Hansard: Joint Sitting: Debate on celebration of Mandela Day
House: Joint (NA + NCOP)
Date of Meeting: 07 Jul 2009
No summary available.
Wednesday, 8 July 2009 Take: 165
WEDNESDAY, 8 JULY 2009
PROCEEDINGS AT JOINT SITTING
Members of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces assembled in the National Assembly Chamber at 12:03.
The Speaker of the National Assembly took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
CELEBRATION OF MANDELA DAY: The ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC (Mr K P Motlanthe)
START OF DAY
CELEBRATION OF MANDELA DAY
(Subject for Discussion)
The ACTING PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC (Mr K P Motlanthe): Hon Speaker, hon Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, hon Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, hon premiers, hon members, representative of Salga, directors-general and other leaders of the public service, distinguished guests, comrades and friends, fellow South Africans, I thank you most sincerely for giving me the privilege to address this special Joint Sitting of Parliament on the occasion of celebrating the life of the esteemed member of the Order of Mapungubwe, internationally decorated Nobel Peace Laureate, Isithwalandwe Seaparankwe, and former President of our Republic, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. [Applause.]
On this occasion we celebrate the 67 years that Madiba has given of his life to building a better South Africa and a better world. Understanding only too well that like everything in life, progress and change require a great mobilisation of social forces, Nelson Mandela involved himself in all forms of struggles of communities wherever he lived.
As a student, Madiba struggled to improve the conditions at Fort Hare University and later, through the ANC and in government, he strove to address the challenges facing the youth of our country. As you are aware, Madiba was an avid boxer in his younger days. In later years he did much to highlight the importance of sport in building national unity.
Who can forget Madiba holding the Rugby Webb Ellis Trophy above his head when the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup for the first time in 1996, or the excitement on his face when we won the right to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup? These were indeed defining moments of our nation.
Madiba, the lawyer, placed himself at the disposal of the disadvantaged people who were suffering from the injustices of apartheid. Madiba marched in the frontline as the ANC was forced to embark on new forms of struggle – from the mass action of the Defiance Campaign against Unjust Laws, the drafting of the Freedom Charter at the Congress of the People in 1955, the Treason Trial which began in 1956, to the formation of uMkhonto weSizwe.
Faced with the apartheid regime which was incapable of hearing the cries of the black majority and which responded with increasing violence and repression, uMkhonto weSizwe launched the armed struggle.
The Manifesto of uMkhonto weSizwe published on 16 December 1961 stated, and I quote:
The time comes in the life of any nation when there remains only two choices – submit or fight. That time has come now to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defence of our people, our future and our freedom.
For their part in this, Madiba and his comrades, who included uBaba Andrew Mlangeni, an hon Member of this House – Isithwalandwe - were sentenced to life imprisonment. [Applause.] We all know that Madiba toiled in prison for 27 years for leading a struggle against the inhumane apartheid system. His fortitude and integrity during this difficult period inspired millions of oppressed people and peace-loving democrats all over the world.
The way he conducted himself during his incarceration represented not only the irrepressible human spirit in the face of adversity, but also the possibility of a refreshing new dawn in human society. Yet even from his prison cells on Robben Island, and in Pollsmoor and Victor Verster Prisons, he played a crucial part in achieving a peaceful transition from the apartheid state to a democratic South Africa.
His persona gives meaning to the multitudes of people who aspire to and share the vision of a world free of oppression, exploitation, hunger and disease.
As the first President of our Republic to be elected by all the people of South Africa he steered us through those difficult years of transition, forging a new nation from the divisions of the past.
His imprisonment meant that Madiba as a father was not able to give his own biological children the affection and attention they deserved. His love of children is well known and he has extended this love to children all over the world. He has given particular attention to improving the lives of children through his foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, and has focused attention on those infected and affected by HIV and Aids.
Madiba, the moral leader has, on the international stage, continually been called upon to resolve disputes all over the world and to give inspiration to the people of our planet. Madiba has made the world a better place. Let us emulate his confidence, his humility, his determination, his strength and his vision. Today we honour this extraordinary being, a sage of our age whose life represents the triumph of human will for justice, equality, democracy and progress.
Next week, on 18 July, when Madiba celebrates his birthday, we are called upon to spend at least 67 minutes of our time doing something useful in our communities. The 67 minutes relates to the 67 years Madiba spent in public life.
During this allocated time, when the world celebrates the life of a legend, we shall find meaningful expression in a minimum contribution of 67 minutes to those less fortunate. On this seminal day, when we respond to the call for contributing towards the welfare of those in need, we need to be imbued with the values, principles and ideas that inspired Madiba's life.
Our actions should be motivated by the vision that drove Madiba's life, a life dedicated to social transformation. We need to remember that the struggle for human equality that Madiba personified was not consummated by the achievement of freedom and democracy in April 1994, because, by definition, freedom means the recognition of necessity, and democracy means, in the words of the Freedom Charter, that "The people shall govern and no government can claim authority unless it is based on the will of the people." [Applause.]
