Mandela celebrated in Mahikeng

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mahikeng - Nelson Mandela’s life has been celebrated through work, an activity that is an element of the late former statesman’s ethos, says Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“We’ve had the most wonderful Mandela Day. We’ve been able to celebrate our national icon’s birthday with a lot of community work and activitites,” he said on Friday.

Today, the world marks Nelson Mandela Day, which falls on the late statesman’s birthday.

The Deputy President -- together with Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Pravin Gordhan, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane as well as North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo -- rolled up his sleeves in honour of Madiba.

Earlier today, the delegation visited the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital, where they painted a room. Afterwards, they received a machine to repair cataracts, which was donated to the hospital.

Following the hospital visit, the delegation took to the streets of the CBD, where they visited two taxi ranks to the delight of locals, who lined the streets and took photos of the delegation as they walked by with black plastic bags.

The delegation stopped and talked to shop owners and street vendors along their walk.

“We cleaned up at the taxi rank and interacted with many of our people, who were also participating in the great clean-up of Mafikeng,” Deputy Ramaphosa said.

One of the workers, Thando Sehloho, said it was impressive to see the delegation get down to work.

While ordinary citizens looked on, the delegation also repaired potholes with the aid of a machine. They then visited Montshioa township.

Clearing the sanitation backlog

“The most exciting part of the day was going into the township and going to repair water leakages in a few of the houses. The most important was to see how young people - women and men - are now taking up plumbing and artisan type jobs, and they’re repairing leaking taps,” the Deputy President said as he spoke from outside one of the houses in the township.

Minister Mokonyane said she will soon launch a “mega” project of training more plumbers, particularly drawing from the youth, to repair leaking taps and ensure that sanitation blockages are done away with.

She was happy to see young women working as plumbers, such as her namesake Nomvula, who is a cadet working as a plumber.

“Women have arrived and not only in politics,” she said.

Asked how he felt about the country commemorating the day for the first time without Madiba, Deputy President Ramaphosa said: “This is truly a special one because on this day, we have in many ways demonstrated that we are ready, willing and prepared to take his legacy forward.

“This is how we live Nelson Mandela’s legacy of being a disciplined people, a people who want to take our country forward. This is what Nelson Mandela was all about. We are pleased and proud that we’ve started a journey of remembering him actively.”

Minister Gordhan said today’s activities were helpful for him in his new portfolio.

“It was useful to see how municipalities work. The municipal space is a space where business and life happen. It is important that every municipality must deliver basic services to every citizen,” he said. -

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