On the passing of Dr Ben Ngubane Former Premier of KwaZulu-Natal and former Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology

Statement of condolences by
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Founder and President Emeritus of the Inkatha Freedom Party

The IFP is deeply saddened by the passing this morning of our former Minister and Premier, Dr Ben Ngubane. On behalf of our President the Hon. Mr Velenkosini Hlabisa MPL and the entire IFP, we extend our condolences to Dr Ngubane’s wife and family as they mourn this tragic loss. Dr Ngubane was a remarkable leader who made a tremendous contribution to South Africa’s governance and democracy.

I welcomed his decision to join Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe soon after it was founded, in 1976. He became part of our rapidly growing movement as we reignited political mobilization against oppression, in the absence of the ANC, PAC and other banned political parties. Inkatha became home to the oppressed majority as we struggled for freedom.

Dr Ngubane’s leadership and commitment was evident in the KwaZulu Legislative Assembly, where he served as Minister of Health in the years directly preceding democracy. As we engaged constitutional negotiations, Dr Ngubane formed a valued part of the IFP’s negotiating team.

I was proud to serve alongside him in the Government of National Unity, and in the Cabinet of President Mandela where he served as Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. We were two of only three IFP Ministers in an ANC-dominated Cabinet. But for his strength of character, his work would have been inconceivably difficult.

The IFP remains proud to have fielded Dr Ngubane as one of our Premiers in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Alongside Dr LPHM Mtshali and Dr Frank Mdlalose, Dr Ngubane led the government of KwaZulu-Natal with excellence.

It is painful to think that we have now lost all three premiers from the first decade of democracy. They built strong foundations for economic growth and social justice in KwaZulu-Natal. It is thus devastating to see what is happening now in this province.

As we mourn his passing, Dr Ngubane will be remembered with admiration and gratitude. May he rest in peace.