As South Africans we have a host of accumulated disabilities that we have to grapple with: the stubborn problem of poverty, underdevelopment in many areas of our country, ignorance, disease and unemployment.
For many, freedom, justice and democracy remain a mirage that keeps shimmering tantalisingly on the horizon. The fight for freedom all over the world continues to find nourishment from the legacy of this wonderful leader of our people. Thus, many of us continue to draw inspiration from the life of this exceptional human being, facing the challenges of our generation with the firm confidence that we will achieve during our generation what Madiba and his comrades achieved during their generation.
So these 67 minutes of giving our time to help out others is a way of reminding ourselves that, working together, a new world is possible. It is a way of promoting the spirit of helping others even as we face our own challenges.
Equally, we are confident that these 67 minutes of free contribution to communities on Madiba's birthday will reach a critical mass, which will bring about a new consciousness that leads to a culture of working for the improvement of human life.
Indeed, the best way to honour Madiba's life is by injecting this spirit of sharing into the bloodstream of our daily lives, so that even the mere thought of poverty and homelessness, unemployment and disease, among other ills, make us sleepless at night and spur us to act at all times.
The distress of others should continue to be a source of discomfort to all of us, and drive us to act for change.
I quote: "Working together for the common good of our nation" – the theme of today's Joint Sitting - demands that we see each other as potential partners in the fight for a better life for our people. [Applause.]
All of us gathered in this Chamber - Ministers and Deputy Ministers, premiers and MECs, hon members and MPLs, mayors and councillors - need to ensure that we spend at least 67 minutes of our time on Madiba's birthday engaging in meritorious activities.
We hope that through our actions we can inspire others to do the same. We trust that public servants, traditional leaders, the religious fraternity, sportspeople, musicians and artists, businesspeople, workers, students, the youth and the aged will join hands in this event to improve the lives of the vulnerable in our communities. We should therefore act in concert as social partners, in a quest to bring about change for our people.
This debate takes place in the midst of a global recession, more severe than anything we have seen for a long time. Like the rest of the world, we find ourselves affected by the global economic downturn which has demanded of us to devise a common national response that will place us back on the road to improving the lives of all our people for the better.
We need to take strength and inspiration from the life of Nelson Mandela even as we wade though this economic crisis, enhanced by our ability to help others. Following Madiba's example, we should work closer together as government, nongovernmental organisations, community-based organisations, labour and business, ensuring that we bring our collective weight to bear on the achievement of the common good for our nation.
On 18 July all of us are called upon to respond to a moral imperative. In those 67 minutes, each one of us should involve ourselves in reawakening the spirit of human solidarity – genuine human solidarity not phoney or pretentious solidarity. And here, hon Speaker, may I share with you the story that is often told of two friends who were walking through the game park and all of a sudden saw a lion about to attack them. The one friend knelt down to fasten his boot laces, ready to run away. The second friend said to him, "Why are you preparing to run away? We cannot outrun the lion but if we attack it - I will attack it from the front and you attack it from the back - we can overcome it." The friend who had knelt down to fasten his boot laces said, "I have no intentions of outrunning the lion, because it can only feed on one of us. I will outrun you!" [Laughter.] That is not the kind of solidarity we are speaking of. [Laughter.]
However, we should all regard the 67 minutes as the beginning of a much longer effort. It is through helping others that our ability to deal with our own problems and challenges will be enhanced.
In each and every one of us resides the potential to fashion a united and cohesive society in which all can stand proud as one family, under the sun.
In conclusion, let us draw from Madiba's rich contribution to our world outlook by quoting from his inaugural address in 1994 when he said, "Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long must be borne a society of which all humanity will be proud." I thank you. [Applause]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY / VM/ END OF TAKE
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon members, in his message to the World Social Forum in Mumbai in 2004, President Nelson Mandela remarked that, and I quote:
We owe a huge debt to future generations in the form of a better world. It has to be a better world - one in which the rights of every individual are respected, one that builds on the past aspirations for a good life, and one that enables every individual to optimally develop their potential.
It is therefore very fitting that our Parliament has decided to provide leadership on this celebration of our legacy of advancing humanist and moral values which the honourable Nelson Mandela, as the leader of the ANC and our nation, has championed with distinction.
The ubuntu values and principles embodied in the person of Nelson Mandela are rooted in our glorious past ... [Applause.] ... as African people who, under his leadership and that of many others, successfully fought for our freedom and independence and equality for all.
Nelson Mandela joined the ANC at the height of World War II and banded together with other young people under the leadership of Anton Muziwakhe Lembede. These young people set themselves the formidable task of transforming the ANC into a mass movement deriving its strength from the unlettered millions of working people in towns and the countryside, peasants in the rural areas and professionals.
Nelson Mandela and his comrades, like the founders of African democracy, notably W E B Du Bois and Marcus Garvey, espoused a radical African nationalism, grounded in the principle of national self-emancipation and self-determination. Together with David Bopape, Walter Sisulu, O R Tambo and others, he composed the ANC Youth League subcommittee that drew up the 1949 Programme of Action. This programme was aimed at the attainment of full citizenship as well as direct and democratic parliamentary representation for all South Africans.
