Zuma to visit Mandela in Qunu

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pretoria - Former President Nelson Mandela will get a special visit from President Jacob Zuma today, who will present him with an architect's impression of the Nelson Mandela Legacy Bridge.

Mandela is spending his birthday at his home in Qunu. Earlier on, school children countrywide sang 'happy birthday' for Mandela.

The legacy bridge will be constructed across the Mbashe River between Ndondolo village in the Mbashe Local Municipality and the Mvezo village in the King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape.

The Rural Development and Land Reform Department will construct the bridge and road which will link Mvezo village to the N2, reducing the travel distance to Idutywa by nearly 50km. The construction of the bridge will also reduce the travel time between Mvezo and the N2 by approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.

The 10km bridge will also provide improved access for about 20 000 people living in 21 villages in the respective local municipality areas.

"The bridge will improve the lives of people living in and around Madiba's village and is one of the key contributions to keeping alive the Mandela legacy of a better life for all," said the Presidency.

Meanwhile, well wishes are pouring in for the elderly statesman.

"The National Union of Mineworkers wishes our international icon, Honorary President of the NUM and former mineworker, Nelson Mandela, a very happy 93rd birthday," union spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said.

The union, in partnership with AngloGold Ashanti, will refurbish Ludeke Primary School in Bizana in the Eastern Cape. The refurbishment of the school, where ANC stalwart Oliver Tambo received his primary education, will be to the tune of R1.5 million.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said Mandela's name and legacy are synonymous with integrity, non-racialism and selflessness.

"Today marks the 93rd birthday of the greatest son of our soil, Nelson Mandela," DA leader Helen Zille said.

As part of celebrating Mandela's birthday, South Africans have been asked to sacrifice 67 minutes of their time in service to others. Mandela spent 67 years of his life fighting for equal rights for all.

"It is a fitting tribute to a man that gave much of his life to the betterment of South Africa," said Zille, adding that the most significant honour that can be paid to him is to work towards his vision of a better life for all South Africans.

"We wish you a happy birthday Madiba. For the moral compass you have been to us all, siyabonga (we thank you) Tata," she said.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) also wished the struggle hero well, saying he remains a benchmark of what leadership should be.

"We wish Tata Mandela a happy birthday. We also wish to thank him for his selfless efforts in ensuring that today we enjoy freedom. All of us should learn from his leadership model. We wish him a long life with good health", said Denosa president Dorothy Matebeni.

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