Item 1187 - Statement of the President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela to the Confederation of British Industry Conference on "SA:A focus on Changing Economic Priorities".

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ZA COM MR-S-1187


Statement of the President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela to the Confederation of British Industry Conference on "SA:A focus on Changing Economic Priorities".


  • 1993-10-12 (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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Conference of the British Industry Conference

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  • English

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Honourable Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress and on my own behalf, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Confederation of British Industry, for inviting us to speak at this conference. This conference signifies the beginning of a new era in the relationship between British industry and South Africa.

A fundamental process of transformation is taking place in South Africa. The passing of the Transitional Executive Council Bill by parliament, the setting of a date for elections and together with other agreements at the negotiations process, has led us to conclude that the time had come for the lifting of all economic sanctions against South Africa. The United Nations has now decided that the oil embargo will be lifted when the TEC has been installed, The arms embargo will stay in place until after the elections.

In April next year, the first historic non-racial general elections for a constitution making body will take place. By this election, South Africans will also be making a choice of who should govern the country during the process of negotiating the new constitution. Millions of our people will celebrate our collective victory against colonialism and apartheid, We will have triumphed over racists and their international supporters.

We would like to say very clearly that we have reached this stage of the transition to democracy in South Africa because millions of people in South Africa and throughout the world, joined hands in one of the most bitter struggles against racist oppression, exploitation and injustice.

It is appropriate that we salute all those men and women in the United Kingdom, who embraced our struggle as theirs, who accepted us into their homes as one of their own and who campaigned tirelessly for the imposition of sanctions. We also salute those business leaders who responded positively to our call and who also supported us financially and otherwise.

Today, I stand here on behalf on the ANC, principally to invite you to come and invest in South Africa and by so doing join us in the new struggle for economic and social development.

The biggest challenge for us will be to deal with the destruction caused by the apartheid system in both South and southern Africa. Apartheid destabilised and killed many people and has also left many in our region crippled and their property destroyed. Within the context of regional cooperation and development, it will be possible for the region to seek out partners from all over the world, including the United Kingdom, to assist in our development efforts.

These development efforts can only succeed hand in hand sustained economic recovery. This is where we need your help. There is a major job ahead of us. It is only when the current low levels of investment are turned around and the economy r-revitalised that we can achieve higher levels of economic growth, create more jobs and produce manufacturing products which are internationally competitive.

The United Kingdom, the bastion of democracy, should play .y a. leadership role in supporting, our reconstruction endeavours. A successful political solution an only be sustained if there is economic revitalisation. The British industrialists have a central role to play in this. We urge you not to let us down.

The City of London is the hub of international finance and has historically been the principal conduit of international capital flows to South Africa. We hope that the London financial markets will take the lead in expanding and developing new linkages between our own market, the Johannesburg Stock exchange, and the world investing community.

We would like to re-emphasize that we are committed to doing all we can to encourage and welcome international investment into South Africa. We are convinced that such international investments will increase the capacity of the South African economy to grow and develop.

The South African economy has shown itself to be highly sensitive to the availability of international capital In the period since the infamous Rubicon speech of P.W. Botha in 1985, foreign financing of domestic investment has declined to less than 12% and the rate of growth of the economy has been less than 2% on average. A change in the level of foreign financing as a result of foreign direct investment, institutional investment and other forms of external capital support, can radically improve the performance of our economy.

We are holding discussing with a number of private sector and multilateral institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Community to establish what role they can play in supporting our reconstruction and development endeavours.

Our approach to the entry of international investment into South Africa will be guided by the principle of national treatment. All companies, whether domestic or foreign, will be subject to the same policy environment. They will operate under the same laws of the country and there will be no discrimination between domestic and international companies. The laws of the country will ensure that we all work together to transform South Africa to be what we have always wanted it to be: a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic country in which people are judged by their capabilities and not their colour, sex or creed.

