Item 1312 - Notes for the Aspen Conference Satellite Interview

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ZA COM MR-S-1312


Notes for the Aspen Conference Satellite Interview


  • 1996-09-21 (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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Aspen Conference Satellite Interview

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  • English

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Talk about the question of freedom for us in the context of threats to freedom around the world. You have with great courage ushered in a transition to a multi-party state in your country. Your experience has probably led you to some observations about freedom and challenges to freedom.

1. When future generations look back on this twentieth century they will celebrate the march of political freedom across the globe. Universal franchise, scarcely more than an ideal at the turn of the century, has become the norm. Empires have been dissolved and colonies become all but a thing of the past. The subordination of one people to another, wherever they may be, has been stripped of all pretensions to legitimacy.

2.The people of South Africa are proud to have participated in this widening of the frontiers of freedom, albeit as latecomers. We rejoice at having benefited from the world's commitment to justice and equal rights. As we build our Rainbow Nation, we aspire to be worthy of the confidence which the world placed in us to realise the noble ideals which define the best in twentieth century humanity.

3. Liberation from oppression has brought the opportunity at last to address the basic and urgent needs of our people. We do so in the knowledge that our democracy will remain an empty shell; that the freedom won with the world's support will remain fragile and under threat if it does not bring better lives for our people, if our children are not freed from poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and homelessness.

4.This is for us the greatest challenge to our freedom - to harness the resources of our nation so that we can address the legacy of apartheid. Those who were privileged under the old order are joining hands with those who have freed themselves from oppression; black and white, rich and poor are working together for a better life. It is no easy task that we have set ourselves, to create a united, peaceful and prosperous society from the ashes of apartheid. But we dare not fail, because
failure would undermine the very freedom which we have won.

5. As in South Africa, so it is for the whole world. This century will also be remembered for the failure of political liberation to be matched by progress towards equity and prosperity for so many millions. Enduring poverty and the conflict it generates, continuing and often deepening inequality within and between nations, including the threatened marginalisation of Africa, confront the world with its greatest challenge to freedom and peace.

Please define your vision for South Africa for the next five years. What are the greatest challenges and what are the obstacles? What do you need from the US, other industrialised countries and business to help you achieve those goals?

1. Halfway through the first term of South Africa's first democratic government, we are making significant inroads in the task of transforming our country.

2. Already the lives of millions of people have changed for the better because we had the opportunity to introduce free health care and nutrition programmes, and to supply water and electricity to those who never had them. We have started with the massive programme to build houses, to provide better education, and so on

3. What has allowed us to make this start is the remarkable unity that South Africans have forged. They have resolutely put behind them the past of conflict, division and inequality. What gives us confidence for the future is the proven capacity of South Africans to find solutions through discussion and negotiation. This has carried us through a testing transition and brought us now to a deeper consensus that democracy should be based on the universal norm of majority rule.

4. We have crossed a threshold in our transition, and now the emphasis shifts to the implementation of policies. South Africa's vision for the next five years is quite simply that of a united nation getting down to work to improve the quality of life of all its people, as part of a region and a continent blessed with peace and building foundations for prosperity.

5. Three immediate challenges stand out, and the nation is ready to meet them.

5.1. In the first two years of democratic government we achieved rates of growth South Africa had not known for decades. But more was needed. in May we announced a Macroeconomic framework for annual growth of 6 per cent by the year 2000, producing 400,000 jobs a year and resources to improve the quality of life, especially of the poorer sections of our society. Disciplined use of public resources; restructuring of state assets and streamlining of the civil service; measures to attract investment into priority sectors, training to enhance productivity, and a lowering of tariffs - all these gear the South African economy for success in the international market-place. Something akin to an industrial revolution is quietly taking hold. As the framework develops in implementation, the broad consensus behind it will continue. to strengthen.

5.2. Emerging from a divided past and burdened by widespread poverty, we had unacceptably high levels of crime. Our National Crime Prevention Strategy is a framework for tackling this problem, based on effective co-ordination within government as well as public co-operation with the police. Political violence has been virtually eliminated in KwaZulu-Natal; and the tide against crime is gathering force. These early successes give cause for confidence that we will succeed in bringing crime under control.

5.3. Our final immediate challenge is to make a living reality of democracy. This turns the partnership between government, communities and the private sector into an effective instrument for improving people's lives. As responsibility for implementation of policies shifts downwards, programmes for municipal infrastructure, housing and provision of services are gathering pace.

6. Reaching these goals depends primarily on our own efforts. But we cannot succeed on our own. Sustained growth and development, peace and security, cannot be achieved in isolation from our neighbours or our continent, or without the rest of the world. Being part of the Southern African Development Community, and participating in Africa's rebirth, is of fundamental importance to us. The industrialised countries and their business communities are partners in reconstruction and development.

7. The far-reaching programmes of reconstruction and development in our country and our region create many opportunities for business. Combined with the stability that democracy has brought and economic policies that encourage growth, this creates an ideal destination for investment, domestic or foreign.

8. What South Africa needs from the United States and other industrialised countries, and from their business communities, is action to seize the opportunities for trade and investment. We needed massive investments in sectors that will create jobs and help improve services. Let us all join hands as we enter the new millennium, as partners for peace and prosperity.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 26/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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