In policy documents he co-authored, the ANC Youth League paid special attention to the redistribution of land, trade union rights, education and culture. The ANC Youth League aspired to achieving free and compulsory education for all children, as well as mass education for adults.
Having been admitted as attorneys who established a law firm, Tambo and Mandela rose to professional status in society. However, every case in court, every visit to prisons to consult with clients, reminded them of the humiliation and suffering experienced by their people. Mr Justice Ramsbottom refused to strike Nelson Mandela off the roll of practising attorneys on the grounds of his conviction under the Suppression of Communism Act. The learned judge found that Mandela had been moved by a desire to serve his black fellow citizens and nothing he had done showed him to be unworthy to remain in the ranks of this honourable profession. [Applause.]
During the early '50s Nelson Mandela played an important part in leading the resistance against the Western Areas removals and the introduction of Bantu education. He also played a leading role in popularising the Freedom Charter, which was adopted by the one and only Congress of the People in 1955. [Applause.]
After the collapse of the Treason Trial in 1961, Nelson Mandela delivered a keynote address at an All-In-Africa Conference in Pietermaritzburg. In his electrifying address that anticipated the Constitution Act of 1996, which gave birth to the constituent assembly, which, in turn, gave birth to our current Constitution, Mandela challenged the apartheid regime to convene a national convention, representative of all South Africans, to thrash out a new constitution based on democratic values and principles. Our icon believed in peace and development, and only encouraged violent forms of political struggle when the regime left him with no other choice.
In his prosecution of the struggle, our beloved icon appreciated the role of international solidarity. While in Ethiopia in 1962, he addressed the conference of the Pan-African Freedom Movement of East and Central Africa to solicit international support for the struggle for liberation and freedom in South Africa.
Mandela anticipated the transformation of the judiciary that President Zuma called for in this House in his address to the top judges of our country on Monday, 6 July 2009, this week.
Answering a charge for leaving the country without a passport, Mandela replied that he considered the prosecution a trial of the aspirations of the African people. Thereafter, Mandela decided to conduct his own defence and applied for the recusal of the magistrate on the ground that in such a prosecution, a judiciary controlled entirely by whites was an interested party and, therefore, not impartial.
He also argued that he owed no duty to obey the laws of a white parliament in which his people were not represented. Mandela prefaced his defence with the affirmation: "I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or a white man." [Applause.]
After his conviction for leaving the country illegally, Mandela made a historic, antidomination statement, and I quote:
I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
Hon members, we sit here now because that ideal has been achieved. Pat yourselves on the back. [Applause.]
Upon his release on 11 February 1990, Mandela wholeheartedly devoted his life and work to strive to attain democratic values and principles which the founding fathers and mothers of the ANC set out to achieve decades ago.
Mandela has never wavered in his devotion to democracy, equality and learning. Despite terrible provocation, he has never answered racism with racism. His life has been an inspiration in South Africa and throughout the world to all who are oppressed and deprived, and to all who are opposed to oppression and deprivation.
In a life that symbolises the triumph of the human spirit over man's inhumanity to man, Nelson Mandela accepted the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of all South Africans who suffered and sacrificed much to bring peace to our land. The progressive values and principles that Mandela embodied became abundantly evident in his 1993 Nobel lecture. First and foremost, he acknowledged other recipients of the award, including Frederik de Klerk, Chief Albert Luthuli, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Martin Luther King Jr. He pointed out in particular that Martin Luther King grappled and died in an effort to make a contribution to the just solution of the same grade of issues of the day that we have had to face as Africans.
Madiba summed up these issues in a more definite and emphatic way, and went on to declare, I quote:
We stand here today as nothing more than as representatives of millions of our people. The countless human beings both inside and outside the country had the nobility of spirit to stand in the path of tyranny and injustice without seeking selfish gain. They recognised that an injury to one is an injury to all, and therefore acted together in defence of justice and common decency.
Hon members, we must be proud today as we sit here that the honourable President Jacob Zuma has been able to link the humanity that Nelson Mandela called for to the priorities that this government has set for itself. In his state of the nation address and in response to the debate, President Jacob Zuma ably said that we cannot fully recover the humanity of all, unless there is decent work all, unless there is quality and affordable education for all, unless all of us can live in peace and security in our houses.
So, we are pleased as the ANC to see that the agenda that Nelson Mandela set for our nation is the agenda that this House has set for itself; is the agenda that we are going to pursue together, working together. I think that the call that the Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has made in regard to 18 July is a call that all of us will pursue.
In conclusion, I am pleased to say that in our Chief Whip's Forum, all the parties undertook to work for this same common good that Nelson Mandela set out to work for. I want to thank you, hon members, for an opportunity to address you on this important day. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION / MC / END OF TAKE
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr Speaker, hon members of the Joint Sitting, it is indeed my honour to pay my party the DA's respect to Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Bawo, uhlobo oyizichaza ngayo indlela okhule ngayo eQunu iyayichukumisa intliziyo yam njengommi waseMpuma-Kapa.
