'Eddie Trent fought for justice for all': DA pays tribute to late former provincial leader

02 January 2021 - 12:27
Former DA Eastern Cape leader Eddie Trent died at the age of 80 from natural causes on Thursday
Former DA Eastern Cape leader Eddie Trent died at the age of 80 from natural causes on Thursday
Image: Central RSA

Former DA Eastern Cape provincial leader Eddie Trent, 80, died from natural causes on Thursday.

In a statement on Saturday, the DA in the Eastern Cape said Trent fought for justice for all and nonracialism, and was both a bridge builder and a nation builder.

A former member of the provincial legislature (MPL) and MP, Trent was described by the party's current Eastern Cape leader, Bobby Stevenson, as a political giant in the history of the province.

“I worked with Eddie since 1983 and he always had the time of day for everyone, assisting thousands of constituents. He was a humble person who could relate to everyone. He displayed true grit and tenacity, not only in the fight against apartheid but also for the liberal values he believed in.”

Trent had a long innings in opposition politics, having served as a public representative in various capacities from 1981 till 2009.

He represented the Port Elizabeth Central Constituency in the old provincial council along with his Progressive Federal Party (PFP) colleague Molly Blackburn.

He was later elected to the old national assembly, where he served till 1994.

“Eddie was a vigorous opponent of apartheid and a strong proponent for the democratic dispensation. In 1994 he was elected as the sole Democratic Party member of the EC Provincial Legislature, where he played a key role in the establishment of the new parliament. He was utterly fearless in speaking out against corruption and maladministration, earning the respect of his opponents for his tough, no-nonsense approach.”

When the DA was formed in 2000, he was elected as the first Eastern Cape provincial leader.

“He travelled the length and breadth of the Eastern Cape, filled with the passionate desire to build a strong alternative to the ANC. Eddie laid the foundation for the rapid growth of the DA in the Eastern Cape. When he left the legislature in 2004, he was given a standing ovation by all parties as a sign of deep respect.”

The then premier, Makhenkesi Stofile, in paying tribute to Trent's role, said: “We are giving you a mandate to fight for our province in the national parliament.”

In 2004 Trent was elected to the National Assembly. He went on to retire in 2009, leaving a proud legacy of distinguished service to the city and province.

He came from a political family who saw service in parliament and in the Nelson Mandela Bay council.

His father-in-law was a former MP and mayor of Port Elizabeth and his late wife, Elizabeth Trent, was the leader of the opposition in the Nelson Mandela Bay council.

“The Trent family was deeply immersed in the politics of the Eastern Cape and Nelson Mandela Bay for decades and their legacy lives on. The DA in the Eastern Cape sends our deepest condolences to his three children, family and friends, and we wish them all the strength they need in their time of mourning,” said Stevenson.

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