Distressing Mandela

Nelson Mandela is too precious to South Africans to be left to the petty bickering of either the ANC or the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Nelson Mandela is too precious to South Africans to be left to the petty bickering of either the ANC or the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The ANC is correct to say that Madiba belongs to the party. The world's best loved statesman has repeatedly said as much and eschewed any attempts to make him more important than the party to which he has given his life.

Mandela's post-active politics life has been managed by the foundation. It has done well to preserve his legacy and relevance.

The schools and clinics he got big business to build after retiring from active politics bear testimony to how the foundation has faithfully discharged Madiba's responsibilities. The Mandela family has a claim to him and therefore its voice should count for something.

It is therefore clear that all three entities have a role to play in Madiba's life.

It is unhelpful to dispute the obvious - that he belongs to the ANC but the party should accept that it is important that Mandela's health and security arrangements are taken care of.

The foundation too should steer clear of projecting Madiba as a senile old man. He might be frail but Madiba's mind is still as sharp as ever.

We hope therefore that the ANC, the foundation and the family will settle this embarrassing episode and not unduly distress South Africa's most beloved son.

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