Madiba 'placed us on higher ground'‚ says Thuli Madonsela

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Nelson Mandela and other leaders of his time behaved ethically and were committed to serving humanity‚ says former public protector Thuli Madonsela.

Madonsela was addressing the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth as part of the Mandela centenary celebrations on Thursday.

Madonsela called on South Africans to work together to make sure that there was proper democratic leadership at all levels of society.

“Where do we find answers for proper democracy leadership? From the generation of Nelson Mandela‚ Walter Sisulu and Oliver Tambo and all of those who brought democracy to us‚ not just from the ANC.”

She said what all of them did was try to behave ethically. “At the core of their behaviour was a values-driven approach to life. Secondly they were purpose-driven: what kind of a society are we trying to create?” Madonsela said.

She said those leaders were also impact-conscious and above everything else‚ committed to serving humanity. “That is what we can say about Madiba‚” Madonsela said.

She said it was up to this generation to write the next chapter for the country. “One thing I can say about Madiba and his cohorts or his contemporaries is that they placed us on a higher ground. When we were under Mandela’s captaincy‚ he left us on higher ground than we were on when we started.”

Madonsela said there was a need for the public to unite to address social injustice. “We will need to connect our lives. The Ethiopians say: when spider webs combine‚ they can even tie up a lion. We tied up a lion that was apartheid. We even tied up a lion that was state capture‚ a little bit.”

Madonsela said that fighting social injustices was important because if it was not addressed‚ democracy was at stake. “As long as democracy does not work for all‚ it is at risk. It is in your hands‚ as Madiba said‚” Madonsela said.