ID President Patricia de Lille has sent her ‘heartfelt condolences' to the family of struggle icon and human rights activist Fatima Meer. ‘On behalf of the Independent Democrats, I would like to extend my most sincere and heartfelt condolences her family,' Ms De Lille says. ‘South Africa has lost a leader, a mother, a distinguished academic and a powerful advocate of gender equality. The news of Professor Meer's passing comes at a time when our nation is in desperate need of quality leadership and this is yet another reason why her passing is such a huge loss for our country. ‘She was an exceptional women who championed the cause of the poor at the forefront of our struggle against the Apartheid regime,' says De Lille. ‘As we mourn her passing we must also celebrate everything that she stood for and it is my hope that more of today's leaders will follow in her footsteps in putting the interests of the poor and downtrodden before their own selfish interests. ‘We pray that God will grant her family the strength and courage they will need to get through the difficult weeks and months ahead,' De Lille says.