"Madiba is special to South Africa in many ways, having dedicated his entire adult life to the relentless fight for freedom, democracy, peace and stability in our country.
"As the first President of a democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela immediately led the nation on a path of unity, transformation, forgiveness and reconciliation," said the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) in a statement.
At 94, Madiba is almost as old as the African National Congress itself - the movement to which he dedicated his entire adult life, and a movement that is celebrating its centenary throughout 2012.
Government has committed itself to continuing President Mandela's legacy and will continue the long walk to confront poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The recent Social Cohesion Summit in Kliptown, Soweto, marked the beginning of a structured process of social cohesion and nation-building based on the values of unity, non-racialism, reconciliation and human compassion that are dear to Madiba.
Government calls on all South Africans to become part of this process.
In honouring Nelson Mandela, government has also urged South Africans to make personal contributions and do good deeds, as called for by Madiba, in order to make South Africa and the world a better place for all.