Item 1317 - Notes for an address by President Nelson Mandela at a meeting with Business People of KZN

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ZA COM MR-S-1317


Notes for an address by President Nelson Mandela at a meeting with Business People of KZN


  • 1996-11-13 (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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Meeting with Business People of KwaZulu/Natal

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  • English

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1. It is a great pleasure to meet business leaders of KwaZulu/Natal. It provides a welcome opportunity to share ideas on the challenges and enormous possibilities for growth and development of the province.

2. The government and the ANC attach great importance to the role of the business sector in nation-building. Business is a key player in the economy of our country as well as its social and political life.

3. When the people of KwaZulu/Natal voted for local democracy in June this year, they confounded the prophets of doom by the peaceful character of the elections. They also opened a new chapter in the province's development - one of the biggest obstacles to reconstruction and development was the lack of democratic local authorities. The way is now open for all sectors, including business, to work with government to contribute fully to the province's development

Getting down to work to improve the quality of life.

1. When we look back on the first two-and-a-half years of democratic government, two things strike us. We still face enormous challenges in our central goal of improving the quality of life. On the other hand our achievements so far will help us meet these challenges.

2. The establishment of democratic government, from national level to local; and the unity of a nation so recently divided in conflict and ravaged by violence, is something in which every South African can feel great pride.

3. Already we have felt the benefits of peace and stability, combined with disciplined economic policies and far-reaching plans for reconstruction. Economic stagnation has been replaced by a growth rate of 3 per cent and the economy is in a long-term upswing.

4. The progress we have made allows us to set our sights still higher. In order to create more jobs - 400,000 a year by the year 2000 - and produce more resources for the improvement of living conditions - we need to achieve a growth rate of 6 per cent by the end of the century. Our macro-economic framework provides an environment for government, business and labour to work together to achieve these aims.

5. The macroeconomic framework has been given support inside and outside the country. The challenge we face, all of us, is to work together to ensure that it is implemented without prevarication.

6. What is most encouraging is the way in which all sectors of society are mobilising around the framework. This is part of a broader mood which reflects itself in a strengthening of our national unity, whatever the differences in detail.

7. For example, we were seeing a certain negativity and ambivalence about the future of the country in some quarters, including amongst some of your colleagues in this province. There were even some misguided attempts which projected a negative image of our country. This is giving way to a determination to get down to work and seize the opportunities.

8. We think, for example of recent statements by the heads of Anglo-American and Sanlam that we South Africans should stop speaking ill of our own country and work together to promote it and show our real strengths. We think too of the foreign business and government delegations which have come here with some negative perceptions but have left with great optimism after seeing things for themselves.

9. United, and with the right policies, we can tackle the challenges that face us, as a nation and as a province

Challenges of building growth and prosperity

1. Creating growth and prosperity in KwaZulu/Natal requires a partnership of business, government and other sectors.

2. The challenges include inadequate growth rates, high unemployment, and uncompetitiveness in the global economy. The local textile, clothing and motor industries have been particularly hard hit by increased competition.

3. Our cities and towns have to find creative ways of offering opportunities to the majority of their residents who were disadvantaged by apartheid, whilst meeting the pressures of ongoing urbanisation.

4. We have to find ways of enhancing Durban's considerable contribution to our national economy - as an industrial and commercial centre, a tourist destination and the busiest port in Africa - while ensuring the development of the province's rural areas. Richards Bay, Empangeni, Pietermaritzburg also bring many strengths as urban centres.

5. That is why the ANC, which commands a majority in all major urban councils, has pledged to co-operate with rural councils and the provincial government in the interest of all our people, regardless of party affiliation. The building of the nation and our provinces cannot succeed if any section concerns itself only with narrow interests.

Crime and violence

1. One challenge in particular should be stressed on such an occasion as this, and that is bringing levels of crime and violence down still further.

2. Business has made commendable efforts to work with government to create a climate which will attract investment and enhance economic growth in the province. Business support for peace initiatives and its contribution to efforts to combat crime have shown that the private sector is not leaving this task to the politicians alone.

3. Crime is still one of the biggest problems facing Durban, KwaZulu/Natal and in fact the entire country. Through the Police Plan of Action and the National Crime Prevention Strategy the Government is taking the war to the criminals. But success depends on your continuing support.

4. It is crucial that organized business examines practical ways of helping sustain the current peace. Without being prescriptive, there are many ways in which business can individually and collectively contribute to the rebuilding of lives and communities destroyed by violence in this province; and create opportunities which help communities to have a source of livelihood and to regain their self-esteem.

Local Partnership between Government & Business

1. Government at local level needs to think about economic development in terms of seeking partnerships with stakeholders in the private, public and community sectors. Durban Metro's efforts to redefine and focus its activities to support and stimulate economic growth sets a good example.

2. National government is committed to the expansion of the port and the building of a new airport at La Mercy, in such a way that develops the local economy, attracts new investment, and creates opportunities for emerging local business.

3. We are exploring opportunities for development around two corridors in the province. These corridors will improve Durban's link with the rest of KwaZulu/Natal and South Africa; and enhance the partnership between Northern KwaZulu/Natal, Swaziland and Mozambique. They will provide enormous potential for growth and the alleviation of poverty from some of KwaZulu/Natal's poorest areas.

4. Although these corridors are a national initiative, they need the involvement of provincial and local government, as well as the private sector if they are to succeed


1. The era of peace that dawned just before the local government election creates a great deal of hope and optimism for the future of KwaZulu/Natal.

2. There are still many difficult challenges facing both the government and influential leaders within the province. Problems must not be swept under the carpet, but openly laid on the table and discussed in a constructive manner.

3. It is in this spirit that I have come to meet with you today, and in this spirit that I look forward to your contributions, concerns and comments.

4. In doing so let us all work together to bring peace, democracy and a better life to each and every person who lives in KwaZulu/Natal.

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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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