Madiba ‘would be proud of defence force’
NELSON Mandela would be proud of the way the SANDF conducted itself during the lying in state of his body in Pretoria, spokesman Lieutenant- General Xolani Mabanga said yesterday.
“It has been a great task, but I think members of the SANDF have worked with discipline and diligence,” he said. “Wherever Tata is, he will say this is the force I established post1994. He will smile and give himself a tap on the shoulder.”
From the deep divisions of apartheid, under Mandela’s leadership, the SANDF had found ways to reconcile.
Defence force members have been instrumental in establishing the necessary decorum during the three days in which Mandela’s body has lain in state.
They have led the motorcade in which his coffin has been transported from 1 Mili- tary Hospital to the Union Buildings. The army band has played the anthem each time Mandela’s coffin has been removed from the hearse.
Guards have kept watch over his coffin and a number of military parades have been conducted at the seat of government. When given a chance to view the body, army personnel filed past, solemnly saluting.
Mabanga said that beneath their professional exterior, the SANDF members were comforting one another.
“They do express their feelings; they do encourage one another. They discuss or draw lessons from whatever is being said about Tata Mandela.”
Top officials were grateful for the conduct of the general force. “They have remained committed and calm in order to help and work with everyone to ensure this event is a success.” – Sapa