PRETORIA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- President Jacob Zuma on Saturday warned against attempts to "settle scores" following the death of former President Nelson Mandela.
Certain politicians might use Nelson Mandela's death to try and settle scores, Zuma said at a ceremony to hand over Mandela's body to the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at the Waterkloof Air Force Base near Pretoria.
"We should not think that Madiba's passing is a time for settling scores," Zuma said in apparent reference to calls for a better leadership in the pro-Mandela era.
Earlier this week, former President Thabo Mbeki reportedly said South Africa needs a better leadership to deal with a more complex situation after Mandela's death.
"Exactly because we are dealing with this more complex struggle, we need to raise the level of the quality of leadership," Mbeki told a memorial service for Mandela at the Calvary Church, in Midrand, Johannesburg on Wednesday night.
Zuma said trying to settle scores means that "you do not understand Madiba and you will never understand him, because he was a man of honesty."\
"Comrades, I would be very happy that as we mourn and celebrate Madiba, we do not abuse his name," Zuma said.
Zuma praised Mandela for combining two things that are not easy to do -- to combine theory and practice.
Mandela was able to balance being a great thinker and a great doer in his political life, Zuma said.
"So many things have been said about Madiba because he has done so many things; he has distinguished himself so many times in every way you can think of," Zuma said.
After the handover ceremony, Mandela's body will be flown to the Mthatha Airport near Qunu, Eastern Cape, where Mandela will be laid to rest.
A state funeral will be held on Sunday in Qunu, where Mandela spent much of his childhood.
Mandela, the first democratically elected black president in South Africa, died of illness at his Johannesburg home on Dec. 5 at the age of 95.
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