Item 1271 - Notes for President Nelson Mandela's Remarks at the Launch of The National Business Initiative

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ZA COM MR-S-1271


Notes for President Nelson Mandela's Remarks at the Launch of The National Business Initiative


  • 1995-03-09 (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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Launch of the National Business Initiative

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  • English

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1 Thanks for the invitation to the launch of this new business initiative. Perhaps it is a misnomer to refer to this as a business initiative, for, it will involve more than just business. I am informed that, among your objectives, is to bring into this enterprise, leaders of other structures of civil society, even if it is only in their individual capacity.

2 In more ways than one, what we are launching today is one vivid expression of the blooming of democracy in our country. Formal structures are a crucial element of a vibrant democracy. But what gives government of the people, by the people for the people, real meaning, is in large measure the ability of civil society to take initiatives to assert its role and influence decision-making. In this context, democracy becomes more than just a five-yearly exercise in casting a vote.

3 The survival of our democracy is made the more assured by the fact that its birth has been characterised by such vibrancy, openness and depth. Perhaps it is the welcome irony of our history of intense repression that we have in struggle forged both the structures and the culture that allows democracy to flower in full bloom.

4 It is incumbent upon all sectors of society to seek to influence others as well as government. In this difficult era of transition, where goals are more or less clear, and yet with so many ideas about how to get there, the National Business Initiative will most certainly play a crucial role as a blast furnace of ideas. It will certainly contribute to formulation of policy in government and other fora such as NEDLAC.

5 In this regard, it is crucial that those endowed with resources take it upon themselves to empower those previously disadvantaged. Thus we shall ensure that determination of policy does not become an exercise among the powerful to share power among themselves. Rather, it should lead to the galvanisation of the nation, the building of a society in which the talents of all its people are fully tapped.

6 Merging in this initiative are organisations whose contribution to South Africa's transition has been immense.

6.1 The Urban Foundation, with origins that many initially did not fully welcome, contributed over the years in changing mind-sets especially among those who wielded power. In its own humble way, it helped chip at the edges of an illegitimate order, and thus to hasten its demise.

6.2 The Consultative Business Movement is known even beyond our borders for the role that it played in bringing South Africans across wide chasms for dialogue - Afrikaner intellectuals, trade unions, business and the then banned ANC. In these encounters, mutual influence was brought to bear on all of us, ultimately kindling the sense of national interest that made the South African miracle possible. Its services to the multi-party forum are appreciated across the spectrum.

7 Many employees of both the Urban Foundation and the CBM are now making an important contribution both in government and individual companies. But it would have been sad if the expertise and experience acquired in these fora were allowed to dissipate in disparate directions.

8 What this initiative therefore signifies is that the capacity to examine problem areas critically and the networking represented by both CBM and the Urban Foundation will merge in a chemistry whose impact on South African life will indeed be explosive. This is what the Reconstruction and Development Programme needs.
9 But the country requires of us much more. It demands practical actions to ensure economic growth and equity, human resource development and good governance. It requires clear programmes to address especially the needs of the most disadvantaged: women, youth, the rural masses and the unemployed.
10 As government, we are hopeful that this pooling of great minds will help reinforce us for the difficult tasks ahead. We welcome, without qualification, your offer of partnership in the realisation of the RDP. On our part, we will continue along the path of good governance, rational management of the country's resources and implementation of visible change.
11 We are confident that, together, we have it in our power to build a better life for all.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 22/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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