Item 1183 - Statement of the President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela to the Joint Assembly of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of Countries and the European Community

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ZA COM MR-S-1183


Statement of the President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela to the Joint Assembly of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of Countries and the European Community


  • 1993-10-07 (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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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 leadership of both the EC and the ACP, for inviting us to speak at this august gathering. This gathering expresses for us, the importance of joint collaboration in the quest for human development across many of the boundaries which may artificially separate us.

We have just arrived in Brussels from Portugal and the United States of America. We have spoken at the United nations and also addressed a number of meetings on the central issue of the transition to democracy in our country. We indicated that due to the enormous and indeed historic developments in our country, particularly the passing of the Transitional Executive Council Bill by parliament, the time had come for us to call for the lifting of all economic sanctions against South Africa.

As you know, our people have not yet elected a democratic government of their choice. In this connection it is important that the white minority government and its institutions, which remain in place in our country should not be granted recognition and treated as though they were the representative of all the people of South Africa. The Transitional Executive Council will provide the appropriate mechanisms for the interaction between South Africa and the international community in the period between now and the formation of the new government. We should here mention that within the ambit of the diplomatic sanctions which many countries imposed, we also believe that such countries may now establish a diplomatic presence in South Africa to enhance their capacity to assist our people in the different activities requiring the support of the international community. In this regard, we would expect that the ACP and the EC will as well, cooperate with the TEC and its sub council on international affairs as part and parcel of our joint endeavour to lay a sound foundation for future relations between a democratic South Africa, the EC and the ACP group of countries.

In April next year, the first and historic general elections for a constitution making body will take place. By this election, South Africans will also be making their choice of who should govern the country during the process of constitution writing. As we have said on numerous occasions, and we would like to repeat here today, this election will be a revolutionary act in the sense that for the first time, the majority of South Africans will cast their vote. By that very act, they will put to rest all the years of apartheid and racist bigotry which made South Africa such a pariah in the international community of nations.

As far as the elections are concerned, the voter education campaign needs to be speeded up and more resources made available. As we have said before, voter education assumes an even greater importance in South Africa given the fact that many black people, young and old, have never ever voted in their lives before. We would like to reiterate our call to the European Community in particular, to step up its capacity to monitor the election process and the election itself to ensure that no single organisation can make the election unworkable or refuse to accept the election results.

The biggest challenge for us will be to deal with the destruction caused by the apartheid system in both South and southern Africa. You will all remember that as a result of apartheid destabilisation, many people in the region lost their limbs, lives and property. The economy of the region was severely destroyed and infrastructure in some of the countries was reduced to nothing. The freeing of South Africa therefore poses many challenges for regional reconstruction, cooperation and development. In this context, the role of the European Community in Southern Africa is crucial and requires continuous expansion.

For our part, we will upgrade our current level of participation in the SADC so that together, we may continue to build regional cooperation and development for the achievement of our regional goals of equity, balanced development and mutual benefit.

Our policies have, as their central thrust, the transformation, reconstruction and development of all aspects of South African society. Nothing which currently constitutes South Africa will be immune from this process of transformation. We want to fight the inequalities, poverty and deprivation caused by the apartheid system. In this process, we would like to invite you, our brothers and sisters from the ACP and EC, to join hands with us. We have a lot to learn from your efforts, collectively and individually.

We have of course, been discussing amongst ourselves about the most appropriate form of joining the Lome Convention and also of establishing very strong bilateral relations between Europe and South Africa. As these discussions assume a high sense of urgency, we hope that the mission of the European Community to South Africa and the Transitional Executive Council, will continue to share ideas on the best possible way which our relationship can take.

For our part, we see Europe playing an even more important role in our country and region. In the first place, trade and
investment flows will be the key and central level of the European Community's engagement with South and southern Africa. Given the general trade and investment flows of the past, we would expect that as the democratisation process in South Africa and the normalisation of relations with South Africa gain momentum, these flows will also increase.

We have taken the position that the entry of foreign investment into South Africa will be guided by the principle of national treatment. There will be no discrimination in the way in which international corporations are treated. All companies, whether domestic or foreign, will be expected to comply with whatever South African laws are in existence. Such laws will fundamentally be directed at ensuring that we all march in step as we change South Africa to be what all our people want it to be: a democratic, non-racial and non-sexist country. In addition, we will guarantee the security of all companies, the repatriation of after tax profits and the proceeds accruing as a result of any sale of one's business activities in South Africa. We would however, expect that companies from Europe and all over the world will do all in their power to seek out and engage in partnerships with the emerging black business community in South Africa. Further, that they will support programmes of affirmative action by ensuring that in their employment practices, they do not reproduce the old patterns created by the apartheid system in which black management play no role in the actual management of companies.

During the difficult and dark days of apartheid, you all rallied to support the democratic movement in our country. This is a role which has been greatly appreciated by all of us. Now that the situation is changing, there are those who are calling for a radical change in the way in which Europe interacted with the democratic movement and the non-governmental organisations in particular. The Special Assistance programme of the EC played an important role in the creation and development of some of the non-governmental organisations in our country. Many of these organisations have come to play an important role in the development efforts of our people. It would be a historic mistake indeed, if these organisations were suddenly to terminate their activities in the coming weeks and months just because the TEC has been installed or simply because the call for the lifting of sanctions has been made. The non-governmental organisations are playing a crucial role in the development arena in South Africa and it would therefore be inappropriate for this sector of our struggle to suddenly disappear. For that matter, we would urge that support for these organisations should continue in the post- elections period.

Some people have argued that once the TEC is installed, all development assistance should go through the government and parastatal sector only. We would like to advice that such a policy is short sighted given the fact that the process of transforming both government and parastatal institutions will be a long and hard battle ahead of us. The transformation of these institutions is on top of our agenda but this will not be achieved overnight. Whilst it is correct that some of the development cooperation resources should go through the democratic state and its institutions, it would once again be incorrect to write off the non-governmental organisations. We hope that through your engagement with these state and parastatal institutions, you will assist us as well in our efforts to transform them. Similarly, the non-governmental organisations and networks in Europe has been important in our struggle and we would expect them to continue that role in the coming period.

We are determined to ensure that South Africa plays its full role amongst the developing countries of the ACP. We are keen that the current levels of contact and discussions should be speeded up, so that we can indeed move towards a more active and higher level of preparation for the coming period. It is not only in relation to the EC that we want closer working relations with our brothers and sisters in the ACP, but we want to develop as well, bilateral relations between the member countries of the ACP group, and by so doing, strengthen our relations with other fellow developing countries. We are confident that as many countries from the ACP as possible will establish a diplomatic presence in South Africa, as a result of which discussions between us could gain more frequency and prominence.

Once again, Z would like to express our collective appreciation for this invitation to speak here today. Major challenges lie ahead and we are confident that the EC and ACP will once more walk with us towards the achievement of our goals.

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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