President Jacob Zuma says South Africa remains grateful to the leadership of the late former President Nelson Mandela and has urged South Africans to continue to reflect on the many lessons that Madiba’s life presented to the nation.
On Sunday, President Zuma awarded medals to people who looked after the late former President when he was ill and all the soldiers who worked during the period leading to his memorial service and the state funeral in December last year.
“I would like to sincerely thank the South African National Defence Force soldiers and those who were part of Madiba’s life,” Zuma said at the event held at Waterkloof Air Force Base.
The ceremony began with a military parade that included the navy, army and the air force. Selected members of the military were awarded for their different roles in executing Mandela’s funeral. The soldiers who participated in the burial preparations, the laying in state at the Union Buildings and those who ensured that Mandela was accorded a befitting state funeral were awarded the Mandela Gold Medal.
The medical team that looked after Mandela when he was ill was awarded the Mandela Medallion Gold Medals. Proud family members were seen taking pictures of their loved ones as President Zuma was awarding the medals.
“I can say it with pride that the planning, execution and precision with which the SANDF performed its duties left no one in doubt about the capability of our armed forces to carry such a mammoth task,” President Zuma said.
He said Mandela’s the funeral showcased the character of the national defence force worldwide. “It was performed with the poise and dignity it deserved,” he said.
President Zuma also thanked members of the South African Police Service who worked diligently and professionally to look after Mandela until the end.
“We are proud of all of you,” he said. Dr Pfarelo Nengovhela said she was happy she had the opportunity to take care of Mandela.
“It was one of the best things ever to look after an icon, it was amazing to be there for him when he needed us most,” Dr Nengovhela said. Looking after Mandela was exciting but also scary because so many people were depending on her.
Dr Nengovhela is an anaesthesiologist at the One Military Hospital. Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said she was happy that all those who took care of Mandela and worked during the period of his death were recognised for the work they did. “This is something that I have been looking forward to from the beginning of the year. I really wanted these people to be given the awards that they deserve. “They worked extremely hard, we will forever be indebted to them,” Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said.
She praised all those that were honoured for their patience, dedication and the passion for their work. – SANews.gov.za
Source : SAnews.gov.za