Tributes pour in for DA’s James Selfe

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Tributes are pouring in for long-time leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) James Selfe who died earlier on Tuesday, after a long illness at the age of 68.

Selfe was one of the country’s first parliamentarians being elected to the now National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in 1994 and participating in the drawing up of the constitution.

He served on the Committees of Justice and Correctional Affairs and was the DA’s Shadow Minister for Correctional Services.

He was also the opposition party’s Federal Council Chair for almost 20 years until 2019.

DA’s Chief Whip in Parliament, Siviwe Gwarube says, “One of the things I will always admire about him is he always saw the value in even younger politicians, people who had not been there. As long as he had been, he showed great support. He had an open mind, a keen mind to understand the political dynamic and so he was not someone who was static, someone who was testing in understanding. He embraced young leaders within the organisation.”

Meanwhile, DA leader John Steenhuisen has called the late Selfe a pioneer and an unsung hero of South Africa’s democracy.

Steenhuisen says the DA will continue the legacy of Selfe, who enjoyed a 43-year-long political career with the DA and its forerunners.

“He was one of the first politicians in post-democratic history to begin the work of opposing the unfettered power of the ANC majority and to turn South Africa into a living, breathing democracy, where the opposition took up its role as society’s ultimate watchdog. This vital development cannot be understated in a country where accountability is so worryingly evaded. James set the example for many of us in the DA and we will continue this work for our country in his memory,” says Steenhuisen.

Former DA Federal Council Chair James Selfe passes away