Parliament 'deeply saddened' by Skosana's passing

IFP MP Ben Skosana handed over a gift to Princess Anne on a royal visit in 2003. (Gallo)

IFP MP Ben Skosana handed over a gift to Princess Anne on a royal visit in 2003. (Gallo)

Parliament expressed shock on Wednesday at the death of IFP colleague Ben Skosana, who had been an MP since 1994.

He was a former correctional services minister and National Assembly chairperson.

"Parliament is shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of Mr Ben Skosana," the legislature said in a statement.

"Mr Skosana's sudden passing away yesterday [Tuesday] is even more poignant because it comes in the final term of this Parliament and on the eve of its last State of the Nation address when the country is celebrating its 20th year of freedom."

Skosana (66) collapsed and died in Parliament on Tuesday evening.

A lifelong member of the Inkatha Freedom Party, he represented it at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (Codesa) negotiations, and in 1998 was named correctional services minister.

'Interests of our nation'
Parliament said as an MP, Skosana "strived to place at centre-stage the interests of our nation and the imperative to harness a common national effort to strengthen our nascent democracy. In this respect he did, and achieved, a lot". 

"We will always remember him as a South African, committed to entrenching the democracy for which so many had sacrificed their youth and their lives. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Mr Skosana's family, his friends and his party, the IFP, in this time of sadness and loss.
His presence will be missed, also among us, here, in Parliament. Here, too, tears are shed at the absence of his physical presence among us."

The ANC expressed shock and sadness at Skosana's death. Despite his advanced age he still demonstrated exemplary commitment to his work, put in extra hours and never rested until work was done, the ruling party said.

"Even when his sad passing came, it found him busy at work doing what he loved and lived for, serving the people of South Africa."

Skosana was born in Sharpeville on May 7 1947. – Sapa

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