Parliament says Mandela Day is time for nation to reflect on his values
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THE Parliament’s presiding officers said on Sunday that Nelson Mandela’s birthday was an opportunity for South Africans to reflect on progress made in living the values he espoused.
National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo said in a statement that South Africans should all endeavour to honestly answer the question: “Is our nation better than he left it? Is our world a better place to play, live and work in than when Madiba left it?”
Modise and Masondo said they should consider what Madiba would have done today to deal with numerous challenges that included the latest destruction of property and livelihoods which left over 200 people dead and billions of rands lost.
“In appreciating our individual and collective responsibilities, we should spare no effort to help our country overcome these challenges,” they said.
The presiding officers said they should work to achieve the goal of improving the quality of life of the people, especially the poor and vulnerable.
“We should use whatever skills and knowledge at our disposal to advance the country and its interests. In that way, we would have gone a long way in ensuring that the values for which Madiba stood become a reality for the benefit of the current and future generations.”
Modise and Masondo also said the disturbing acts of violence displayed in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng went against the grain of what Mandela firmly stood for.
“Parliament welcomes the work undertaken by law enforcement authorities working with communities to quell the situation and urges them to leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators to book irrespective of their social status,” they said.
“Using its oversight tools and mechanisms, Parliament will closely monitor the work of the executive in restoring law and order in the two provinces, rebuilding and in pursuing and dealing with the instigators of insurrection to send a clear message to potential culprits,” Modise and Masondo said.
They also said Madiba’s values blossomed when communities rallied together across racial lines helping to protect, clean and rebuild after last week’s unrest.
“His everlasting legacy of humanity and ubuntu is evident from the push-back South Africans did to protect their neighbourhoods, clean up and to contribute to rebuilding. We dare not lose hope; we are stronger united as we all work towards building our communities free from all socio-economic ills.”
Modise and Masondo said the best birthday gift to give Madiba was unity among communities in defending the hard-won constitutional democracy.
“In his honour, Parliament recommits to its constitutional mandate of overseeing executive action in building a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa for which millions sacrificed to attain.”
They urged the South Africans not to let their guards down on Covid-19 health protocols.
“The consequences of the last week are still to be felt in the coming period, however, united in our diversity and inspired by the teachings of Madiba, we will triumph over all the challenges,” the presiding officers said.