By Thys Khiba
Sasolburg – The first democratically elected premier of KwaZulu Natal, Dr. Frank Mdlalose has passed away due to COVID-19 related complications while his wife is still in hospital battling with the same virus.”It is with deep sadness that the IFP announces the passing of our former National Chairperson, Dr Frank Mdlalose, who has succumbed to COVID-19. 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,” said IFP leader, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.The current premier of the province, Sihle Zikalala has pronounced the death of Dr. Mdlalose as an immense loss. The founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi says that the late Dr. Mdlalose was an outstanding servant of South Africa.
“Dr. Mdlalose sits among the rare breed of civil servants, who sacrificed their potentially lucrative careers as full-time medical doctors to dedicate their lives to the service of our nation,” said Zikalala.
Zikalala says Dr. Mdlalose was brave to enter the world of uncertainty and one which was marked by twists and turns when he entered into politics. “While conditions may threaten to overwhelm, they also define leaders who are suited to the time, as Dr. Mdlalose was for the transition from apartheid to democracy.””The period of the late 80s to the 90s was one of the most painful in the life of KwaZulu Natal, witnessing some of the most violent confrontations between the ANC and the IFP.”Meanwhile, Buthelezi says that during the constitutional negotiations, Dr. Mdlalose became the one of the IFP’s main negotiators.”When South Africa achieved democracy in 1994 and electorate placed KwaZulu Natal under the governance of the IFP, we appointed Dr. Mdlalose as the first premier of the province.”
According to the current premier of the province, Sihle Zikalala, the late Dr. Mdlalose and former president of South Africa who was then ANC chairperson of Southern Natal led the first peace efforts between the ANC and IFP via the Peace and Reconstruction Foundation.
Zikalala says Dr. Mdlalose was a leader with eyes fixed firmly on the masses of our people and extending beyond the party line.The late Dr. Mdlalose studied at the University of Fort Hare where he obtained a BSc degree in 1952 and a University Education Diploma in 1953. He was born in KwaZulu Natal, in Nquthu on the 29th November 1931. He is a former member of the ANC Youth League, before becoming one of the founding members of the IFP in 1975.