ANC, DA express sadness at Ambrosini's death

Johannesburg - The ANC and the DA on Saturday expressed sadness at the death of IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini.

"Dr Ambrosini succumbed to his well-documented fight against cancer, leaving behind a legacy of courageous determination in the face of adversity," ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

"Since he was diagnosed with cancer almost two years ago, Dr Ambrosini has been a resolute and valiant fighter for the rights of people to be in command of their destiny, including the right to choose to use marijuana for medical reasons, a fight he determinedly took to Parliament through his Private Members Bill."

The ANC sent its condolences to Oriani-Ambrosini's family, friends and the IFP.

Oriani-Ambrosini died at his home in Cape Town in the early hours of Saturday morning at the age of 53, his family said.

He had been battling terminal lung cancer for the past 19 months.

ANC Chief Whip Stone Sizani said Oriani-Ambrosini was no ordinary politician.

"Although we did not always agree with his political views, we held him in high regard for his constitutional expertise, remarkable experience on governance matters and for the contribution he made to our democratic transition process as an advisor to IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi," Sizani said in a statement.

"He was a fierce and outspoken debater, a seasoned negotiator, a principled legislator and a passionate politician."

The DA said the country had lost a great man who would be missed.

"He was a fighter for human rights and democracy, a person of integrity who understood and advanced our cause, and a powerful friend," DA federal chairperson Wilmot James said in a statement.

"Mario will be remembered for his unparalleled contribution to Parliament and the defence of our freedom and the Constitution."

He said he saw Oriani-Ambrosini on Tuesday evening.

"He was very ill, but he was courageous enough to leave his friends with tasks in his unfinished agenda for change in South Africa.

"We will honour his legacy by continuing on this journey," said James.

The DA sent its condolences to his family and friends.