De Lille says Mandela’s respect for the Constitution is exemplary
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Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille says Nelson Mandela’s example of the obedience to the Constitution and his shared humanity should be leading South Africa.
De Lille said she was commemorating Mandela Day this year with tears in her eyes.
This, she said, was because there was unprecedented levels of unemployment and poverty in the country, former president Jacob Zuma was in prison for defying the courts and the embers of the wave of violence, looting and destruction were still glowing.
De Lille, who is also the leader of the GOOD Party, said the UN acknowledged Mandela by designating his birthday as International Mandela Day because he is globally revered as an icon of service, justice and human excellence.
“His example should lead us now,” she said.
She said Madiba was not a saint and had had his flaws as all people dis.
“He fought his good fight in the context of the politics of his time, and times have changed. But the examples he set were timeless,” De Lille said.
“Among his most important lessons was obedience to the Constitution and the courts, and the fundamental principle that all are equal before the law. When he was dragged to court by former rugby and fertiliser strongman Louis Luyt, he wasn’t happy but he did what he had to do,” she said.
De Lille also said another lesson South Africans had to heed was shared humanity.
“If South Africa is to prosper, affording dignity to all its citizens must be the first priority. The daily lived experience of millions of desperate people who feel they’ve nothing further to lose challenges our collective humanity and undermines the nation’s sustainability,” she said.
“A good place to start would be to fast-track the implementation of a Basic Income Grant. No one should be going to bed cold and hungry in this beautiful land,” she said.
De Lille said there were many more good people than bad in the country.
“Nelson Mandela understood this well. He extended his hand to the richest and poorest, the palest and darkest; he listened and made all feel an equal part.
“Those are some of the foundations he laid for us on which to build a good home,” she said.