Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon members, distinguished guests and fellow South Africans, at the outset, let me apologise for the absence of my president, Mr Bantu Holomisa, in today's Joint Sitting. Mr Holomisa was unable to make it, due to being busy with the funeral arrangements of our late former President, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
Let me also take this opportunity, on behalf of the UDM, to join the millions here at home and abroad in extending our heartfelt condolences to the family, the ANC, and friends of the late former President of the Republic, Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of grief. In fact, words seem inadequate to express how sorry we are for your loss.
Fellow South Africans, we are gathered here to undertake the sad duty of bidding farewell to an outstanding leader of the 20th century, the father of our nation, our struggle icon and the first democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa. Tata Madiba, as he was affectionately known, spent 27 years in prison fighting gallantly, in order to ensure that you and I can enjoy the freedom and democracy that he and some of the members of his generation did not enjoy. To Tata and his generation, no price was too high for the liberation of the peoples of Africa. This turned him into a repository for all the hopes and aspirations of our people - a duty he discharged with distinction.
When Tata came out of prison, he displayed an amazingly high capacity for forgiveness, which, at times, brought a look of complete incredulity to the faces of those who believed that we did not have it in ourselves to transcend our divisive political past. Tata was, however, undeterred by this. He continued to epitomise the values of nonracialism, reconciliation and service to the people.
Under his sterling leadership, we demonstrated to the whole world that we too were more than capable of building a winning nation, united in our diversity.
In the words of former President Thabo Mbeki, Madiba pre-eminently represented a generation of the titans "that pulled our country out of the abyss and placed it on the pedestal of hope, on which it rests today".
Madiba was a man of integrity, whose humanity and compassion inspires us greatly and will continue to inspire us and future generations for many years to come. John Maxwell's apt description of integrity in his book, The 4 Pillars of Leadership, captures the essence of the values that Tata Madiba espoused during his lifetime, when he says:
Integrity commits itself to character over personal gain, to people over things, to service over power, to principle over convenience, to the long view over the immediate.
The outpouring of grief after Tata's passing, the likes of which are rarely seen, bears testimony to this and also clearly demonstrates that he was not only thought of as just the father of our nation but as one of the greatest leaders and outstanding heroes of the 20th century.
One of Tata's facets of leadership which also deserves mention here today was his willingness to listen and learn from people from all walks of life. Growing up in the deep rural parts of the Eastern Cape during Tata's term and watching him in action, I was always inspired by his ability to listen to opposing views and his courage to admit when he was wrong. We should learn these important values of tolerance and humility, as they will help us in our efforts to revive his and Archbishop Tutu's vision of building a rainbow nation.
The passing of Tata, sad as it is, provides us yet another opportunity to reflect on the progress made and the distance we have come. It should remind us that our hard-won liberty is built on a contrasting tale of men at their most evil and most heroic and where, like everything else in life, the good emerged victorious over the bad. This is one victory that we must never betray or squander. In this regard, the best present we can give to Tata Madiba is to preserve his legacy, by espousing his values and ensuring that the torch of freedom and democracy, for which he courageously fought, continues to burn. In his eloquent words, we should ensure that "the sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement".
Lala ngoxolo, Yem-yem, Ngqolomsila, Sophitsho, Vela Bambhentsele, Madib' iindonga. Ugqatso lwakho ulufezile. Aah, Dalibhunga! Aah, Dalibhunga! Ndiyabulela. [Rest in peace, Yem-yem, Ngqolomsila, Sophitsho, Vela Bambhentsele, Madib' iindonga. You've run your race. Aaah, Dalibhunga! Aaah, Dalibhunga! Thank you.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Speaker, on behalf of the FF Plus, I wish to express my sympathy with former President Nelson Mandela's wife and his family present here today. As Christene glo ons volgens Psalm 146 om nie op prinse te vertrou nie, maar dat alle mag, ook die mag van leiers, van God af kom.
As oud-president Nelson Mandela vandag hier was, soos ek hom ken, sou hy waarskynlik beswaar gemaak het teen die wyse waarop van hom 'n ikoon en 'n bo-menslike wese gemaak word. Hy was baie gesteld daarop om in gesprekke altyd daarop te wys dat hy deel van 'n span is en nie alleen opgetree het nie. (Translation of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[As Christians we believe, in accordance with Psalm 146, not to rely on princes, but that all power, including the power of leaders, comes from God.
