Item 1064 - Address at event hosted by Investec, London, October 2003

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ZA COM MR-S-1064


Address at event hosted by Investec, London, October 2003


  • October 2003 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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  • English

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It is a great pleasure to be hosted by Investec here in London.

Such is our relationship with Investec and its leadership that we indeed feel to be at home away from home on the premises of this great South African institution.

I am proud to learn of the various sponsorships and other forms of social corporate responsibility you are involved in. This is totally in line with what I have come to know and expect of Investec.

Your South African colleagues will be able to tell you how often I have knocked on their doors for assistance with one or other project. And never have they failed to respond positively and with great generosity.

Since my release from prison, and even before I became President of the country, I started a project of approaching business leaders to fund the building or renovation of schools and health clinics in the poorer parts of the country. I have kept up that project throughout the period of our presidency and it continues to this day, now under the auspices of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

In all those years I cannot remember a single request being declined. Today there are numerous such schools, clinics and other community projects across the country, all sponsored by South African business and often to the tune of multi-millions of Rands.

These projects are in addition to the work done amongst children by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. I sometimes need to explain this difference to non-South African audiences.

We started the Children’s Fund during our Presidency by donating each year a third of our annual salary for the start-up of the Fund. In that instance too the South African business community responded with overwhelming generosity, as did many benefactors in other parts of the world. Today the Children’s Fund is steadily approaching the endowment target it set in order to be able to operate into perpetuity. The great work it is doing to improve the lives of children has become well known inside and outside of South Africa.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation in turn is the foundation established after our retirement, providing the infrastructure from which we conduct the various activities we are still called upon or feel inclined to be involved in. These are mainly in the areas of education, health, peace and democracy, and the strengthening of national reconciliation. We are sometimes called upon to be involved in international affairs, although we continue to warn that old pensioners like ourselves should be kept out of such matters.

There is of course a third and more recent foundation with which we are involved, namely the Mandela Rhodes Foundation. This is a joint initiative between the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Oxford based Rhodes Trust. This foundation carries the joint names of ourselves and Cecil John Rhodes, the nineteenth century imperial entrepreneur. The Mandela Rhodes Foundation will focus specifically on leadership development and capacity building inside South Africa and broader afield on the African continent.

Those then are some of arenas in which we kept ourselves busy. And in all instances South African business had been reliable and generous partners.

These philanthropic initiatives by our business community represent but one more example of how South Africans from different backgrounds have come together to help heal and build our country.

And Investec, I can assure this audience, has taken pride of place amongst those.

We are of course very proud that Investec carries the South African flag here in London as well. We have a special feeling of national pride about the quality and reputation of our financial services sector.

South Africa could make the progress it did also because of the solid infrastructure of our economy. We have advanced transport networks, including roads, rail, airports and harbours. Our communication systems are sophisticated and modern. And our financial institutions are at par with the best in the world.

It is because we have this special pride in our banks and other financial institutions that we so eagerly agreed to be the guests of Investec this morning.

Very recently the launch of a so-called Financial Services Charter was announced in South Africa. This is part of a general drive by the South African private sector and government to map out a framework for black economic empowerment throughout all sectors of our economy.

The private sector and government are profoundly aware that the fruits of our almost miraculous political transition will only be fully realised if all sectors of society also share in the economy, hence this joint drive towards broad-based black economic empowerment.

The remarkable aspect is that sectors of the economy are developing such charters on their own, and the recently announced Financial Services Charter is a very good example of the industry itself taking the lead without government prescribing.

Once more, Investec had set an example. As the black empowerment targets of the Charter are being digested, Investec had already on its own accord done an empowerment deal through which it has made great strides towards meeting the targets of empowerment.

Not only are we, therefore, dealing with an institution that has secured for itself the reputation of a reliable and innovative bank; they are also leaders when it comes to understanding and responding to the social environment of business.

I am very happy to be here, proudly South African. And Steve and his colleagues back home must surely know that I shall soon find reason to again knock on their doors. A bank looking so prosperous here in the City of London, would not turn away an unemployed old pensioner begging on behalf of some worthy cause!

Congratulations and best wishes with your undertaking as a Private Bank in London.

I thank you.

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Acquisition method: From hard drive ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Prof J Gerwel. Accessioned on 02/03/09 by Razia Saleh




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