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What the presiding officers of Parliament had to say this Mandela Day

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The presiding officers of Parliament have addressed the need to reflect on the progress of the country on Mandela Day.

The Parliament of South Africa issued a statement by the presiding officers of Parliament on Mandela Day, which was observed on Sunday, 18 July 2021. The presiding officers, led by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Thandi Modise, and the Chairperson of the National Council Provinces (NCOP), Amos Masondo, said that the birthday of South Africa’s first democratic president was an opportunity for South Africans to reflect on the progress made in living the values he espoused, embodied and endowed the nation and the world with.

The presiding officers stated that as the birthday of Nelson Mandela was celebrated, all should endeavour to ask the question of whether the nation is better than he left it. They stated that the United Nations (UN) had declared Madiba’s birthday as an annual international Nelson Mandela Day in 2009, to inspire each person to appreciate the power each one has, and to use it to transform and make the world a better place for all, especially the vulnerable. The officers also stated that the nation needs to consider what Madiba would have done to deal with the numerous challenges facing the country today.

These include economic challenges, unemployment, inequality, crime, the COVID-19 pandemic, and recently, the destruction of property and livelihoods which has left over 200 people dead and resulted in billions of rands lost. The officers further expressed that Mandela Day is for the people and that there is a need to work to achieve the goal of improving the quality of life for people, especially the poor and vulnerable. The speaker and the NCOP also stated, “The disturbing acts of violence displayed this week in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng intended to plunge the country into an economic and social crisis and to go against Madiba’s values.”

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Mahlohohnolo Lakaje


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