Your colourful description of growing up in a rural village resonates with many of us, and I quote:
I was born free to run in the fields, to swim in the clear stream that ran through my village, to roast mealies under the stars and ride the broad backs of slow moving bulls.
This showed an innocent naivety which soured when you later came to learn that this freedom was an illusion under colonial and apartheid repression.
You, Sir, were able to turn circumstances designed to degrade and destroy you and your people into a triumph over diversity. You taught us also that the oppressor needs to be liberated just as much as the oppressed, that a man full of hatred is a prisoner behind the bars of his prejudice and has been robbed just as surely of his humanity.
It is a matter of national importance that we as members of this House continue to strive to set an example by adhering to the moral direction that has been your loadstar. We have all observed you display unique humanitarianism even in your venerable age by showing devoted care for those less fortunate than ourselves, to establishing funds and homes for your beloved children and by your unconditional love of those infected and affected by HIV and Aids.
Nelson Mandela means so much to all of us. To me he exemplifies reconciliation. To my son, who went to school in 1994, he represents true freedom and democratic hope. To my colleague the hon Dr Wilmot James, who co-edited the book Nelson Mandela: From freedom to the future, he says he adores and respects the man because he lives by his word and embraces others with love. I could go on and on, but rather the symbolically significant 67 DA members of the National Assembly and our 10 colleagues in the National Council of Provinces, will pay our collective respect to Nelson Mandela by committing ourselves to dedicating at least 67 minutes every 18 July to assisting and providing extraordinary care and support to the needy communities in our constituencies, with special attention to institutions caring for children and the aged in our society. [Applause.]
You said that you were moved to serve by the tales of valour by your ancestors who fought wars in defence of your fatherland, by people like Dingane, Bambatha, Hintsa, Makana, Ndlambe, Sekhukhuni and others. We, too, are moved to serve by your example of service and reconciliatory nation-building. However, allow me to remind this Assembly of what we actually need to do to pay honest tribute to Nelson Mandela and to succeed as a country.
We would be fooling ourselves if we thought 67 minutes a year is enough to bring to fruition Madiba's dreams. We and the ANC in particular must honour and implement Madiba's philosophy and ideals every day of the year. The DA believes in an open-opportunity society for all, where people can reach their full potential by improving their skills to allow them to follow their dreams. Let me illustrate that President Mandela, too, believes in an open-opportunity society for all, but that the actions of the current ANC represent the opposite. [Interjections.]
About human rights he says the following, and I quote:
South Africa's foreign relations will be based on our belief that human rights should be the core concern of foreign relations. South Africa will not be indifferent to the rights of others. Human rights will be the light that guides our foreign affairs.
At the moment our foreign affairs policy is guided by political solidarity with former liberation movements and anti-Western sentiments, the consequences of which is that human rights take a back seat to appeasement and compromise. This happened constantly under President Mbeki's watch. Now, too, under President Zuma, our failure to condemn the African Union for ignoring the International Criminal Court's warrant of arrest for President Omar Al-Bashir is an indication of unacceptable tolerance for violators of human rights. [Applause.]
About providing opportunities, Madiba says:
Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves.
That is the essence of the open-opportunity society.
If the ANC could just, once again, embrace the ideals that our iconic Nelson Mandela embodied, it would have achieved much and honoured him appropriately. The wonderful thing is that we can meet today in this country, as the hon Chief Whip said, and pat ourselves on the back because we had an exemplary leader in Nelson Mandela; somebody who is glorified and held in the highest esteem all over the world. We were indeed fortunate as a country to have somebody like him at a time when we needed him more than ever before. So, we were lucky, and it is an honour to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Rev H M DANDALA
END OF TAKE
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
Rev H M DANDALA: Speaker, hon Acting President, hon members, we as South Africans have been truly blessed to be a country that has brought forth this great child of the universe. I say this because Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela belongs to all of us.
He belongs to the Mandela family and to all South Africans whose freedom mattered to him so much that he gave up his own freedom. He also belongs to the many countries of this world and its people who have honoured and recognised him, naming streets and institutions after him long before we, as a country, could. This made sure that the name Mandela was not forgotten when he was still on Robben Island.
It is also worth recognising today the role of Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who steadfastly stood by him and suffered a great deal for doing so. [Applause.] We ought to be grateful that we are the primary beneficiaries of this monumental sacrifice spanning over 67 years to liberate this country. He is now the icon of peace, resilience, reconciliation and nation-building; a true example of the good that can come out of extremely difficult circumstances, hence Cope welcomes a global day celebrated in his honour.
Our new democracy is called upon to emulate his life and his shining deeds. It must emulate his values of humanity, human dignity, moral uprightness and freedom in order to succeed. We have to ask ourselves pointedly: What is it that we are doing to build on this legacy? This is about upholding the institutions of our democracy. It is about fighting the poverty that our poor people are enduring. It is about respect by the young and old alike in our society today, as well as transparent and clean governance across our country, tolerance of divergent views and respect for democracy. We are indeed celebrating an extraordinary gift to our land today.
I will personally forever recall fondly an event at a peace rally in Vosloorus in 1995. I had been asked to lead the prayers for that rally. I had prepared hard for this meeting. Chief Buthelezi came in, and Mr Mandela came in accompanied by Mr Pik Botha. I wasn't sure what to do because I had not expected Mr Pik Botha to be there. But I decided that I would stick with the prayers that I had prepared. At the end of the prayers I heard somebody stepping forward and tapping me on the shoulder. And it was Mr Mandela. He said to me: "I am here with Mr Pik Botha, a leader of the largest white tribe in our country. Could I ask you to pray for him too?" [Applause.]
And so I took time and prayed for Mr Pik Botha. All those who were there and heard the story said: "What an extraordinary gift we have in Mr Mandela."
So, as Cope we will encourage ... [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon members, order! Allow the speaker to be heard.
Rev H M DANDALA: On 18 July we will encourage our communities to reach out to each other across the racial and class divides in honour of the reconciliation project that embodies our own Nelson Mandela. If all we do on this day is to reach out to even one member of a community that is different from our own, we as South Africans would have succeeded in honouring this icon of our people.
To our leaders across the country today we ask: How are we emulating his ways of humility - where he was prepared to listen to people, prepared to respect the courts of this land, and respect the institutions of our democracy? His honest and genuine manner of reaching beyond his party is what we must carefully study if his legacy is to be observed. Sometimes we feel it is sorely missing. His ability to see criticism not as an attack on the soul of his party is something many of us are yet to learn.
To Madiba, Cope says: May you see many more. You are an inspiration to all of us to defend the Constitution that you fought and sacrificed so much to bring about. Your wisdom and leadership shall always light the way for many across the entire universe. A global day named after you is a well-deserved accolade for you and, in turn, the people of South Africa and Africa. You are proof that this continent is the mother continent and the future of all humanity. May you live long. [Applause.]
Prince M G BUTHELEZI
END OF TAKE
Rev H M DANDALA
Prince M G BUTHELEZI: Xhamela, hon Speaker, hon Deputy Speaker, hon Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, hon Ministers, hon MECs, hon members, comrades all, today we have come to celebrate not only the life of the most famous icon of our time but, more importantly, of a man, a husband, a father and a grandfather too who we love and cherish very deeply. It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to have known Madiba and to be able to call him a friend of many decades.
Madiba will always be remembered for the way he gave expression to reconciliation, as has been said so eloquently by other members, in the truest meaning of the word. He concluded that ultimate liberation can only be accompanied by liberating the oppressed as well as the oppressor.
So, is this not a man who now on his 91st birthday remains a man of our time? Yes. And in a 100 years' time, too. I have no doubt that Madiba was the right man to lead a stricken country like ours. His words and actions transformed the consciousness of a nation. Recalling the lyrical heights of Roosevelt's famous cry, he taught us that the only thing we need to fear is fear itself. Do we all not, including America's first African-American President, Barack Obama, walk in the light of Madiba's creed of nonracialism?
We pay tribute to Andrew Mlangeni and all the others who shared that incarceration with him. [Applause.] At the end of the day a tribute to this icon is a tribute to all of us who he inspired to play one role or another in the liberation struggle of our people. Many in this House will have their favourite memories of Madiba, but we have a beautiful lady - a very beautiful lady in our midst - Ms Winnie Nomzamo Madikizela-Mandela ... [Applause.] ... who knows Madiba better than anyone of us. Today we honour the mother of the nation as well. Her sacrifices were no less than those of her beloved Madiba which he made for all of us. [Applause.]
When Ms Mandela and I perchance bumped into each other yesterday at the airport, we recalled that there was much laughter in Madiba's home, which I had the privilege to visit many times before his incarceration. You will remember that on the last occasion I took to this podium, hon members, I recalled the delicious meals that she prepared on those visits. [Applause.] I have news for you: This wonderful lady can cook. [Laughter.] [Laughter.] And I do believe the laughter still continues, and I know the lady will bring some of this to this House as well. We are also fortunate to have Inkosi Mandla Mandela, Madiba's grandson, in this House, who is the heir to his grandfather's legacy. We wish him well in this great task. Aah Zwelivelile!!! [Applause.]
Each precious memory and story here today will contain a unifying theme. Madiba has always treated everyone of us with equal respect and does not distinguish between the so-called "ordinary" and the "great" in his dealings.
The SPEAKER: Hon member, I regret to tell you know that your time has expired. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
Prince M G BUTHELEZI: Can I request ...
The SPEAKER: Okay. Just conclude, hon member. [Applause.]
