Parliament on 30th anniversary of Madiba’s release from Victor Verster Prison

30th anniversary of Madiba’s release from Victor Verster prison

Thirty years ago today Tata Nelson Mandela walked out of Victor Verster Prison with a renewed sense of commitment to our land and its people after the Apartheid government sent him to jail for fighting for justice.

Tata Mandela spent 27 years of his life in jail, split between Robben Island (18), Pollsmoor Prison, and Victor Verster Prison (now known as Drakenstein Correctional Centre), for standing up against the racist and inhumane laws of the white supremacist Apartheid government.

Instead of getting back at his jailors by seeking revenge, Tata Mandela focused on values that would yield the greater good for all South Africans – including peace, forgiveness, compassion, human dignity, reconciliation, and nation-building. When he came out of prison Tata said he was aware that many had expected him to harbour anger towards whites.

But I had none. In prison, my anger towards whites decreased, but my hatred for the system grew. I wanted South Africa to see that I loved even my enemies while I hated the system that turned us against one another, said Tata Mandela, who served one term as the first Black President of the democratic Republic of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

As we remember the day of his release from prison, Parliament’s Presiding Officers led by National Assembly Speaker, Ms Thandi Modise, and National Council of Provinces Chairperson, Mr Amos Masondo, urge all to emulate Tata Madiba by finding a renewed sense of commitment to South Africa and its people.

Our country is still plagued by poverty and inequality which are exacerbated by the high rate of unemployment amongst certain sections of our society.

The 6th democratic Parliament is currently engaged in legislative reforms that will, amongst others, widen access to land (Bill to amend Section 25 of the Constitution) and broaden access to health services (the National Health Insurance Bill). Despite progress made in availing free primary health services to all, lack of access to health care continues to be a major concern.

Through the National Health Insurance, Parliament hopes to ensure that all people receive the health services they need, including health initiatives designed to promote better health and prevent illness.

After the willing buyer, willing seller principle adopted by the government did not yield the desired results of land redistribution Parliament approved the establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee to Initiate and Introduce Legislation Amending Section 25 of the Constitution. Among other things, the aim of the Bill is to amend the Constitution to provide that where land and any improvements thereon are expropriated for the purposes of land reform, nil compensation may be payable.

Parliament will soon roll out a year-long programme to celebrate the 30 years anniversary of Tata Madiba’s release from prison. Planned activities to mark this celebration includes a mural to be erected at Parliament to reflect our journey since Madiba’s release.

Source: Government of South Africa