THE Nelson Mandela Foundation said it was surprised at perceptions that former president Nelson Mandela, was a “sell-out” and a “front”.
Sello Hatang, the Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO, was speaking at the Apartheid Museum in the south of Joburg on Wednesday.
He was one of the panellists taking part in a debate to celebrate Human Rights Day on whether Mandela’s government set us up for failure.
“I’m surprised to hear that Mandela was a sell-out,” said Hatang. “To say Mandela was used as a front is the lowest form of an insult.”
He said the phrase implied that Mandela was not able to think for himself.
“Mandela may have had faults but we can’t exaggerate. We all make mistakes. We keep on forgetting that he was the government of humanity and the government of national unity.”
He said the police and the military were never on Mandela’s side, but he managed to get them together and we should never undermine that.
“Let us be truthful about history. Mandela brought peace. We did not want to go through what other countries had gone through.
“We might have postponed accountability for the sake of hope, but it was to ensure that we have a stable country.”
Hatang said the legacy of Mandela should be relevant even today.
He also spoke about the land issue and warned that we shouldn’t be fooled. The question of land had always formed part of the constitution, he said.