Parliament’s water and sanitation portfolio committee chairman Mlungisi Johnson said on Saturday the committee had learned with shock of Baker’s death.
“The untimely passing of Mrs Baker has left a gaping hole within the committee. She has astutely served with us and was devoted to ensuring that the people of this country get access to quality clean water,” he said.
Death had robbed the committee of one of its sharpest minds, a dedicated MP who was committed to ensuring accountability and attaining a better life for all who lived in the country.
“On Wednesday and Thursday Mrs Baker was part of the committee that sat for two long sessions assessing the implementation of targets by the department of water and sanitation and its entities. As always, her sharp mind and probing questions shone throughout while she maintained her well-known smile. The committee shall indeed miss Mrs Baker and her sterling commitment to her work,” Johnson said.
Inkatha Freedom Party chief whip Narend Singh also extended the IFP’s heartfelt condolences to Baker’s family, friends, and colleagues.
”To the family, friends, and to our colleagues in the Democratic Alliance we extend our most heartfelt condolences. Tarnia Baker was a bright shining light in our parliament and her tragic passing is great loss, not only to the National Assembly but to the country as a whole. Mrs Baker was a very dedicated MP and her presence will be sorely missed,” Singh said.
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces Chairwoman Thandi Modise also offered their condolences.
Parliament’s presiding officers had learnt with shock and deep sadness the news of Baker’s tragic death, the legislature said in a statement.
“Mrs Baker was a dedicated MP who worked hard in service of the people of South Africa. She served in the portfolio committee on water and sanitation as well as the portfolio committee on human settlements with passion, energy, and wisdom.
“Mrs Baker’s untimely passing leaves a deep void within the structures of parliament and robs South Africa of one of its most dedicated public representatives.”
“Mrs Baker’s untimely passing leaves a deep void within the structures of parliament and robs South Africa of one of its most dedicated public representatives. The presiding officers extend their condolences to Mrs Baker’s family, friends, and her political family in the DA. May her soul rest in eternal peace,” the statement said.
Earlier, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said it was “with deep sadness and a broken heart that I can confirm that our colleague Tarnia Baker MP was tragically killed in an accident in KwaZulu-Natal on [Friday] afternoon.”
“Tarnia was in KwaZulu-Natal attending to her oversight responsibilities as a member of the portfolio committee on water and sanitation in [the] Ugu district municipality.
“Tarnia was a committed MP, a wonderful and warm person, and a devoted mother and wife. I have been in contact with Tarnia’s husband and have conveyed the deep condolences of the entire DA family on their sad loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time.
“We will continue the hard work that Tarnia lived so passionately for, but her presence and contribution will be sorely missed. In the coming weeks the DA will honour her memory in parliament in the appropriate way. May her soul rest in eternal peace,” Maimane said.