Mandela’s grandson, Mandla Mandela, visited his grandfather on Wednesday and said the family has been deeply touched by the outpouring prayers and messages of goodwill from around the world. He said the family is satisfied with the care Mandela is receiving.
Zuma used Wednesday’s budget address to parliament as an occasion to highlight the work carried out by the African National Congress, the party that Mandela led to South Africa’s presidency, over the last 19 years.
South Africa’s economy has expanded 83 percent since 1994 and per capita income increased by 40 percent, Zuma said. But the recession in Europe, South Africa’s biggest trading partner, has hit Africa’s biggest economy hard, and he said South Africa — which has experienced deadly labor strife in recent years — must move past labor violence.
The vestiges of apartheid, Zuma said, remain in South Africa: Black South Africans have less education and fewer skills than whites because of the apartheid era. As part of promoting national reconciliation, the implementation of black economic empowerment policies will continue, he said. Direct black ownership in Johannesburg’s stock market is less than 5 percent.
“In addition, annual Employment Equity reports indicate that white males still own, control and manage the economy,” Zuma said.
The government is amending the black economic empowerment law to address some of these challenges, he added.
Outside Mandela’s Johannesburg home, well-wishers continued to leave tributes to the former president. A neighbor, Zaheerah Bham’Ismail, said it’s an emotional time for South Africans because Mandela “portrays the entire legacy of what everybody has fought for and our ideals.”
“But at the same time we know we have to say goodbye at some point because he needs … his peace, as well. But I think in order to hold onto him, we’ve got to go back to fight for the ideals that he fought for,” Bham’Ismail said.