Item 1123 - Speech by the Deputy President of the ANC Comrade Nelson Mandela to Black Business people before Departure for the United states of America

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ZA COM MR-S-1123


Speech by the Deputy President of the ANC Comrade Nelson Mandela to Black Business people before Departure for the United states of America


  • 1990-10-06 (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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ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare

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Speech to Black Business People

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  • English

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Mr Chairman,
Distinguished guests,
Fellow compatriots,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the National Executive Committee and the entire membership of the African National Congress, I would like to thank you for inviting us to share with you this momentous occasion in the history of black business. I also bring you greetings and good wishes.

You will shortly be travelling to the United States of America on a study tour. The significance of this tour cannot be over-emphasised. We hope that you will take advantage of this tour to observe very closely the experience of African Americans in their long struggle to become part of the American economy. Theirs must be an experience we can learn from as our black business community struggles to get involved in the real economy of South Africa- this time as owners of factories and farms- and not just as retailers.

A lot of focus will be put on this trip by people in South Africa and the rest of the world. It will therefore be absolutely crucial that you carry with yourselves the trials and tribulations of our people.

Let the American people know, through you the ambassadors of our people on this occasion, the pain which we are experiencing right now in South Africa. Let them know about the violence that has swept through our townships, the barbaric murders in the trains, the role of the security forces and this faceless third force behind this violence.

Let the American people know about our attempts to resolve the situation amidst great difficulties. Let them know that we are as committed as ever to the peaceful resolution of the conflict in our country.

Mr Chairman,

There is no doubt in my mind that you will be inundated with questions around the issue of sanctions and whether the time has not come to lift these sanctions due to the so-called irreversibility of theh process of change in South Africa. We remain committed to the maintenance of sanctions. We are convinced that the time has not yet come for the lifting of sanctions. We are convinced that the time has not yet come for the lifting of sanctions. The political situation has not reached a stage where we can all be satisfied that sanctions should be lifted.

As you are aware, there are numerous attempts in the United States to lobby for the lifting of sanctions. This has become particularly so after the recent visit to the United States by President de Klerk. Despite these attempts, our position enjoys massive support amongst the people of the United States who are fully committed to the ending of apartheid. Sanctions have played a crucial role in bringing us to where we are today.

We hope your visit will strengthen those who are committed to maintaining sanctions. The challenges you will confront in the United States will demand that you maintain very close contact with our diplomatic representation in New York and Washington. These comrades will be of great assistance to you whenever you need them.

Mr Chairman,

I am also certain that your delegation will be asked lots of questions around the ANC's "Discussion Document on Economic Policy". As you all know, this document has been prepared in order to stimulate discussion within the ANC branches, other structures of the ANC and the whole of South African society. It is an attempt at taking discussion much further than it has been so far.

The document has maintained the ANC position that a future economy should be a mixed one; with a public sector, a private sector, a cooperative sector and other small scale business sectors of various designations. The document sets out from the premise that the country's economy is in need of radical restructuring.

Policies of segregation and apartheid have systematically excluded and disadvantaged black people on the economic front. As a result of this, South Africa has acute levels of inequality and poverty which are amongst the highest in the world. In addition, the South African economy has been stagnating since the mid-1970s.

The ANC therefore aims to reverse the present trend towards stagnation and promote economic growth, but we do not agree with those who argue that we must first grow then later on start the process of redistribution. We call for a programme of growth through redistribution, in which redistribution acts as a spur to growth and in which the fruits of growth are directed at satisfying the basic needs of our people. In order to achieve this, cooperation has to be fostered amongst all sectors of the economy on the basis on a national consensus.

The private sector will have an important role to play in the mixed economy of the future. All that is humanly possible will be done to build the confidence of the private sector- both domestic and international- in order that this sector can make its maximum contribution to the development of a post-apartheid economy. Whilst market relations will be an essential component of a mixed economy, the ANC does not believe that market forces alone will result in anything less than the perpetuation of the existing disparities of income and wealth. Government intervention in the form of macro-economic planning, public sector involvement, monetary and fiscal policy measures will be a feature of the envisaged post-apartheid economy.

As far as foreign investment is concerned, an issue likely to feature prominently during your visit to the United States, let me say that the ANC is not opposed to such investment in a post-apartheid South Africa. We will wecome foreign investors who would want to contribute to our economic development. We want to be part of the world economy in future and foreign investors should have no fear for their investment in a post-apartheid South Africa. Measures will be taken to ensure fair returns on investment.

The ANC is committed to the creation of a democratic South Africa which will accord all South Africans a democratic voice in all matters of concern. Organisations to which the people belong, be they trade unions. Youth or women's organisations will be free to organise and publicise their views. In this connection, we envisage that a future democratic government, through consultation, will devise a democratic legal framework within which labour relations will take place.

Mr Chairman,

Your mission to the Untied States is an important one. We hope that, on your return, you will find time to give us a briefing about it. Once again, on behalf of the National Executive Committee, the membership of the ANC and all democratic formations in our country I would like to wish you well. Please tell the American people that their fellow Yankee down here sends them greetings.

Thank you very much.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 14/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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