Mr Speaker, I want to say to Baba Mlangeni ...
Oom Andrew, u het baie mooi gepraat. U moet mooi loop! [Uncle Andrew, you spoke very well. Do take care of yourself!]
I want to thank all people who have helped to make a success of our Parliament and who have been kind to me. I also want to pay tribute to my colleague, Mr Peter Smith, who is retiring. He was a brilliant politician. He is a very intelligent person and it is a pity that we are losing him.
Mooi loop, ou Peter! [Applous.] [Go well, old Peter!] [Applause.]
Today is a historic day in my life. In fact, it is the last time that I will be speaking in Parliament as I am retiring. [Applause.] [Interjections.] There is another highlight in my life. Today, as my sons and my wife are celebrating birthdays, I promised them that I will refer to them in my speech. Please, allow me to do so.
Aan my seun Jacobus Hercules van der Merwe, wat vandag 48 word, baie geluk, Jaco! Aan my kleinseun Jacobus Hercules van der Merwe, wat vandag 18 word, geluk, klein Jaco! Aan my ander kleinseun Andries Hendrik van der Merwe, wat op 10 Maart 16 geword het, baie geluk, Anri! En aan my vrou Annette, wat op 17 Maart verjaar, baie geluk! Sy en ek is vanjaar 55 jaar gelukkig getroud! [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans paragraph follows.)
[To my son Jacobus Hercules van der Merwe, who turns 48 today, congratulations, Jaco! To my grandson Jacobus Hercules van der Merwe, who turns 18 today, congratulations, young Jaco. To my other grandson Andries Hendrik van der Merwe, who turned 16 on 10 March, congratulations, Anri! And to my wife Annette, who will be celebrating her birthday on 17 March, congratulations! This year she and I have been happily married for 55 years!] [Applause.]
Yes, I am retiring. I have come to the end of more than 60 years of being an activist. With Watty it was 50 years, and I have been one for 60 years. I remember that I was distributing pamphlets and putting up posters during the elections in 1948. However, I have been in Parliament for 37 long years ... [Interjections.] ... but they went past like a bullet. I will be writing about my life in Parliament, from the days of apartheid until now, because I have seen the whole movie.
I was privileged to have served under seven heads of state: Mr Vorster, Mr P W Botha, Mr F W de Klerk, Madiba, Mr Mbeki, Mr Motlanthe and President Zuma. I also served for 18 years on the Judicial Service Commission. For me as a lawyer, this was a pinnacle of my legal career, the one I am most proud of, assisting to build a solid South African judiciary.
I wish to pass one or two pieces of advice to our members. Always be respectful to your parents, your grandparents, your teachers, your employers and the elderly. Be respectful. Discipline is the second one. You must always arrive on time, properly prepared so as to make meaningful contributions. In short, the main one is to be humble, as humility is the road to political success.
I want to thank the Almighty for granting me the privilege to have served so long in Parliament.
Mhlonishwa Somlomo, ngiyambonga uNkulunkulu ngaleli thuba. [Hon Speaker, I thank the Almighty for giving me this opportunity.]
Ke leboha Modimo ka monyetla wa ho sebetsa mona Palamenteng. [I thank God for an opportunity to work in Parliament.]
Hemelse Vader, ek dank U vir die voorreg wat U my gegun het om byna 40 jaar lank lid van di Parlement te wees. [Heavenly Father, I thank You for the privilege You have granted me to have served for almost 40 years as a member of this Parliament.] [Applause.]
It is time for me to say goodbye. Goodbye! Tsamayang hantle! Nihambe kahle!
Fluit-fluit, my storie is uit! [Well, that's the end of my story!] [Applause.] [Laughter.]