MPs, ministers pay tribute to 'formidable, fearless' Smuts

2016-05-24 18:08
(Dan Calderwood, News24)

(Dan Calderwood, News24)

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Cape Town – Members of Parliament and ministers paid tribute to the late Dene Smuts on Tuesday.

The former DA MP, known for being the first female whip in the National Assembly, died last month.

Smuts served in Parliament for 20 years, from 1989 to 2009. Prior to that, she was a journalist, editor and author. 

With members of her family in the gallery, MPs rose to honour their late colleague, praising Smuts for her contribution.

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery said Smuts had been a formidable political opponent and a good friend.

"She was highly respected by ANC members, and always made a difference," he said.

He described her as an outspoken, fearless, colourful, authentic and dedicated MP.

A great South African 

"She did not blindly follow a party line. She was a creative thinker who solved problems that were acceptable to a wide range of parties," he said.

IFP MP Liezl Van der Merwe called Smuts a brave woman who was not intimidated by politics.

The MP said she had admired the strength shown by Smuts on a daily basis.

"Wherever she was placed, she had a profound effect," she said.

ACDP MP Steve Swart said Smuts had an unwavering commitment to the constitution.

DA's James Selfe said she was first and foremost a legislator.

"She was an old style politician. She wanted to make a difference, which she did, in a profound way. She did not suffer fools gladly and let them know in no uncertain terms," he said.

He said she was prepared to speak the truth as she saw it, without fear. 

"Such people are rare, and rarer still in politics. A truly great South African has passed away."

Read more on:    dene smuts  |  cape town  |  politics  |  parliament 2016

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