The ruling African National Congress has paid tribute to one of the drafters of South Africa’s multi-party constitution as a “valiant fighter” for individual rights, including the right “to choose marijuana for medical reasons”.
Mario Oriani-Ambrosini, a lawyer-turned politician, lost his 2-year fight against cancer about two weeks ago.
After independence in 1994 he became Adviser to Inkatha Freedom Party leader, Mongalisu Buthelezi.
In February 2014, he sponsored a draft legislation calling for the legalisation of marijuana for medical use, following which President Jacob Zuma promised to ask the health minister to look into the matter.
Oriani-Ambrosini had opted for alternative treatment for the disease instead of chemotherapy after his diagnosis over a year ago.
“Since day one when diagnosed with terminal cancer without any previous symptoms, he decided on his course of treatment and adjusted it according to his own research, studies and experimentations,” the IFP, his party of choice, disclosed.
“He remained true to his own character, right up to the end.”
A lawyer-turned-politician of Italian descent, Oriani-Ambrosini was born in Rome in 1960, before moving to South Africa as an adult.
He became involved in the drawing up of the country’s constitution after the end of apartheid in 1994.