wish her strength,” Buthelezi said.
“Dr Frank Mdlalose was an outstanding servant of South Africa. As one of the first members of Inkatha, he quickly showed his leadership qualities and his ability to ignite a vision in our people.”
Mdlalose served in the former KwaZulu-Natal government in the interior and health departments.
“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,” Buthelezi said.
He said in 1994 Mdlalose was appointed as the first premier of the province and he held both positions until ill-health forced him to relinquish these positions.
Mdlalose was also appointed as South Africa’s ambassador to Egypt, Buthelezi said a position he served with distinction.
“I am grateful to have served our country alongside a leader of his calibre, and to have maintained a friendship with him long after our political work together ended.
“We remained close, exchanging correspondence regularly. I thank the Lord for the opportunity to see one another just six months ago,” Buthelezi said.
“The IFP gives thanks for the life of Dr Frank Mdlalose. May his family be comforted in this difficult time, and may this great patriot rest in peace.”
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader in KwaZulu-Natal Francois Rodgers sent condolences to Mdlalose’s family.
“The DA enjoyed a good working relationship with Mdlalose, during his time as the premier because he strived to include all parties in the post-apartheid dispensation,” Rodgers said in a statement.
He said Mdlalose included the DA in his provincial cabinet under the position of education chairperson.
“Dr Mdlalose served the province and his counter well during his tenure and his passing is a great loss. We send our heartfelt condolences to his party, the IFP and his family, Ulale ngokuthula Nyanda wephahla,” Rodgers said.
“The DA would also like to wish a speedy recovery to Mama Mdlalose who is reported to be in the hospital.”
– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay