Pall hangs over Parliament - Sisulu

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File photo: Nelson Mandela gestures during his State of the Nation address at the opening of Parliament in Cape Town. File picture: Reuters Archives

Cape Town -

A pall hung over Parliament on Friday after the news of former president Nelson Mandela's death, National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu said.

“(A) real pain chills all who work in (Parliament's) precinct,” he said in a statement.

“It is a pain we share with millions of people throughout our land, our continent Africa, and beyond.”

After Mandela's release from prison in February 1990, he promised during his first address at the Cape Town City Hall to place the remaining years of his life in the hands of the people.

It was a promise he fulfilled in a myriad of ways, Sisulu said.

“It is a promise, to which we, the elected representatives of the people, must recommit ourselves, if our mourning today is not to be reduced to mere maudlin.

“To our great hero, the icon of humility, selflessness and forgiveness, the world's very symbol of humanity, to you Madiba, we say, go well dear father, comrade, and friend,” he said.

Parliament sent its condolences to Mandela's wife Graca Machel, his family, and friends.

Sisulu said a special joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament would be held soon to reflect on Mandela's life and legacy. A book of condolences would also be opened for messages of support by MPs and the public.

“Madiba's life as a being living among us has ended. But there is no one more alive than Madiba,” he said.

“He lives on in our commitment to entrenching a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic society in which all live a decent life, free of hunger and want.”

President Jacob Zuma announced that Mandela died on Thursday night at his Houghton, Johannesburg, home surrounded by family. He was 95. - Sapa

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