In a rare tribute, senior ANC politicians in KwaZulu-Natal, have put aside their differences to remember the province’s first democratic premier late Dr Frank Mdlalose,  whose role in bringing peace and development is being cherished.

In a funeral service held in Madadeni township, Newcastle in the north of the province, members of the ruling party took turns to praise Mdlalose.

First to pay his glowing tribute was Dr Musa Ngubane, the district mayor of Amajuba (anchored in Newcastle) who said the late Mdlalose, in many aspects, was “a pioneer” and a local “doyen”.

Ngubane told mourners a rare told story, one where Mdlalose was the first black medical doctor from the township and instead of deserting it, he came back to open a medical practice that did not only serve black patients, but later became a breeding ground for other black medical doctors.

Among the black doctors that worked at Mdlalose’s practice was Ngubane himself and later Dr Sbongiseni Dhlomo, the former KZN MEC for health who now chairs parliament’s portfolio committee on health.

“He opened his medical practice in Madadeni and later some black doctors were groomed from it.

Ngubane said “Among them was me and Dr Dhlomo (who was also part of the mourners)”.

Interestingly, Mdlalose was the first mayor of Madadeni, the forerunner of the present Amajuba district municipality and one mourner, current MEC for Health Nomagugu Simelane, remarked that since then, almost all mayors of Newcastle and Majuba, have been medical doctors.

Paying tribute to her father, Makhosazana Mdlalose who is a councillor in the Newcastle municipality, attributed that to the fact that he was an upright man.

“He believed that once you start telling lies you are paving the way to a corrupt route.

“He used to say that if you tell lies, then you can steal (from the public),” Mdlalose’s daughter said in her tribute to her father.

Mdlalose, 89, passed away on Saturday, leaving three children, his wife, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.