It is important for leaders to behave in a way that is acceptable to the people they lead.
"The exemplary leadership provided by ANC leaders was such that even non-ANC members held them in high regard.
"If you sat among the [South] African people in the early 1950s and asked them who was their leader they would say, Chief Albert Luthuli," he said.
"They were not members of the ANC; some were not supporters of the ANC but these were their national leaders. So I am saying this leadership was sensitive to this [being acceptable to the people], therefore it becomes very important that you [as a leader] behave in a manner that justifies your acceptance by the people as their leader."
Mbeki said the leaders of Mandela's generation, such as Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and Duma Nokwe, knew there were things they could not do because they were unacceptable to those they led.
Asked whether it was possible to perpetuate Mandela's legacy, Mbeki said it was not only possible but necessary.
"It is necessary because the challenges we face today [are] much more complex than the challenge of ending apartheid. You can't say this is difficult and walk backwards in terms of the quality of leadership."
Mbeki said the question of what to do with the Mandela's legacy had not been fully answered . He suggested that part of the answer would be to reflect on the constitution, a legacy of Mandela and his generation.
"Now that he has passed away, we need time to reflect on what he stood for [in relation to] what is happening?"
"Marikana occurs; people will discuss this and say how can it have happened, what has gone wrong?"