16 July 2013
South Africans from all walks of life are gearing up to celebrate Nelson Mandela International Day on Thursday, with President Jacob Zuma set to mark the day by handing over houses to the community of Danville in Pretoria.
The Mandela Day campaign, in line with a UN declaration of Mandela’s birthday on 18 July as International Nelson Mandela Day, aims to inspire people to take action to change the world for the better and, in doing so, to build a global movement for good.
Individuals are encouraged to dedicate 67 minutes of their time to uplifting their communities – one minute for each of the 67 years of his life that Mandela spent in active politics, fighting the injustices of the apartheid system in South Africa.
In a statement on Monday, the Presidency said the Danville/Elandspoort project had been identified as a flagship project for the eradication of the Bethlehem (Hermanstad) informal settlement in Pretoria West, which was occupied by poor white families, families residing in Road Reserves in the Atteridgeville area, and other identified areas in the Pretoria Central and Pretoria West areas.
“President Zuma first visited the informal settlement in the Hermanstad area … on the 24th of July 2008 and again on the 30th of March 2010 to witness first hand the difficulties experienced by the poor white households and to assist in finding solutions to their plight within the framework of existing government policies and programmes,” the Presidency said.
Some of the concerns the group of white families raised with Zuma included the availability of social grants for children, the aged and the disabled, the need for land to build houses for the homeless, access to basic health care, public transport and the provision of electricity.
The City of Tshwane has dedicated a mobile clinic to the households of the Hermanstad/Bethlehem informal settlement. The mobile clinic visits the households once a month. In terms of social grants, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is a regular visitor in the Hermanstad area for various services. In addition, one high mast light and 50 street lights have been installed in the vicinity of the settlement.
The Presidency said the government had undertaken to promote non-racial settlements, and marking Mandela Day in this way would pay befitting tribute to Madiba, who laid the foundation for nation building and reconciliation in South Africa.
Meanwhile, in Mandela’s home town of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, various activities have been planned to mark Mandela Day. President Zuma will hand over the Inkosi Dalibhunga (Mandela’s clan name) bridge to the communities of Udondolo and Mvezo, where Mandela was born on 18 July 1918.
On Wednesday, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will launch the Mandela Park Primary school in Mthatha.
And in the village of Qunu, the Nelson Mandela Museum will mark the day by organising coaching clinics for youngsters. Museum staff will also be cleaning the graves of struggle veteran,s while a fundraising lecture will also be held, with the proceeds to be donated to a charity organisation.