Thatcher made great impact - ANC

2013-04-08 18:30
(Picture: Sapa)

(Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - The African National Congress on Monday expressed its sadness at the passing of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who died of a stroke.

In a statement, the ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said that her death signaled the end of a generation of leaders that ruled during a very difficult period characterised by the dynamics of the cold war.

"Her tenure as Prime Minister redefined British politics and public administration and these impacted greatly on the European politics and governance.

"The ANC was on the receiving end of her policy in terms of refusing to recognise the ANC as the representatives of South Africans and her failure to isolate apartheid after it had been described as a crime against humanity, however we acknowledge that she was one of the strong leaders in Britain and Europe to an extent that some of her policies dominate discourse in the public service structures of the world.

"Long after her passing on, her impact will still be felt and her views a subject of discussion"

In a statement, President Jacob Zuma, on behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, also expressed his condolences to the government and the people of the United Kingdom, as well as to the family of Baroness Thatcher.

Zuma said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Baroness Thatcher and the people of the United Kingdom during this difficult time."

Earlier, Sapa reported Inkatha Freedom Party leader leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi as describing Thatcher's death as "devastating".

"I am devastated by the news of [Baroness] Margaret Thatcher's passing this [Monday] morning," Buthelezi said in a statement.

"She is an iconic figure in world history, being the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom, the woman who reversed her nation's decline following World War II, saw victory in the Falklands War, won three elections, and served her country from 1979 to 1990."

However, first and foremost in Buthelezi's mind, Thatcher remained a friend.

The former prime minister would forever command Buthelezi's respect and admiration, not only for her leadership in the United Kingdom, but also on the global stage.

"She was a voice of reason during apartheid and listened attentively to my plea against sanctions and economic disinvestment, which we both recognised would hurt the poorest of our people the most," the IFP president said.

"I was privileged to visit [Baroness] Thatcher at 10 Downing Street in 1986, and was honoured when she specifically travelled to Ulundi to visit me as the chief minister of the erstwhile KwaZulu government."

He said never before had an international dignitary shown such respect for black leadership.

"She displayed all the best features of a trailblazer; the courage of her convictions and a tenacious belief in doing what was necessary and right," he said.

"Her illness in her later years has been difficult to accept, and her death will be more difficult still."

The Freedom Front Plus said Thatcher was a formidable politician who broke the power of Britain's trade unions, said the Freedom Front Plus.

"[We] express our sympathy with the British nation with the passing away of Baroness Margaret Thatcher," FFPlus international relations spokesperson Corné Mulder said in a statement.

"Baroness Thatcher was the only female prime minister to date in British history... She will be remembered for her strong views against communism and socialism."

Mulder said she and former United States president Ronald Reagan, who died in 2004, played a huge role in the final destruction of communism.

"In so doing, she did the world a big favour. She was widely respected and made a big impact on British and world politics," he said.
Read more on:    ff plus  |  anc  |  ifp  |  jackson mthembu  |  jacob zuma  |  corne mulder  |  mangosuthu buthelezi  |  margaret thatcher

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