ANC: SA must unite

The ANC says this is not the time for pettiness, but rather to celebrate Madiba's legacy.

Former President Nelson Mandela died peacefully at his Houghton home shortly before 9pm on 5 December. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC is calling on all South Africans to unite and celebrate the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

Madiba passed away peacefully shortly before 9pm on Thursday evening at his Houghton home in Johannesburg.

Zuma declared a period of mourning ahead of the funeral, with tomorrow set aside as a day of prayer and reflection.

The ceremonies are expected to be on a grand scale to rival those of any icon before him.

State officials from across the globe, including all living US presidents, will attend Mandela's official state funeral set to take place in Qunu in the Eastern Cape on 15 December.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said this is not the time for pettiness.

"We will talk to everyone who wants to talk to us because this is the time for South Africans to unite and not fight."

He said for the next few days of mourning, the party will focus on avoiding any form of disagreement.

"Our commitment is that we won't be fighting with anybody for the next 10 days, even people who touched us on the wrong side, we will tolerate them."

Meanwhile, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane, says government is now working frantically to get things ready for Madiba's funeral.

"We have been working flat out to coordinate with the family and with the ANC to put things together and ensure we meet the deadlines that have been set."

Parliament will also hold a special joint sitting to pay tribute to Mandela.

While the date has yet to be confirmed, it's expected to take place early next week.

President Zuma Press Briefing on Mandela.: http://t.co/shcaPiAOkr via @youtube

SA LEADERS REFLECT ON MADIBA'S LEGACY

South African leaders are taking time to reflect on Mandela's contribution to South Africa.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa says Madiba's legacy will live on as South Africans continue to grow closer.

"The legacy that he leaves us overall is transformation and this is the moment when, as we put him to rest, all of us as South Africans will be saying let us reconcile and let us transform our country to properly build it into the South Africa of Mandela's dreams."

Former president Thabo Mbeki says that while now is a time of reflection and introspection, it does not mean the country's leadership will lose their moral compass.

"I think the fear that something horrible is going to happen because Mandela is no longer here is wrong. One can understand it but I don't think we should entertain a fear of that kind."

Former Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon says Madiba always put others ahead of himself.

He says his legacy of reconciliation that will always stand out.

Speaking in Cape Town on Friday afternoon, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said Mandela taught South Africans valuable lessons in forgiveness and reconciliation.

An emotional Tutu urged people to put these principles into practice and help realise Madiba's dream of a united South Africa.

He described Mandela as an angry young man when he went to prison only to emerge 27 years later as an icon of compassion and forgiveness.

"A unifier from the moment he walked out of prison. He taught us extraordinary practical lessons about forgiveness, compassion and reconciliation."

Tutu said South Africans owe it to themselves and to Mandela's legacy to mourn his passing with dignity and respect.