‘Tata never chose Cyril’

Dr Makaziwe Mandela. Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Dr Makaziwe Mandela. Picture: Armand Hough / Independent Newspapers

Published Dec 14, 2023


“Tata never chose Cyril,” Dr Makaziwe Mandela revealed during her book launch on Thursday at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town.

She launched her book: Mandela: In Honour of an Extraordinary Life.

During the question-and-answer session of the launch, Mandela was asked how her father would have responded to the current state of affairs in the country.

In 2024, South Africa will not only celebrate 30 years of its democracy but will also head to the polls in the national elections.

Calls for the African National Congress (ANC) to step down as the ruling party has grown since the last elections as the nation grapples with continuous corruption, rolling blackouts, and a stagnant economy.

“I don’t think Tata expected that it would take so many steps backwards. And that basically means we would have a leadership that has forgotten why they are in power and does not care about the ordinary man in the street,” Mandela said.

She also said her late father would be the first one to admit the ANC was not a perfect entity at the time.

“The greatest mistake Tata and his colleagues made was not to put in place an effective training mechanism for the next leadership. And so, today, we hear people say Tata chose Cyril Ramaphosa, and I laugh because Tata never chose Cyril,” Mandela said.

She described her late father as someone who spoke to many people and would use the term “you are presidential” when they did something.

“Anybody who showed leadership, respect for other people, who were courageous, who were tolerant to others, Tata would say you have leadership abilities,” Mandela said.

She also touched on the ever-present load shedding South Africans have to endure.

“I think it is a shame that today we are living in a country where we have rolling blackouts—load shedding. I lived in Kenya. I never experienced load shedding. These are issues that are very easy to solve. I think not just Tata, but Tata Walter [Sisulu] would be disappointed,” she said.

However, Mandela said, “Our problem is we inherited a system in which we had a private sector which had full competence, skills, and financial resources and a government that doesn’t have the competency, the skills, and the uneducated who are filling positions, and they don’t even understand what they are doing in their own positions."

When asked if her father would vote for the current ANC in power, Mandela said, “He was committed to the ANC. I don’t think he’d step out of the ANC. They believed if something was wrong, it was to be discussed within the ANC.”.