Parliament and parties pay tribute to DA veteran James Selfe

Former DA MP and first federal chairperson James Selfe.

Former DA MP and first federal chairperson James Selfe.

Published May 22, 2024


Parliament has sent its condolences to the family of former DA MP and federal chairperson James Selfe and his colleagues in the party.

Spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the national legislature had learnt with profound sadness of the passing of Selfe, who died on Tuesday after a long battle with illness at the age of 68.

“The presiding officers of Parliament, led by the Acting Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Lechesa Tsenoli, and the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Mr Amos Masondo, extend their heartfelt condolences to Mr Selfe’s family, friends, and colleagues in the Democratic Alliance.

“Mr Selfe was a respected figure whose dedication to public service was evident throughout his distinguished career, which spanned several decades,” Mothapo said.

He said Selfe's nearly three-decade-long tenure in Parliament was characterised by an unwavering commitment to vibrant political debate, robust parliamentary oversight, and accountability.

“His articulate and candid contributions in House debates and committee meetings, particularly within the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services, enhanced the work of Parliament and significantly contributed to its robust legislative oversight and accountability.

“His legacy will continue to shape the principles and practices of parliamentary democracy for years to come,” Mothapo said.

ANC national spokesperson Hlengiwe Bhengu-Motsiri said the party had learnt with sadness of the passing of Selfe, who had been a central figure of the country’s body politic for a period of about 30 years.

“When we built our nascent democracy Mr Selfe served as part of the opposition political parties, which contributed to the evolution of the democratic state, the Constitution, transparency and accountability.

“The ANC extends its condolences to the Selfe family and loved ones,” Bhengu-Motsiri said.

Action SA leader Herman Mashaba said he too was deeply saddened by the passing of Selfe.

“It was a privilege to work alongside James, a man for whom I had the utmost respect and admiration. I will always remember his genuine desire to build a better South Africa. He was a true patriot and a dedicated public servant who served his country with distinction,” Mashaba said.

Build One South Africa leader Mmusi Maimane sent his condolences to Selfe’s family, saying he was a committed South African who had spent three decades in service to the people as well as the courts where his legacy of “lawfare” will long outlive him.

“He said Selfe’s ability to develop the South African legal landscape and jurisprudence played a pivotal role in safeguarding the country’s institutions of state from abuse.

“He was a great friend, a trusted adviser and a true statesman, who I was privileged to serve alongside for many years in the DA,” Maimane said.

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald said: “My deepest condolences to the DA and loved ones of James Selfe on his passing. He was an MP who was an asset to Parliament and South Africa.”

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said they mourned the loss of a dedicated servant of their party and the people of South Africa.

“James Selfe's unwavering commitment to liberal democracy and justice leaves an indelible mark on our nation. Rest in peace, democrat. Your tireless commitment to our country and her future will never be forgotten,” Winde said.

IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa extended his party’s sincere condolences to Selfe’s family, friends, colleagues, and all members of the DA.

“His commitment to serving South Africans in Parliament for over two decades will be remembered fondly by all who had the privilege of knowing and working alongside him.

“Honourable Selfe’s contributions to the opposition political landscape were significant, and his legacy will continue to inspire future generations of leaders,” Hlengwa said.

Cape Times