Former DA chief whip Armiston Watson dies

Armiston Watson was the leader of the Democratic Alliance in the National Council of Provinces.

Parliament in Cape Town. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Former Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip Armiston "Watty" Watson has died this morning.

Watson was the leader of the Democratic Alliance in the National Council of Provinces until his selection as chief whip of the official opposition in the National Assembly in 2011.

He held this position until his retirement earlier this year.

It's unclear what the cause of his death was at this stage.

The DA's Wilmot James says his former colleague and friend will be deeply missed.

"His death comes as a real shock to us. We were very saddened. He's been a fabulous member of the Democratic Alliance."

The African National Congress (ANC) has sent its condolences to the family of Watson.

The ANC's Moloto Mothapo said, "We as the nation have lost one of the most remarkable and profoundly patriotic people with deep knowledge of politics in South Africa."