As you all may have heard from the announcement by the President of the country, His Excellency, Jacob Zuma:
The former President, our leader, a father to all of us, our struggle icon, our liberator, an international icon and a revered peace maker par excellent is no more.
We lower our revolutionary banners in respect of his departure, while we celebrate a life dedicated to all of us. Today we are free. Yes, because of our struggles for freedom, for justice and equality.
But, we know it all that Rohlihlahla Nelson Mandela was an undisputed international symbol of this struggle. History and action speaks louder for itself in this regard.
In deed, the President is right, we have lost our greatest son and the father of the nation.
There are no better words I can use to describe better our loss than those expressed earlier by his organisation that has for decades become synonymous to his name, to the young, to the old, his friends and his enemies, to his comrades in arms and his enemies, to the supporters in his well-known noble course, to his family and the world over, the ANC.
I would like to repeat them: “We have indeed lost a colossus, an epitome of humanity, equality, justice, peace and the hope of millions; here and abroad” and I am saying there is no grave so big to burry this African elephant. His mortal material may have given up, but he will live with us in our memory. His spirit shall be with us forever, guiding us through the tribulations of life and celebrate with us the gains achieved as we follow his footsteps.
We have learnt a lot from his generous life lessons he gave to us. He served the people of this country and the world with distinction. Let us take from where he left.
In the Province, we have responded to the president’s call of lowering our banners, we must also take hid of what the president said that from now on we must do all we need to do in a formal and dignified manner and with a respect the family deserve. We must also remember that in as much as we are also dealing with a peoples person, a revered statesman, most of whose activity must be formalised by the state, we must be careful not to overshadow or trivialise the formal activities that should happen on behalf of all of us.
We have also directed that all community halls must be reserved so we can go and pay our respect. We can lay wreaths and leave messages to the family. There will also be a book where we can write our condolence messages. The list areas will be confirmed during the course of the day, but it will mostly be our town halls.
At the Provincial level we have established a co-ordinating committee led by MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu. The operational centre of coordination has been established at Ehlanzeni. At local level mayors will establish operational centres. We request that everyone who wants to co-ordinate any activity around the mourning of our icon must touch base with these centres so that necessary assessment and arrangement may be done to ensure the safety of the people and that the activity is conducted in a dignified manner. We have been working with religious leaders, since at the time of prayers for his health. They will be activated to lead in this regard, together with us and our local Executive Mayors.
As people of Mpumalanga and the entire country we are indeed saddened but we are celebrating his contribution and that of other fellow comrades of his generation. He is one of the finest leaders the ANC and Africa has ever produced. He will surely be missed but lives on as long as we live.
On behalf of the ANC led Government of Mpumalanga and the people of Mpumalanga, as a whole, I would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and relatives, his friends and comrades in the struggle for better life and a better world for all in the world, the people of South Africa.
We will always love you Madiba.
May your soul rest in peace.
I thank you.
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