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'Madiba had the courage to apologise for his mistakes'

Ramaphosa says what set Mandela apart from today’s leaders is that he acknowledged his mistakes..

FILE: Former President Nelson Mandela. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says Nelson Mandela was not a man without fault but what sets him apart from today's leaders is that he acknowledged them and was never afraid to apologise for his mistakes.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Houghton on Monday night, during a lecture hosted in remembrance of the former president.

Madiba died on 5 December last year at the age of 95.

The deputy president said the principles that Madiba embodied have to find meaning in our day-to-day relations with each other.

He said Mandela was a quintessential problem solver and always apologised when he was wrong.

"He had the courage to make mistakes and he also had the wisdom to admit his own mistakes - that's what set him apart from many of us who are leaders today."

The Nelson Mandela Foundation says it will be publishing a book that Madiba was working on days before his death, titled The Presidential Years.

The foundation plans to release the book next year, which is about Madiba's thoughts on how he governed the country when he was president.

Mandela left 10 hand-written chapters and his former colleagues worked on a finished draft.

In the first hand-written page of the book, dated 16 October, 1998, the anti-apartheid hero begins by discussing the hopes, fears and fragilities of liberation movements the world over.

"Men and women, all over the world, right down the centuries, come and go. Some leave nothing behind, not even their names. It would seem that they never existed at all," are the opening words of the memoir.

"Others do leave something behind: the haunting memory of the evil deeds they committed against other people," the page released by the foundation goes on to say.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said it was working with the African National Congress to publish the book.