Direko 'taught ANC leaders'
Johannesburg - Former Free State premier Winkie Direko was a caring person who educated several ANC leaders, the North West branch of the party said on Tuesday.
"We have known Mme [Madame] Direko as a caring leader, mother and grandmother. She was very passionate about education and development in particular," ANC provincial secretary Kabelo Mataboge said in a statement.
"She taught a number of ANC leaders during her career as a teacher and made a point of reminding them of this fact from time to time... She was fondly called 'mistress' by many leaders she moulded from a young age."
Mataboge extended condolences to Direko's family on behalf of the North West province.
The SA Older Persons Forum (Saopf) also expressed sadness and shock at Direko's death.
"She was a role model for young and old and embodied true selfless service to her country and committed herself to the protection and promotion of the rights of vulnerable older persons," Saopf said in a statement.
Direko, 82, died of a stroke on Friday. She was admitted to the Universitas Netcare hospital in Bloemfontein after complaining that she felt ill.
She was born in 1929 in Botshabelo, Bloemfontein.
She was a member of the National Council of Provinces from 1994 to 1999 and premier of the Free State from 15 June 1999 until 26 April 2004.
Direko was the Free State's third premier.