Prince M G BUTHELEZI: Thank you, Xhamela. Could we not on this day perhaps lay aside grandiloquent thoughts and, instead, strive to make former President Mandela's old-fashioned manners fashionable again? Did the Chief Whip of the Majority Party not say this about Acting President Kgalema when we speak in this House? As true Africans we cannot say "Kgalema" like that to the President. [Interjections.]
The finest way we can honour Madiba's legacy is not with towering monuments, but by how we emulate his grace in our daily lives. It falls to few to lead nations, but it falls to each one of us to build the nation. Xhamela, with your permission, can I ask all the male hon members to get onto their feet so that we can pay, in true African tradition, a tribute to this great man. [Applause.] Men only! Men only! [Interjections.] Aah!
HON MEMBERS: Aah!
Prince M G BUTHELEZI: Dalibhunga!
HON MEMBERS: Dalibhunga!
The MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS: Hon Speaker! Mr Speaker! On a point of order, I did not think that was allowed in this Chamber. We are all hon members of equal status here. [Laughter.] [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Hon members, please take your seats. I did not ask you to stand up, hon members. [Laughter.] Remain seated until I tell you to stand up. Continue, hon Greyling.
Mr L W GREYLING / GM / END OF TAKE
Prince M G BUTHELEZI
Mr L W GREYLING: Speaker, the ID wholeheartedly endorses the concept of Mandela Day. We believe that this is a fitting tribute to an icon who has given so much to this country.
During our early years as a new-found democratic nation when we were still trying to find each other as South Africans, President Mandela led the way in showing us how to overcome our fears and centuries-old divisions. He literally embodies the values which we as a nation are still striving to inculcate in the fabric of our society.
Whenever we feel oppressed by the horror of what is now, we can look to the example of Nelson Mandela and draw strength from the hope of that which is still being built in this country. His remarkable nature is testimony to the remarkable spirit of this country and the fact that by following his example of compassion and an overwhelming sense of humanity, we can overcome any challenge as a nation.
The ID believes that this should not just be expressed on Mandela Day but should rather become the spirit which continually drives all of us as we build a prosperous and united South Africa. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N M KGANYAGO
END OF TAKE
Mr L W GREYLING
Mr N M KGANYAGO: Mr Speaker, Deputy President, Members of Parliament, there is no doubt about the appropriateness of paying tribute to the honourable Nelson Mandela, a man who contributed well and wisely to the welfare of humanity. But we need to be very careful that the institution of a Mandela Day does not trivialise the man and his extraordinary legacy.
We also need to take into account Madiba's views. He has often said that he does not want to be placed on a pedestal and regarded as a saint. Therefore we owe it to him to celebrate him in ways that replicate his courage, his humility, his intellect, his willingness to sacrifice, his capacity to forgive and his wisdom in acknowledging the humanity of others.
Madiba has dedicated much of his time to the advancement and upliftment of all South Africans. Therefore, celebrating such a day must not merely be about saying to our children that Nelson Mandela was a great South African who led us to greater heights, but also about saying to our children that, just like Nelson Mandela, they too can be great South Africans. I thank you. [Applause.]
Dr C P MULDER
END OF TAKE
Mr N M KGANYAGO
Dr C P MULDER: Speaker, this is quite a fascinating debate. It was interesting for me to hear the hon Leader of the Opposition trying to convince us that Mr Mandela was actually a closet DA supporter. [Laughter.]
The Acting President referred to the example of the lion. Now, it is said that the way to survive in the current difficult economic and political times of 2009 is to be a firm believer in human rights. If any human, stronger or richer than you, says something, you say: "Right." [Laughter.]
Now, this is also not the kind of value that we would like to instil when we celebrate when we celebrate Mandela Day. Mandela Day is an annual celebration of former President Mandela's life, and is a global call to action for people to recognise the individual's power to make an imprint and change the world around them.
Dit is besonders belangrik dat mense sal besef dat hierdie dag nie net kan gaan oor die herdenking van Mnr Mandela en sy lewe nie, maar dat dit juis sal gaan oor waardes van baie dieper, waardes wat elke individu sal laat besef dat, as persoon, jy op die regte oomblik en die regte tyd 'n wesenlike verskil kan maak in die lewens van almal rondom jou.
As ons dit in Suid-Afrika verstaan, aanvaar en uitleef in elke dag van ons bestaan, dan kan ons werklik 'n verskil maak en sal daar werklik sin kom uit die herdenking van Mandeladag op 18 Julie. Ons sal daaraan deelneem. Baie dankie. [Applous.]
Rev K R J MESHOE
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Dr C P MULDER
Rev K R J MESHOE: Speaker, the ACDP wholeheartedly supports the call by the Nelson Mandela Foundation for 18 July to be recognised as an annual international day of humanitarian action in celebration of Madiba's life and legacy.
This day will also serve as an annual celebration of the life of Mr Mandela and a call to action for people to recognise their individual ability to make a difference where they are. We will be honouring a humble, yet great, man who will forever be known as a champion of nation-building, reconciliation and peacemaking, a man who dreamed of a better life for all and who has spent his life trying to make this dream a reality.
