Note to Editors: The following remarks were delivered today by DA Leader, Mmusi Maimane at Tumelo Home for the Mentally Handicapped in Ivory Park, Johannesburg, where he spent 67 minutes assisting with renovation projects and helping to care for the children. The Leader was joined by DA Shadow Minister of Health, Patricia Kopane.
Today, all across the world, millions of people are honouring the memory of South Africa’s first democratically elected President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
The father of our nation – who would have turned 99 today – is fondly remembered for his selfless leadership, his compassion, and his unwavering commitment to reconciliation in our nation, by leading South Africa’s remarkable transition from apartheid to democracy.
As we celebrate Mandela Day today, we must all reaffirm our mission for a reconciled South Africa, working together to build a movement towards a peaceful, prosperous, and safe South Africa.
Throughout his life, Mandela dedicated all his strength to building a better South Africa for all – Black, White, Gay, Straight, Muslim, Jewish, rich, and poor.
A nation in which you are judged not by the colour of your skin, but by the content of your character. A nation where freedom, dignity and reconciliation are not just talked about, but relentlessly pursued.
Although Tata Madiba is not with us anymore, his legacy and his dream for South Africa lives on, and endures from generation to generation.
Today I join millions of South Africans in “paying it forward” in Madiba’s honour. I spent my 67 minutes here at Tumelo Home for the Mentally Challenged, an NPO committed to caring for one of the most vulnerable groups in our society.
It is truly refreshing to see that amongst all the adversity, division and turmoil our country faces, there are many goodhearted South Africans who are committed to serving those less fortunate than themselves.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members”. From what I have witnessed today, the employees and volunteers here at Tumelo Home are determined to do their part in building a caring society and a caring South Africa.
I am humbled by the efforts of those at Tumelo Home, and every other South Africa who is helping to realise Madiba’s dream of changing people’s lives for the better.
While Madiba worked his entire life for the dream of a reconciled and prosperous South Africa, he never saw his dream come to fruition. Instead he passed the baton on to us – ordinary South Africans – to continue to fight for the future we all deserve. It is our responsibility to follow his example, because South Africa and its people can only rise when we build together, towards a future that belongs to every person who calls South Africa home. Our service to our communities and to our nation should not only happen for 67 minutes once a year.
Indeed, Nelson Mandela’s vision of a reconciled, prosperous and non-racial South Africa must still motivate us to work towards its achievement. And it is this vision for our country that I will pursue every day.
In fulfilling Madiba’s vision we need to ensure that we accelerate redress and continue on the path of reconciliation.
And – crucially – we must build a strong, thriving and inclusive economy, without which we will never address the injustices of our past.
This is what we are working for and working towards. And while Madiba’s values and vision have increasingly come under threat, we will continue to champion them.
Amid the tragedies of Marikana and Esidimeni, the injustice of Nkandla, the social grants crisis, the economic collapse and the rot of corruption and state capture – we will continue to fight for Madiba’s vision and protect the values he embodied and enshrined in the Constitution.
Come 2019, DA-led government will enter the Union Buildings at the heart of a government infused with and motivated by Madiba’s dream of a united, non-racial and prosperous South Africa for all who live in it – regardless of race, creed, colour, religion or ethnicity.
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika! Let us live and strive for freedom in South Africa our land!