Mandela's absence cause disappointment at Civil Society forum

Johannesburg- South Africa, (PANA) -- Some 5,000 delegates were disappointed Monday when former South African President Nelson Mandela could not appear to give the opening address at the world forum in Nasrec, one of the major events organised under the auspices of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
The 5,000 delegates from Civil Society and NGOs, who gathered in the conference room named after the liberator of South Africa to listen to him, could not conceal their disappointment.
The lively atmosphere, animated by dances and songs, with delegates chanting "Madiba," in reference to Mandela, suddenly turned to cries of deception when the organisers announced that the former Head of State was unable turn out.
"Nelson Mandela, expected at the opening ceremony, will not be present.
We will do everything possible to have him in one of our conferences next time.
Let us go ahead with the discussions on the agenda," one organiser told the audience.
Upset by the news, angry delegates started leaving the hall, as was the case of Dr Gustave Aboua of the REDDA/NESDA delegation, who could not hide his feelings.
"Listening to and seeing Mandela at the opening of such a meeting would have been wonderful.
Unfortunately, this was not the case.
I am very disappointed that I could neither see nor hear him.
Because as an African, I would like to see the man who rescued South Africa from apartheid and has become the most famous politician of his country, of the continent and of the world," Dr Aboua said.
Other delegates expressed discontent, accusing the organisers of "fraudulently" using Mandela's name to attract a huge crowd to this global civil society forum.
Meanwhile, organisers have again announced that Mandela would address the opening of another conference on water, scheduled Wednesday.

27 august 2002 16:16:00

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