On Mandela Day, we believe that, among other things, old age homes should be visited to give back a smile to many grandparents who have been abandoned by their own families.
Even though Mandela Day may come around only once each year, cultivating the good habit and culture of caring is a positive investment in our society and will help to channel the energy of our young people towards doing something constructive in their schools and communities.
The ACDP wholeheartedly supports the call to individuals to give at least 67 minutes of their time in service to their communities in whichever way they choose. We will also continue with our involvement in activities to uplift the poor, needy and vulnerable in our communities and make them feel loved and very special. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr R B BHOOLA
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Rev K R J MESHOE
Mr R B BHOOLA: Mr Speaker, in world history the Lord has chosen few people to walk this earth to suffer. And this suffering has resulted in peace, unity and reconciliation. Madiba can be regarded as being at the top of the list of the icons in the world since the world was created.
We are very proud of Madiba's impeccable leadership and proud to be with him so that he can always point us to the part of high endeavour. We must never forget the wonderful foundation he has built for a true democratic South Africa.
The MF salutes Madiba. We remember his sacrifices as a young boy, and we remember his sacrifices and commitment to his comrades as a young man.
South Africa has progressed from the dark days of apartheid and oppression into the light of democracy and development because of Madiba's astounding personality and remarkable leadership. We have no doubt – we know - that we will celebrate his 100th year.
The MF wishes Madiba beautiful thoughts, and sends wonderful wishes for an abundance of prayer, good health and a long life. [Applause.]
Mrs N W A MICHAEL
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Mr R B BHOOLA
Mrs N W A MICHAEL: Hon Speaker, hon Acting President, hon members of this Joint Sitting, it is my pleasure to be here today to discuss what Mandela Day means to South Africans, and especially what it means to young South Africans.
On 27 April 1994 there was nothing that I wanted to do more than vote in our first democratic election. However, at the time I was 15 years old and had to watch in envy as my family cast their votes.
My life was just beginning and although things, such as the murder of Chris Hani, the raids in Bophuthatswana, the attack on the Codesa building, the unrest in Boipatong by the so-called third force and mass stockpiling before the election, scared me, one constant, one man gave me hope and one man kept me calm: Nelson Mandela. [Applause.]
I was safe in the knowledge that he would protect us all, regardless of race or creed. He was my hero.
There exists a phenomenon known as "Madiba magic". We saw this on his inauguration day when all South Africans embraced each other. We saw this at the 1995 Rugby World Cup when Madiba wore the number 6 jersey, and we see it every time Madiba walks into a room.
Even at my then young age, I realised that this man was not just a politician; he was the hero that united our nation. Young people became colour blind and Madiba taught us that the greatest lesson we can learn is forgiveness.
As young people, but more especially young politicians, we have learnt great lessons from Madiba, the father of our nation: Be humble at all times and never forget that we are the servants of the people; listen to what all have to say because you will never stop learning; only through forgiveness can you attain true freedom; love and look after each other, as we are all part of a big South African family; and, finally, do: millions of South Africans depend on what we do in this House and all our actions must have only their best interests in mind.
What an honour for us that Madiba is South African. What an honour for us that we can celebrate his life. And what an honour that he dedicated his whole life to bettering ours. Sixty-seven minutes to do good in Madiba's name may not seem like a lot of time, but let us honour this hero by always doing good, just as he has taught us to do.
Allow me to conclude with a quote from a prophet: "Never be a man who does nothing because you think you can only do a little."
Morena boloka, Madiba. [God preserve.] [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr R J Tau) / nvs (Eng & Afr) / END OF TAKE
Mrs N W A MICHAEL
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: OVERSIGHT AND INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT (Mr R J Tau): Hon Speaker, hon Deputy President of the Republic, hon Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, comrades, it is not always easy for my age generation to stand up and speak of an icon that our revolution and movement has produced, nurtured and put in the world to look up to.
For our generation, reading about Comrade Mandela and listening to Radio Freedom at the time were illegal acts that could land you in trouble with the apartheid regime.
However, we had courage. We had no fear, because the apartheid system to us was illegitimate. We continued to listen, we continued to read, we continued to sing the song: "UMandela wethu, sizomlandela!" We did that fully understanding that his struggle was for real democracy, and that it would not turn us into refugees of democracy. He has spent 67 years under the banner of the ANC, making the world a better place. I feel very privileged and honoured to have been offered an opportunity to look back and see the worth of the 67 years, and that all of us can do our bit in only 67 minutes is thanks, of course, to the ANC. [Applause.]
Whilst it is an easy challenge, it still remains fundamental that Comrade Mandela was prepared to translate those minutes into years; characterised by pain and loss, all for the love of humanity.
The call to celebrate Nelson Mandela's birthday on 18 July as Nelson Mandela Day is reported, of course, to be gaining a lot of momentum. Parliament, for its decision, I think must be congratulated. [Applause.] This could start small, but would certainly contribute to the lives of those less fortunate than us. It would, indeed, allow for there to be giving to a course already nurtured by our own leaders.
