Political parties pay tribute to Edna Molewa

The ANC says Molewa leaves behind her legacy as an environmentalist.

FILE: Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) says the country and the party has been left poorer after the death of national executive committee member and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

Molewa's passing has sent shockwaves across the country after it was announced earlier on Saturday that she died at a hospital in Pretoria at the age of 61.

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe says Molewa was an agent of social change and played a crucial role in advancing the country's agenda for fundamental social transformation.

Mabe says she was also a champion for workers’ rights and advocated for gender equality.

He says Molewa leaves behind her legacy as an environmentalist.

“We should also honour comrade Edna for her pioneering work in the portfolio in Environmental Affairs. She has built the foundations of a sustainable future for us. Like a true African, she understood how the land nurtures our being, and the dialectical relationship the between human life and nature.”

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) says it’s also shocked by the passing of Molewa.

The party's national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa says that Molewa worked tirelessly in the various positions she held.

Hlengwa says Molewa has done a lot to raise awareness against rhino poaching.

“She leaves behind a legacy to be emulated in so far as the issues of rhino poaching are concerned. And we must continue doing the work that she had so dedicated herself to of ensuring that the environment, and in particular the rhinos, are protected. As the IFP we offer our condolences and may she rest in peace.”

The Presidency says details of the funeral arrangements for the late minister will be announced soon.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared a period of national mourning with immediate effect and ordered that the national flag be flown at half-mast across the country and abroad.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance also sent its condolences to Molewa’s family and friends, as well as to the ANC.

The party said in a statement: “During her tenure as Minister of Environmental Affairs, the Minister did great work raising awareness around the scourge of Rhino poaching. On this day, World Rhino Day, we honour her commitment to this noble cause.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)