Former Post Office chair and KwaZulu-Natal legal mind Comfort Ngidi died on Saturday evening.
Ngidi, who served as chair of the Post Office in 2015 and on multiple boards including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the KwaZulu-Natal licensing board, was a staunch supporter of former president Jacob Zuma.
He led a team of “concerned” KwaZulu-Natal lawyers on a campaign to discredit former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s controversial report into Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala said on Sunday Ngidi had died in hospital. According to a statement issued by the ANC, Ngidi was admitted to hospital a week ago after he contracted Covid-19.
The ANC praised Ngidi for never forgetting his “political home” as he climbed the legal ladder.
“Comrade Ngidi was grounded and immersed in congress movement politics and its tradition from an early age. He also immersed himself in student politics during his tenure at the then University of Durban Westville (University of KwaZulu-Natal), where he was doing his legal studies,” the party said.
“He will be remembered as one of the cadres who selflessly raised his hand to assist in ushering in democracy when the majority of voters were due to vote for the first time in 1994 and had to be inducted in voter education,” the ANC said.
“Mr Ngidi played a crucial role in the transformation of the justice system in SA, and started his political activism from the union movement. He championed many causes during the struggle for liberation, offering his services to the most vulnerable in our society,” said Zikalala.
PREMIER SADDENED BY THE PASSING OF PROMINENT LEGAL EAGLE MR COMFORT NGIDI
Premier @sziks has on behalf of the Provincial Government expressed shock and sadness at the sudden passing of prominent attorney Mr Comfort Ngidi.
— KZN Provincial Gov (@kzngov) August 30, 2020
In June, Ngidi threatened legal action against three major universities in the province — the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Durban University of Technology and Mangosuthu University of Technology — if they did not resume teaching and learning after closing because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2018, Ngidi withdrew his name as a candidate for the state capture inquiry’s legal and investigative teams, saying time constraints were an issue.
On Sunday tributes poured in for Ngidi on social media. Among them was a tweet from former Post Office CEO Mark Barnes, who shared a picture of himself with Ngidi, former Post office COO Lindiwe Kwele and CFO Jabulani Dlamuka in parliament.
“We mourn the passing of our chair of Sapo, Comfort Ngidi — a gentle giant,” wrote Barnes.
The Black Lawyers Association in Durban hailed Ngidi for epitomising “the fight for the transformation of the legal industry and judiciary”.
Details about Ngidi’s funeral are unknown at this stage.
By Lwandile Bhengu – TimesLIVE