When Comrade Mandela spoke of ubuntu, he meant exactly what we should be doing in those particular 67 minutes.
To us, and many South Africans, Nelson Mandela Day is a global clarion call on all people to follow in Mr Nelson Mandela's footsteps, by doing well in and outside their own communities. It begins with us in this august House, where we commit ourselves through legislation that seeks to improve and better the lives of the people who have given us the platform to serve them. Amongst other things, the day that we will be celebrating, of course, should have a particular focus on human rights, fighting hunger and poverty, education and illiteracy, health and economic development.
Needless to say, these challenges do not differ from the challenges that were at the doorstep of South Africa during the apartheid regime's rule. Even today, our democratic government, under the leadership of the ANC, finds itself battling to address some of these problems.
A revolutionary of the generation of Comrade Nelson Mandela, Comrade Walter Sisulu, in an essay written in prison in 1976 in Reflections in Prison, said:
Furthermore, in evolving solutions, we should avoid that style of a thinking that gravitates towards final solutions. There are no final solutions. Solutions must always be open to modification and adjustment on the basis of experience and fresh evidence. Sometimes they may even have to be discarded.
Today the world is changing and, therefore, we must always strive to find creative solutions, unlike the one-size-fits-all solution the DA espoused earlier. It is in this spirit that an attempt is made here to isolate and examine certain problems that are important to our struggle. The same approach must be applied by the opposition as we engage today, and not to use such an important day to begin to score political points in the name of Madiba. [Applause.]
I am reminded of the period when the imperialists preparing to take each other on the control of the world and its resources, obviously driven by greed, and commonly known as the Second World War, a group of young Africans came together and remembered that they had a responsibility to the cause of our people in the 1940s to form the ANC Youth League. Among them, under the leadership of Anton Lembede, were William Nkomo, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Reginald Tambo, Ashby Mda, and Nelson Mandela himself.
It was at this juncture that the Youth League was formed consisting of merely 60 members. It is important that young people should sustain that legacy of the likes of Comrade Nelson Mandela.
Comrade Nelson Mandela soon impressed his peers by his discipline, hard work and consistent effort, and was, as a result, elected secretary and later president of the ANC Youth League. This is a lesson for our youth today to learn - to be dedicated and disciplined to the betterment of the lives of our people.
Despite the challenges that include unemployment amongst the young, the spirit of leadership and patriotism to the country can still be enhanced so that when we meet these targets, we are able to have confidence in the leadership of our future.
It is by no coincidence that this year we talk of a "Nelson Mandela Day". The work and commitment expressed by Comrade Mandela and his colleagues in the struggle have contributed to the freedom we have to celebrate and enjoy today. I am encouraged to view this freedom as a further mandate to have a positive outlook at the challenges presented by the global economic meltdown. While we celebrate in action, let us use the 67 minutes to think carefully about the means to reconcile economically, socially, politically and otherwise. However bad things may look now, the life of Comrade Mandela serves as a consistent reminder that we can still do more, but only when we are united.
Based on the above, I am sure that if this icon was in his 20s today, he would have been at the forefront of a campaign to create decent work opportunities and sustainable livelihoods. Central to that campaign would have been to ensure that measures are introduced to promote beneficiation programmes that will ensure that the natural wealth of the country is shared and developed locally and accelerates the creation of decent job opportunities in the manufacturing services.
With no doubt, with his upbringing in Qunu as a village boy and schooled and nurtured by the ANC, Comrade Mandela would have used his energy and his robustness of his early life. He would have galvanised all young people behind a programme to intensify land reform to ensure that more land was in the hands of the rural poor, and encouraged them to acquire technical skills and financial resources to use the land productively to create sustainable livelihoods for all of us.
I further believe without a shadow of doubt that, as a student, he would have been at the forefront of mobilising young people to register and do well in their studies. He would have ensured that he worked tirelessly in his community to wipe out illiteracy through the Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign, and for the expansion of no-fee schools.
As a charming and healthy looking young man, I am sure Comrade Rolihlahla would have made it his responsibility to motivate and encourage, irrespective of our class or standing in society, the implementation of the National Health Insurance System, which in the main will ensure that all South Africans have access to better and quality health care, irrespective of where they stand socially.
Our icon has laid the foundation for nation-building. He made it his responsibility to ensure that our country was saved from the racial divide that had characterised South African society for many decades.
Much as a lot still needs to be done, let us not forget that the struggle for greater heights is quite important. The poverty gap is too wide. For us to say we are a united South Africa, we need to inculcate a spirit of economic reconciliation beyond racial reconciliation.
In conclusion, allow me to pose a question to all of us gathered here this afternoon by referring to the book Long Walk to Freedom, and I quote ... [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, your time has expired.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: OVERSIGHT AND INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT (Mr R J Tau): Thank you very much, hon Speaker. [Applause.]
The Speaker of the National Assembly adjourned the Joint Sitting at 13:13.
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