Buthelezi leads MPs in Mandela salute

2013-06-12 20:39

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Cape Town - IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi led male MPs in a salute to former president Nelson Mandela on Wednesday.

"God is merciful, and we pray that Madiba will recover," Buthelezi said, speaking in the National Assembly during debate on the presidency's 2013/14 budget.

The veteran politician, who turns 85 this year, then asked the men in the House to stand to pay tribute to Madiba.

"Ah! Dalibhunga!" he called out, in recognition of Mandela's royal roots. MPs echoed the call.

The name Dalibhunga is one reserved for male Xhosa chiefs and princes.

Earlier, President Jacob Zuma told MPs that Mandela was responding well to treatment

"I am happy to report that Madiba is responding better to treatment from this morning."

He said government was "very happy with the progress that he is now making, following a difficult last few days".

Mandela has been receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection in the intensive care unit of a Pretoria hospital since Saturday.

Zuma said government appreciated the messages of support for Mandela from all over the world.

"It is an honour for us as South Africans to share Madiba with the international community. We fully understand and appreciate the global interest in this world icon. We are so proud to call him our own."

Prayers for Madiba

He urged South Africans, and the international community, to "continue to keep president Mandela and the medical team in their thoughts and prayers".

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota said he was praying Mandela made a speedy recovery.

"In his suffering today, we suffer with him," he said.

Mandela had played a major role in uniting a divided country following his release from prison.

"He forged the Constitution that freed and united us. He created the moral compass that guided us. He bred the hope that inspired us," Lekota said.

DA leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said her party's thoughts and prayers were with the ailing statesman.

- SAPA

Read more on:    cope  |  da  |  anc  |  ifp  |  mosiuoa lekota  |  lindiwe mazibuko  |  jacob zuma  |  nelson mandela  |  mangosuthu buthelezi  |  cape town  |  parliament 2013
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