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Inauguration: This is the moment Madiba was waiting for, says Mandla Mandela

Late former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Mandla, says Madiba would be proud of Ramaphosa.

Former president Nelson Mandela’s eldest grandson Mandla Mandela. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

LOFTUS STADIUM - Former president Nelson Mandela’s eldest grandson Mandla Mandela says the late statesman would be happy to see President Cyril Ramaphosa finally ascend to power.

Ramaphosa was Mandela’s protege after his release from prison with many in the ANC saying he was Madiba’s chosen successor although Thabo Mbeki ended up taking over the presidency.

It was Ramaphosa who led the team that oversaw former Madiba’s return as he was released from jail, after 27 years.

One of the iconic pictures of the time is a young Ramaphosa flanking Mandela as he made his first appearance at Cape Town city centre, addressing thousands of supporters who were in awe.

Cyril Ramaphosa stands next to President Nelson Mandela as he holds up a copy of the new South African Constitution at its signing in 1996. Credit: Robbie Botha.

Ramaphosa was quickly seen as the likely deputy president, his chances bolstered by his election as secretary of the ANC in 1991.

But he lost the battle to be second in command to Mbeki. 25 years into our democracy, Mandela’s grandson says Madiba would be proud.

“We are very happy as a family that what my grandfather had seen so many years ago has been fulfilled.”

He says he hopes the president will address the critical issues in the country, including the plight of rural communities.

“A lot of South Africans hopes are vested in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s leadership and the new dawn has ushered in.”

Ramaphosa is the fifth democratically elected president.

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)