Item 1180 - Address to the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce Delivered at the Cape Sun Hotel by Nelson Mandela President of the African National Congress

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ZA COM MR-S-1180


Address to the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce Delivered at the Cape Sun Hotel by Nelson Mandela President of the African National Congress


  • 1993-09-08 (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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  • English

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Ladies and Gentlemen;
Comrades and Friends.

We want to thank the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce for this opportunity to share a few ideas. We, in the ANC, have long been impressed by the open attitude of this Chamber to creating opportunities for the exchange of ideas.

In many respects, this particular forum could not be more timely. The negotiations now taking place at the World Trade Centre is presently under severe pressure. On the one hand, there is the real pressure of time - a number of key agreements will have to be struck within the next few hours to ensure that they can be drafted into the Bills to be placed before Parliament when it convenes next Monday. On the other hand, the negotiations are being placed under severe pressure by parties who are fundamentally opposed to democracy - sabre rattling with "Civil War" as its cry is rising in prominence and tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear arguments which will attempt to reverse many of the agreements already achieved in these tedious negotiations.

The strategy of the losers has been exposed now. It entails a combination of filibustering, court action, threats of war and, in all likelihood, even the orchestration of indiscriminate violence against innocents. None of this can or should be tolerated. Tolerance now will see an intensification of violence in the run-up to the elections - whilst we all accept that a climate for free and fair elections must be free of violence, our country cannot play by the rules of the loser's rules which seek to force the decision that if sufficient violence is generated, there cannot be an election. The application which will be heard in the Supreme Court is also an important test of bona fides - presumably, if the court decides in favour of the applicant the Negotiating Forum will be honour-bound to reverse its decisions; if on the other hand, the court finds in favour of the defendant, the applicant should in like vein return to the negotiations - but, will it?

The key debate underway within the negotiations relates to the powers and functions of the Transitional Executive Council. The ANC remains convinced that the TEC must be vested with Executive powers to ensure that it can level the playing field. For example, a TEC Sub Council on Law and Order which cannot have its presence felt in respect of the attitudes and objectives of township policing between now and the election date has very little reason to exist. We assert, as we have before that the TEC has to level the playing field; we should not be asked to engage in a window dressing exercise.

One cannot sufficiently stress the importance of this agreement on the TEC. Apart from the obvious raison d'etre, the lifting of trade and financial sanctions also hinges on its speedy establishment. This is a position which the ANC National Executive Committee took in February of this year in an attempt to contract the period by which sanctions can be lifted. As soon as the TEC is in place, therefore, we will actively campaign across the world for their lifting and for inflows of capital into South Africa.

For a period yet, the formal lifting of sanctions will be only an important psychological step. Many of the serious investors whom we want to attract to our country will , regrettably, adopt a wait and see attitude for a few months. In part, they will be 'waiting and seeing' what happens in respect of the violence and the outcome of the elections. More importantly, they will have their attention focused on the moves of South Africa's own investment community - it is there that they will read the attitudes of confidence which will decide how they should move.

Chairperson, this Chamber counts among its members at least three of our country's largest insurance houses. These are organisations which hold vast sums of investment capital. We should not underestimate their capacity to turn around global attitudes to investment in South Africa. From them, the world wants more than pronouncements, it will seek investment action as the trigger for global confidence.

This region and the membership of this Chamber is also marked by light and medium industry which employs many thousands of workers at all skills levels. The potential of this region has yet to be seen. We, in the

ANC argue vigorously that the turnabout in the economic fortunes of South Africa will be piloted by the kinds of small and medium enterprises which predominate in this region. My visit to the Rex Trueform clothing factory earlier today confirms that workers share the same concerns as employers about economic growth. In addition we were struck by the determination of those workers to make a substantial contribution to economic growth.

On our previous visits to this region, we were struck by the sensitivity displayed by important members of your Chamber to allow space for emerging Black entrepreneurs. This sensitivity must be carried forward into action. Central to the capacity to stabilise our country will be the need to create equity for the stakeholders who were consciously excluded by apartheid from participation in the economic mainstream. This region has the ability to play a leading role in the creation of new stakeholders and we want to appeal that this task proceed in earnest.

The challenge before all of us, my friends, is to stabilise our country. This task cannot be left only to the political organisations and their leaders. You as South Africans with a stake in this country have a paramount role to play. Governments can only create an enabling environment for growth; you, as businesspersons must ensure that the economy grows; you must also, to secure long-term stability, ensure that the benefits of such growth are appropriately apportioned. This is a mission way beyond the constitutional debates. We cannot sufficiently emphasise the importance of your role.

I thank you.

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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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