KwaZulu-Natal’s first democratically elected premier, Dr Frank Mdlalose, will be laid to rest on Thursday at an official state funeral in Newcastle, northern KZN.
The 89-year-old veteran passed away on Sunday from Covid-19-related complications in the hospital.
Dr Mdlalose was the IFP’s former national chairperson and also served as South Africa’s ambassador to Egypt.
At the weekend, former IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi paid tribute to Mdlalose, saying he 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. He served in my cabinet in the former KwaZulu government, as minister of the interior and then minister of health,” Buthelezi said in a statement.
“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.”
Buthelezi said he was grateful to have served the country alongside a leader of Mdlalose’s calibre, saying he had maintained a friendship with him long after their 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.
“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.”
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