Item 1299 - Notes for an address by President Nelson Mandela at a Meeting with Opinion Makers

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ZA COM MR-S-1299

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Notes for an address by President Nelson Mandela at a Meeting with Opinion Makers

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  • 1996-04-21 (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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  • English

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TRANSCRIPT

1 Pietermaritzburg - a city in transition.

1.1 I feel deeply honoured to meet the leading opinion makers of Pietermaritzburg - the Royal Kraal of King Dingane. It was in this city that the legendary Mahatma Gandhi started his crusade against racism and oppression. This city has also produced some of the best leaders whose fight against apartheid is known here and abroad. This is the home base of Selby Msimang - Unkonka wefusi. Moses Mabhida, Alan Paton and Harry Gwala also hailed from this
City.

1.2 For me this city has mixed memories. It was here that I made my last public appearance at the All-In-Africa conference in 1961 and I was arrested at Howick not far from here the next year.

1.3 Soon you will be going to the polls to elect your own local authorities. The elections will bring the decision- making powers to all the people of Maritzburg for the first time. The municipality you will establish will receive and allocate the funding destined for the city.

1.4 The progress which the Transitional Local Council has made towards transformation is a source of pride. It. has set an example to the rest of the country.

1.5 If there was any doubt as to this TLC's competence, the manner in which it handled the Christmas flood crisis dispelled that doubt. Despite the problems and delays, the building of houses has started at Slangspruit and Willowfountain. I was pleased to learn that flood victims from Peace Valley will soon receive land and housing. This is how the ANC understands the role of local government. Congratulations!

2 Crime, Violence, and Local Government

2.1 Our young democracy is faced with an alarming rise in the crime rate which affects all of us. We can't allow this evil to undermine the advances we are making.

2.2 Government has made the fight against criminal violence a priority. Soon the Cabinet will receive a national policing plan from the Safety and Security secretariat as part of a long-term plan to eradicate this problem once and for all.

2.3 As immediate measures the government has tightened bail conditions for people suspected of violent crimes and deployed troops to assist the police.

2.4 KwaZulu-Natal is still reeling under the pressure of politically-related violence. The National Police Commissioner has announced plans to combat this menace. Investigation units will be set up to track down perpetrators of this crime. Thus far this is proving a success in the Port Shepstone Izingolvveni area.

2.5 However, all the police efforts will come to nothing without your support as community leaders. You must take your people with you and give the security forces all the co-operation they need.

2.6 You must not only be opposed to violence. But you must be seen and heard to be against it. I call on you singly and collectively, to condemn this senseless carnage in public. Your stance on this issue must be exemplary.

2.7 If the violence continues. Maritzburg will deteriorate rather than develop. Should that happen posterity will blame it on you, as the city's leaders. You cannot fail its proud people. They depend on you.

3 Business and Local Government

3.1 Job creation is an integral part of the battle against crime. In the past six months this city lost 3 000 jobs mainly in the textile industry. With their families this means many thousands more people being relegated to poverty.

3.2 I appeal to business to discuss any shedding of jobs with labour and municipality in advance to ensure that affected workers are re-trained.

3.3 Last year we experienced a level of economic growth unprecedented for many years - but it brought few new jobs. The government is developing a strategy to tackle this problem.

3.4 However growth strategies will only be effective if they are rooted at the local level. Business must strategise locally with labour and local government on how to solve this problem. The allocation of RDP projects must also be used to help develop local small business - and that in turn will benefit the local population in the long term.

3.5 I am inspired to learn of the Hulett Aluminium expansion. This provides an opportunity for the growth of thousands of down stream jobs.

3.6 In creating jobs, let us ensure that workplace relations are worthy of the non-racial and democratic. ideals of our new society, and that fair wages are paid.

4 Affirmative Action and Local Government

4.1 It is also important that companies apply affirmative action in the way in which it is intended by the government and the ANC. This policy is aimed at providing opportunities for all those previously disadvantaged by apartheid: Africans. Coloureds, and Indians. We are totally opposed to its being applied for the benefit of Africans only.

4.2 Nor should it be used to punish Whites. The policy is one of creating opportunities, not taking them away. It is a tool to redress the wrongs of the past and not to start new wrongs. Properly used it \\Al release the immense potential of our people which apartheid left unused and neglected.

5 Conclusion

5.1 Much as the ANC yearns for elections_,we don't want to subject this province to a fraudulent election. The government has therefore established a multi-party commission that will probe all reports of irregularities, and prepare the way for fair and free elections.

5.2 The ANC has put forward candidates who have a
record of working for a better life for their communities.. Already the record of the ANC-led TLC in this city has demonstrated what can be achieved under an ANC municipality.

5.3 With the ANC-led local authorities you will rest assured that communities of Maritzburg are not left behind as the rest of the country takes bold strides towards a bright future.

5.4 The ANC is the only organisation in South Africa with policies, the vision, and the determination to unite all its citizens in making democracy a living reality and build a better life for all.

A better life for all!
Lets make it happen in Pietermaritzburg
Now its our turn!

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 25/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata

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