PINE PIENAAR’S DEATH A ‘HUGE LOSS’: THE HERALD

DA stalwart fondly remembered for his contribution to East Cape

LONG-SERVING DA member, party spokesman and MPL Pine Pienaar died on Sunday. Pienaar, 55, had lung cancer. His son Johan said yesterday he was a dedicated and passionate man who had fought to the end.

“He never lost to cancer but God helped him and took him away,” he said. “The family got so close and we stood at his bedside throughout. He fought for his life until the end. It is terrible for us as a family to let him go, but I think his passing is for the best because we saw him suffering for the past two years. It is time for him to be at peace now.”

Pienaar, a DA member for more than 15 years, served in various capacities in the party – as provincial spokesman for health, sport and transport, chief whip and Nelson Mandela Bay councillor. At the time of his death, he was one of three provincial chairmen.

DA provincial leader and MP Athol Trollip said Pienaar was irreplaceable.

“His passing is a major blow for the party. He was very passionate. It will be very difficult to replace him and he will be absolutely missed. Pine has left indelible footprints in the founding, establishment and consolidation of the DA in the Eastern Cape.

“He had a unique passion and commitment to growing the DA in all communities in the Eastern Cape and his passing will leave an enormous void in the DA,” Trollip said.

“The DA wishes to convey our deepest condolences to the Pienaar family and to thank them sincerely for all the sacrifices they made so that their son, husband and father could serve the people he loved so much. May his soul rest in peace and may his family and friends find solace and peace in the knowledge that Pine Pienaar made a difference in his life on earth.”

UDM provincial chairman Mongameli Bobani described Pienaar as an intellectual.

“As UDM we received the news with great shock. We were together in council and he was a very open-minded and a very intellectual councillor.

“Council has lost one of its intellectuals. His passing is a great loss to the people of the Eastern Cape and the metro. Our deepest condolences to his family and the DA,” Bobani said.

COPE provincial spokesman Nkosifikile Gqomo said: “The Eastern Cape has lost one of its finest parliamentarians. I remember even last year when he was sick, he went to parliament. That showed his dedication. Our condolences go out to his family and the DA.”

The Eastern Cape provincial legislature deputy speaker Bulelwa Tunyiswa also sent her condolences.

“I would like to express my profound and heartfelt condolences on behalf of the legislature, to MPL Pienaar’s family.

“His death is regrettable, and a loss to the legislature considering the work he diligently undertook as an MPL,” she said.

Pienaar is survived by his wife of 26 years Zelda and two children Johan, 22, and Lizelle, 17.

A funeral service will be held at the Dutch Reformed Church, Van Stadens River, at 11am on Thursday, 14 March 2013.