Johannesburg - The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) sent their condolences to the Mandela family on Friday following the death of former president Nelson Mandela.
Just before midnight on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma announced that Mandela, 95, had died at his Houghton residence.
“He passed on peacefully in the company of his family around 8.50pm on December 5,” Zuma said.
“He is now resting, he is now at peace. Our nation has lost its greatest son.”
Nehawu thanked the Mandela family for lending them the global icon.
“We thank his family for their sacrifices. They lent us a father and we gained a leader,” Nehawu said in a statement.
“We also send solidarity messages to his beloved ANC, his political home, and call on them to rededicate themselves to defending the oppressed and in building a truly united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, and prosperous South Africa that will never betray his principles.”
The union said it was saddened by Mandela's death.
“We send our deepest and heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, comrades, and to the entire nation,” said Nehawu.
“The nation and the entire world has lost a visionary leader whose wisdom and courage was unparalleled and whose love for South Africa and its people knew no bounds.
“His mental strength, charisma, and values outlived the brutal system of apartheid, and his humility and vision helped reconcile enemies and forge a common nation united in its diversity.”
The trade union said the world was poorer because of Mandela's death.
“He will remain a global icon and a symbol of hope for the oppressed,” said Nehawu.