'Graft ruins Madiba legacy'

HEARTS-A-TWITTER: Former president Nelson Mandela
HEARTS-A-TWITTER: Former president Nelson Mandela

Former president Nelson Mandela's legacy will continue to be undermined if business leaders and politicians implicated in state capture allegations are not held accountable.

This was said by UDM leader Bantu Holomisa yesterday at the fourth anniversary of Mandela's death. The event was held at Nelson Mandela Foundation offices in Houghton, Johannesburg, and was attended by a number of business leaders and ordinary people.

The event also saw the unveiling of a colourful exhibition dubbed the Remembering Madiba: Unthreading a Legacy to commemorate Mandela's centenary next year.

The exhibition portrays Mandela as less of an icon but more of a human being who struggled through pain and life complexities to achieve greatness.

"Madiba understood the need to build strong and independent institutions that will endure and serve the people regardless of who put them in power," said Holomisa.

"The travesty of the so-called state capture is hollowed out mainly of these state institutions. This is an insult to Madiba's legacy." He said Mandela was committed to constitutionalism and the rule of law.

"In this respect we currently have a country that has not only lost its way but has tarnished Madiba's institutional bequeathal . We should be ashamed of the way in which powerful people both in public and private sectors have taken advantage of gaps in institutional arrangements . (and) those who have done so by exploiting the personal weaknesses of some of our leaders to enrich themselves at the expense of the majority of South Africans."

Holomisa lashed out at the Eastern Cape government officials who two days ago were found by the public protector's report to have misappropriated funds under the guise of paying for Mandela's burial.

"In the same vein, it's difficult to comprehend how some people stoop so low by stealing funds allocated to give Madiba a dignified farewell as the public protector recently found."

Mandela's widow Graca said "we have to take this nation to the highest levels".

"How can we explain that the legacy of all those [who fought for freedom] slipped through our hands," she said.

She said she hoped a new crop of talented and morally upright young leaders will be identified next year.