If ex-president Nelson Mandela were here today, as I knew him, he would in all probability have protested against the manner in which he is being held up as an icon and a supernatural being. During conversations he put great store on it and he always pointed out that he was part of a team and never acted on his own.]
With the above taken into consideration, however, no one can deny the impact that Mr Mandela made on South Africa and on the world. The reaction following his death surely confirms this.
When we were young, we all had dreams as to how we would change the world and how we would put our stamp on it. It is given to few persons to live out their dreams in their lifetime. Nelson Mandela succeeded in doing exactly this. Against big odds, he had realised the vision he had as a young man.
Can one person make a difference in politics? In my youth, I was involved in many debates about this. My argument was that politics is too complicated with too many variables for one person to make a real difference. Sir, I was wrong. One person at the right place, at the right time and with the right approach can make a huge difference. I still believe in this today as far as my own career is concerned. Mr Mandela and I disagreed about many issues but he proved this statement to be true. He not only had an influence on South Africa, but on the whole world - as we can see with the funeral at the moment.
My eerste ontmoeting was in die negentigerjare toe President Mandela my genooi het vir 'n gespreksontbyt met hom alleen. Dit was sy werkswyse, soos jy sal weet. Na die ontbyt en die uurlange gesprek was my opsomming dat vriendelikheid en nederigheid sy sterkste eienskappe is, maar dat jy nie vir 'n oomblik ook sy klipharde wil om sy eie doelwitte te bereik, moet betwyfel nie. Die sentimentele sagte-oupa beeld wat mense wat hom nie ken nie van hom het, is in hierdie opsig waarskynlik misleidend.
Hoe beskryf 'n mens mnr Mandela? Mandela, die jong aktivis, wat vir die ANC- leiers s dat geweld al is wat oor is en toe in die tronk beland? Of die middeljarige Mandela wat Afrikaans leer ten einde die Afrikaner te verstaan? Of die ouer, wyser Mandela wat ons by die onderhandelinge leer ken het? (Translations of Afrikaans paragraphs follows.)
[My first meeting was during the nineties when President Mandela invited me to a personal breakfast during which we had discussions. That was the way in which he operated, as you will know. After the breakfast and the discussion of an hour, I concluded that friendliness and humility were his strongest characteristics, but that you should not for one moment doubt his iron will to achieve his own objectives. The meek and sentimental image of a grandfather, which people who did not know him have of him, is in this case probably misleading.
How does one describe Mr Mandela? Mandela, the youthful activist, who told leaders of the ANC that violence was all that remained and then ended up in jail? Or the middle-aged Mandela who studied Afrikaans in order to understand the Afrikaner? Or the Mandela, older and wiser, whom we got to know during the negotiations?]
Which two words would describe him the best? That is very difficult. I would say: dignity in adversity. He also had the two essential qualities which are necessary for genuine statesmanship - what I call that rare combination of the idealistic, on the one side, and then the severely practical, on the other. A leader who acts merely to be popular is not a real leader. A real leader must be prepared to act against the majority, because he or she knows that the majority are wrong and he or she must provide leadership to them in doing so. Surely, this is not always easy. I remember how Mr Mandela addressed 40 000 people in a stadium, and reprimanded them severely because they did not sing the Afrikaans part at the end of the anthem.
From the reaction from ordinary people following his passing away, it appears that his popularity lay largely in his humane approach on a personal level. One Sunday afternoon, there was a call from Mr Mandela to my home. He did not want to speak to me, but to my daughter. My daughter had been chosen as the dux student at her university and a short report about this had appeared in the Sunday newspaper that morning. Mr Mandela just phoned to congratulate her.
I started by stating that it is given to few men to live out their dreams in their lifetime. Nelson Mandela succeeded in doing this. The question is: What were these dreams of Mr Mandela? He most probably summed it up best in his address in court in 1964, and let me quote it here:
I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
He also said:
Never ... shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.
The question for all of us following the passing away of Mr Mandela is: To which extent has South Africa achieved these goals?
Today is not a day for politics, but my observation is that we are busy repeating some of the mistakes of the past - this time, perhaps, only in reverse. The test in all debates in the future should be whether these dreams of Mr Mandela will become more or less real for South Africa. Perhaps we should all remember Edmund Burke's truth, which is also true of Mr Mandela: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
Mr Mandela ... mooi loop, mnr Mandela. Dankie. [Applous.] [... go well, Mr Mandela. Thank you. [Applause.]]