Hon Speaker, hon Chair, Your Excellency the Deputy President, all protocol observed, the Mandela family and the Sisulu family, indeed we must thank God for blessing us with such a great leader as Tata Madiba. South Africa, Africa and the world has lost a father, a leader and indeed the greatest South African that ever lived. There is no doubt about it. We can't even argue about it. He was the best South African who ever lived. Our deepest condolences go to the Mandela family and sincere gratitude for sharing Madiba with us. He has left an indelible mark on all of us.
Hon Speaker, let me start this tribute with the words of the great man himself when he said, and I quote:
What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.
Again he said:
When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe that I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.
That was Madiba himself.
Tata Madiba understood the power of forgiveness because it is through forgiveness and reconciliation that he could unite and lead this diverse nation. All of us sitting in this House today have peace in our hearts because of Madiba. He taught each and everyone that sits here today that you are not a better person than the next person, but that we need each other. That's Madiba. He made ordinary people feel great. When you came into his presence he would make you feel that you were his leader. That is the leader that we had in South Africa. He was someone who was respectful and was respected. It is the first time in my life that someone could be put in prison for 27 years and when he comes out says, let's reconcile and forgive. That's a gift from God. It's not humanity. That's a gift from above.
Let me close by saying that it amazes me that a man of such humble beginnings could change so many people's lives only through forgiveness. Surely we will miss him, but we will remember you in our daily lives because this nation owes you to strive for a better life for all South Africans - not only for certain South Africans, but for all South Africans.
Lala ngoxolo, Tata. [Rest in peace, Tata.] I thank you. [Applause.]