PRESS STATEMENT BY
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
It is with deep sadness that the IFP announces the unexpected passing of our former Member of Parliament, and Member of the IFP’s National Council, Mrs Inka Mars. Mrs Mars passed away peacefully in the early hours of this morning, having been admitted to hospital with a lung complaint.
We have extended our condolences to the family through her son, Mr Maurice Mars, and will await details of her funeral service so that proper tribute can be paid to this remarkable servant of South Africa.
I met Mrs Mars in the seventies when she was working for the South African Red Cross in Zululand. Her concern for the struggling people of our region was profoundly encouraging. Through her work, countless families were assisted, both through the devastation of natural disasters like drought, and the daily hardships pf poverty and oppression.
We developed a lasting friendship. Her husband, Dr Paul Ernst Mars, became our family doctor. For years it was he who treated my and my family’s ailments. It was wonderful to have that relationship of trust and friendship with Dr and Mrs Mars.
When I founded Inkatha ye Nkululeko ye Sizwe in 1975, Mrs Inka Mars became an active member. She was a staunch activist for liberation and democracy. Her dynamic nature, that enabled her to get things done under any circumstances, was a tremendous asset to our struggle.
When we began constitutional negotiations in the nineties, Mrs Mars was among our leaders who represented the IFP. Her political acumen was matched by her tenacious courage. I always felt confident that she would serve our country well.
Thus, in 1994, Mrs Mars became an IFP Member of Parliament. She served in this position for 15 years, experiencing the intricacies of governance as well as opposition politics. Her deep care for struggling South Africans remained as a constant feature of her work. She was a true champion of the poor.
I am grateful to Mrs Mars for her loyalty to the IFP over so many years. Today, I mourn the loss of a dear friend, and the passing of a servant of our people.
May Mrs Inka Mars rest in peace.