Former Robben Island prisoner, Seth Mazibuko, says there is little to celebrate today as the world marks the 30th anniversary of former President Nelson Mandela’s release from prison after spending 27 years.
Speaking to SABC News, Mazibuko says when Mandela was released from prison there was an atmosphere of joy that has since been debilitated due to high levels of poverty.
“How many of those people who welcomed Mandela are in poverty and still homeless? Can we still say that joy can be replayed,” he inquired.
The former Robben Islander says increasing poverty levels in the country are a dent in Mandela’s legacy. He slammed politicians for failing to follow Madiba’s principles, instead of putting themselves first.
Mazibuko also questioned if President Cyril Ramaphosa has what it takes to lead people out of poverty.
“That same Cyril cannot be able to give people land so that they have homes… do I have something to celebrate on this day?… No.”
Earlier, Ramaphosa said Madiba’s release was a catalytic moment in South Africa’s history. He was delivering the keynote address on the balcony of the Cape Town City Hall, where Madiba addressed thousands of people on this day in 1990.
The speech is one of several events to mark the 30th anniversary of his release from the then Victor Verster Prison in Paarl. Ramaphosa stood next to the struggle icon when he made his first speech as a free man after spending 27 years in jail.