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READER LETTER | Greed, misrule undoing Madiba's work

Volunteers finishing off a mosaic of Nelso Mandela made with food cans on Mandela Day on July 18, 2022 at Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on July 18, 2022 in Cape Town.
Volunteers finishing off a mosaic of Nelso Mandela made with food cans on Mandela Day on July 18, 2022 at Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on July 18, 2022 in Cape Town.
Image: Brenton Geach

I was out of the country on Mandela Day, but wish to say something about Nelson Mandela. People's memories tend to be very short and selective and they easily lose sight of the context.

Madiba spent 27 years in jail to bring freedom to all South Africans. His first priority was to bring about reconciliation in an unequal and deeply divided nation and to prevent the "Arab Spring" that Thabo Mbeki now warns against in a rather opportunistic fashion. I learned first hand from inside sources in the ANC that revenge was on the cards after Mandela's release, but that he put a stop to that.

He was very successful with his actions to promote reconciliation and to prevent revenge. His challenging task to overcome inequality and transfer skills to a new generation of leaders became more difficult when the NP decided to walk out of the Government of National Unity.

Backlogs and inequality did not get the priority that they deserved. All liberation movements lose direction over time, inter alia due to lack of experience, expertise and leadership skills. Greed and hunger for power creep in easily once access to previously prohibited resources and instruments of power is obtained.

Cyril Ramaphosa was Madiba's choice as his successor to take the country forward, but the ANC decided otherwise. One can only speculate how things would have developed if Ramaphosa did succeed Madiba.

Speculation will bring us nowhere but we should never forget the role that Madiba played to liberate us all and to prevent a bloodbath. His preference for Ramaphosa underlines his wisdom.

Context is everything.

Dawie Jacobs, Sterrewag, Pretoria

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