In addition, we will guarantee the security of all investment against expropriation and also ensure that companies are free to repatriate after tax profits and the proceeds accruing to them as a result of the sale of their business activities in South Africa.

We are also fully aware that the existence of exchange controls could act as a deterrent to many potential investors who may not be certain about the full implications of this system to their investments. We are on record as saying that we will strongly suggest that South Africa should abolish the exchange control system at the earliest possible opportunity. This should be made possible once some semblance of stability returns to the economy, particularly the balance between capital inflow and outflow. Similarly we should be able to unify South Africa's dual currency system.

We recognise the importance which both domestic and foreign companies attach to the early democratic election for a representative government and to the need to bring the appalling level of violence within our country to an end. We are convinced that there is sufficient will and commitment to confront these issues head on. Violence cannot be allowed to continue and must be brought to an end.

We are determined to remove South Africa from the list of debt re-scheduling countries, it was in pursuance of this objective, that we supported the programme to resolve South Africa's international debt standstill by the year 2001. This is important in order to achieve the long-term international re-positioning of our economy and society.

The dawning of the new South Africa imposes major challenges on us to develop the human resource capabilities of all our people, black and white. In this connection, we are committed to the introduction of a new system of education and skills training in conjunction with the private sector, which will enable our people to play a key role in their different work situations.

We are pleased to note that an announcement is due within the week about the establishment of a science research park in the Western cape region of our country. Once this has been fully implemented, this project should contribute significantly to science and technological development,

We also call upon all South Africans, black or white, who have left South Africa due to the apartheid system or other reasons, to come back home and make their much needed contribution to the building of a new non-racial society. We know that many of these South Africans have become distinguished citizens of this country and many others. It will be our great honour and privilege to welcome them home.

As you prepare to extend your involvement with South Africa, we would like to urge you, to consider very seriously the question of black economic empowerment and more specifically, the development of black owned businesses. Our people have been excluded from the mainstream of the economy for many years by the apartheid system. They were not allowed to run businesses for many decades. The time has now come for them to occupy their rightful place in all aspects of our society, including the business sector.

We appeal to you once again today, to seek out and engage in meaningful partnerships with the emerging black businesses. This will go a long way towards the reinforcement of the deracialisation of our society.

For our part, we will encourage black business development in a variety of ways, including the use of the state Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) for loan financing and the creation of new instruments within other parastatal institutions such as the Development Bank and the Small Business Development Corporation for assisting black business development.

Already, there are a few promising black business ventures such as Metropolitan Life Holdings and National Sorghum Breweries which, given the necessary support, could grow and become the torch bearers for black business development. Our expectations are that soon, black owned businesses will spread to the entire productive sector of die economy. They will need your support and collaboration.

Some of the negative features of the South African economy are the highly concentrated a=rid monopolised form of business organisation. There are many reasons for this, some of which relate to sanctions, exchange control, over protectionism and the lack of a strong legal environment to enforce a highly competitive market environment.

There is a lot of concern about the structure of ownership and the organisation of our corporate entities and groups. In our policy documents, we have made a commitment to introduce anti-trust laws in order to promote and protect a more competitive business environment and to stimulate the process of corporate unbundling. This should contribute significantly to making it easier for new companies to invest and grow in specific market segments of our economy.

We have also committed ourselves to introducing a programme to reduce and rationalise our tariff structure with the objective of creating a more dynamic trading environment. Such a programme will link trade reform with industrial development within the context of the imperative of international competitiveness of our industrial sector.

In our view, the United Kingdom should be at the forefront, helping the new South Africa. Despite the many problems and weaknesses mentioned above, South Africa still offers a relatively developed infrastructural base and an abundance of mineral resources. These should contribute to an attractive investment destination. We look forward to welcoming and assisting you in your involvement in South Africa.

I would like to thank you again for organising this conference and inviting us to be here. I regret that I cannot stay for the entire conference but I wish you success and also hope to see many of you in South Africa with your investment plans.

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 19/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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