Eveline de Klerk
Walvis Bay-President Hage Geingo has described the late Namibian politician and former member of parliament Jacobus ‘Kosie’ Willem Francois Pretorius as “a veteran of the Namibian political spectrum” and “one of the founders of independent Namibia” for his role in the drafting of the Namibian constitution.
“Pretorius played his role in contributing to Namibia’s democracy as a member of parliament. He always asked well researched questions and showed the utmost respect to whoever he was posing the question to. His questions were never aimed at political points scoring but were genuinely aimed at seeking clarity on critical issues of national concern,” said Geingob.
Pretorius died on July 14 at the age of 81 years in Walvis Bay where he has lived since his retirement from active politics. He was born on September 5, 1935, in Swakopmund.
Pretorius served as the chairman of the white conservative political party Monitor Action Group and as the party’s lone parliamentary representative since independence until 2005.
The Pretorius family held a memorial service in Walvis Bay on Saturday morning where Councillor Hafeni Ndemula read out President Hage Geingob’s message of condolence to the family.
Geingob said it was expected of Pretorius, who had emerged from the apartheid era governance architecture, to have different views and distrust between him and those who had returned from exile, the latter having fought a long and bitter struggle against apartheid South Africa.
The president said Pretorious nevertheless agreed to hold hands with Namibians from different persuasions.
“I was impressed by his cool-tempered demeanour and his gentlemanly disposition… I was surprised that such a gentleman could have fit into the pre-independence apartheid architecture,” Geingob said of his many encounters with the late Pretorius.
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjivivi, hailed Pretorius as a seasoned parliamentarian who dedicated his life and passion to deliberate and find solutions on bread-and-butter issues.
“That is how we will remember him. A man that carried the interest of the entire nation, sometimes at the expense of his family. A product of his time who transitioned through to the new independent Namibia. Despite the different beliefs that we shared he shared one common goal with the rest of us, which was to unite Namibia and bring peace and stability,” Katjavivi said.
He added that it is only fitting and fair to honour Pretorius in parliament, where he dedicated his life and time selflessly for Namibians.
The late Pretorius will be cremated during a private ceremony by his family.