Parties praise ‘greatest South African’
Rivals unite in tribute to man who fought for united land
AS HE HAD in life, in death Nelson Mandela drew leaders across the political spectrum together behind his vision of a united nation.
They called on the country to honour the great man by turning his dream of freedom from poverty and want into reality, and to cherish the political freedom already won.
Even feuding Cosatu leaders Zwelinzima Vavi and Sidumo Dlamini went “hand in hand” to visit Mandela’s family.
“As we gather, wherever we are in the country and wherever we are in the world, let us recall the values for which Madiba fought,” said President Jacob Zuma in announcing Mandela’s death on Thursday.
“This is indeed the moment of our deepest sorrow. Yet it must also be the moment of our greatest determination.
“A determination to live as Madiba has lived, to strive as Madiba has strived and not to rest until we have realised his vision of a truly united South Africa, a peaceful and prosperous Africa, and a better world.”
The ANC said his life “gives us the courage to push forward for development and progress towards ending hunger and poverty”.
“As we said of him while still alive, and we say so now, ‘We have you, Madiba, as our nearest and brightest star to guide us on our way. We will not get lost’.”
DA leader Helen Zille said Mandela had given the country “a gift for which we, and successive generations, will be forever grateful”.
“He gave us his vision of a free and inclusive South Africa, and the unwavering belief that such a society could be achieved in his lifetime.
“He was, quite simply, the greatest South African that ever lived. We shall never see his like again.”
She called on South Africans to join hands in mourning his passing and celebrating his life.
“Let us reaffirm his values and recapture his spirit in all we do.”
Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said the country should reflect on the meaning of Mandela’s life.
“Madiba, I think, would have expected us to assume our responsibility now that he has passed on, assume our responsibility and shape the road ahead forever focused on the objectives of keeping our nation united, reconciled with itself and striving for a better life for all the people of our country.
“As he said at some point, freedom is not just getting rid of the shackles of bondage, but it’s also about changing and transforming other human beings so that they too become fulfilled.”
IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi said he would share his memories of Mandela “once the initial shock subsides”.
“So many knew and loved him, and so many loved him having never even met. There will surely be many tears shed in the coming days in all corners of our country, and across the world,” he said.
Agang SA leader Mamphela Ramphele said Mandela had “symbolised the exemplary values that all good people the world over hold dear – integrity, commitment to equality and the well-being of all people irrespective of race, faith, geographic location or position”.
“My personal sadness at losing a father figure and a friend is amplified by the outpouring of grief from people around the world,” said Ramphele.
Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said the statesman had shown that “one person, at the right place, at the right time and with the right approach, can make a huge difference”.
Former PAC leader Bishop Stanley Mogoba said he had fond memories of Mandela as a fellow prisoner on Robben Island, a fellow parliamentarian and, “above all”, as a fellow Methodist and fellow recipient of the World Methodist Peace Award.
“In 1994 Madiba attended the Methodist Conference in Mthatha. At the time, I was the presiding bishop of the Methodist Church.
“What has stayed with me till today is that in that room there were two prisoners: one the head of the Methodist Church, and the other the head of the state and father of our nation.”
Cosatu said Mandela’s example “shines more brightly than ever, and will continue to inspire and guide us for as long as we shall live.
“The best way to honour his memory is to take forward the struggle he led, and obey the call he made during the ANC’s 50th national conference: ‘Here are the reins of the movement – protect and guide its precious legacy; defend its unity and integrity as committed disciples of change; pursue its popular objectives like true revolutionaries who seek only to serve the nation’.”
Suspended Cosatu general secretary Vavi tweeted that he had been part of a tripartite alliance briefing on the mourning period, and had then gone “hand in hand” with Dlamini to the Mandela family home.
Parliament’s leadership, National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu, chairman of the National Council of Provinces Mninwa Mahlangu and their deputies, said a pall hung over the legislature and “real pain chills all who work in its precinct”.
“As the country’s legislature, we must commit ourselves – the majority party together with other parties represented here – to doing more together to bring about an equitable society where freedom is truly felt in all aspects of life by all our people,” they said.
The SA Communist Party said his death marked “an end to the life of one of the greatest revolutionaries of the 20th century”.
“In Comrade Mandela we had a brave and courageous soldier, patriot and internationalist who, to borrow from Che Guevara, was a true revolutionary guided by great feelings of love for his people, an outstanding feature of all genuine people’s revolutionaries.”
MEMORIES: Stanley Mogoba recalls prison with Madiba
TEARFUL TIME: Mangosuthu Buthelezi laments a great loss
GRIEF: Mamphela Ramphele on passing of ‘a father figure’
GRATEFUL: Helen Zille: ‘We shall never see his like again’
LEGACY: Mosiuoa Lekota reflects on Madiba’s legacy