The IFP, as the Official Opposition in KZN Legislature, has learned with shock and sadness of the passing of the former MEC of Education and Finance, Ms Ina Cronje.
Although we crossed swords on policy matters when I served as the Leader of the House – now known as Leader of Government Business – we nonetheless had a good working relationship. She was not simply an MEC during her tenure; her life’s work was entirely dedicated to this country that she loved dearly. Her ability to work effortlessly with opposition parties in the KZN Legislature was largely thanks to her non-dogmatism and candidness, as she worked for the good of the province.
She was brave and uncompromising on matters of principle and organisational discipline. Ms Cronje was both frank and receptive when it came to new ideas.
In her rather quiet manner, Ms Cronje was like a river that looked calm on the surface, yet its depths contained very strong currents. She epitomised calmness and humour, imbued with determination, which was apparent in the progress made in the work to which she dedicated her life.
A former teacher, who later qualified as a lawyer, Cronjé served as a member of the KZN Provincial Cabinet from 2004 to 2014. She was dubbed “Mama Action” during her tenure as Education MEC, and known as the “no-nonsense” Finance MEC who led the provincial Treasury.
She was further appointed as Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party in the Legislature, deputising Harry Gwala. When Gwala died in 1995, she took over as Chief Whip, a position which she held until the 2004 general election.
From 2004 to 2009, Cronjé was the province’s Education MEC. Following the 2009 election, she was appointed as the KZN Treasury MEC – a position she held until 2014.
The IFP would like to send its deepest condolences to the Cronje family, friends, former colleagues, and the ANC.
May her soul rest in peace.
Mr Blessed Gwala MPL
Leader of the Official Opposition in KZN
078 290 5842