Item 036 - Mandela Message to USA Big Business

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Mandela Message to USA Big Business


  • 1990-06-19 (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 Website

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  • English

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The message we bring to you is a simple one.

It is that we look forward to the time when you will join hands with our people to form a partnership off freedom and prosperity for the peoples of South Africa and the United States of America.

We hope this meeting will begin the process of consultation among ourselves to determine what needs to be done in order to turn that partnership into a reality.

You all know that our life’s work is not yet done.

We have still not attained our objective of transforming SA into a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist country.

Our struggle therefore continues and will continue until freedom dawns.

The kind of freedom we seek is not difficult to define.

Its fundamental principles are not different from those which you hold dear in this country.

We wants to see everybody enjoying the right vote.

The basic human rights of all our citizens have to be protected and guaranteed, to ensure the genuine liberty of every individual.

The law before which all should be equal, should rule supreme.

The racial and ethnic divisions and discriminatory practises that constitute the apartheid system have to be ended completely and without qualification.

We want to see the millions of our people build one SA Nation whose integrity will be secured by the fact of the freedom of all its members to decide their destiny, speak the language of their choice, enjoy their culture and engage in any religious practice according to their conscience.

We cannot say with any precision how soon we will bring this democratic society into being.

What however seems clear is that the road we still have to travel is immeasurably shorter than the path we had to cover to arrive at the point where we are today.

We are certain that the victory of the democratic cause is at hand.

Let me also say that none of us should seek to ignore or underestimate the fact that if today we speak of victory being in sight, as we do, it is because our people have wage a hard and long struggle to the end of the system of apartheid.

The international community has also made an important contribution to this struggle, not least through the imposition of economic and other sanctions.

We believe, and trust that you will agree with us, that since we have not yet achieved the democratic transformation we all desire, the pressure must be maintained, both internally and internationally, to bring about this result.

The processes leading to a just and lasting political settlement has started.

At the meeting we held at the beginning of last month with President De Klerk and his colleagues, it was agreed that the obstacles to negotiations that we had identified would be removed.

We believe that these will indeed be removed.

It will then be possible to take the process further on, to identify the parties to the negotiations and ultimately to draw up a new, democratic constitution and a bill of rights that would be entrenched and justiciable.

We do not, of course, underestimate the difficulties that still lie ahead of us.

We are fully conscious of the fact that our interlocutors, the ruling National Party, have up to now been a party of racism, whose reason for existence was to advance the interests of the Afrikaners specifically and the Whites in general, at the expense of the black majority.

Even now, as it talks of a non-racial democracy, this party has not yet fully abandoned the notion that the SA population should be divided into separate racial and ethnic political compartments.

It is still toying around with the idea of a white veto or a constitutional arrangement which would give the White minority exclusive power over the various elements of social activity.

In addition, there are many among our White compatriots who are opposed to democratic change, either because of outright adherence to raw and unbridled racism or because they fear democratic majority rule.

Some of these are armed.

They are to be found within both the army and the police.

Outside of these state agencies, other Whites are working frantically to liquidate the ANC, its leadership and membership, as well as other persons or formations which these right-wing terrorist group see as threat to the continued existence of the system of White minority domination.

Despite all these negatives and worrying factors, we are still of the view that change will come sooner rather than later.

The overwhelming majority of our people, including the Whites are in favour of change.

The internal and international cost of maintaining the apartheid system has to become too high.

De Klerk and his colleagues in the leadership of the National Party have understood that they must act together with us and all other representatives political forces, to bring about a new reality.

We believe that they hold this view honestly are ready to implement such agreements as may be arrived at democratically.

The political settlement we have been speaking of will not, however, and itself, end the massive poverty to which our people are heir.

I am certain that all of us present here will be familiar with the catastrophe of misery which is the lot of millions of our people.

I do not have to list for you the enormous needs we are faced with in terms of jobs, housing, education nutrition, health care, pensions and social security and so on.

Naturally and correctly, our people expect that the democratic state will take all necessary measures to address these issues as a matter of urgency.

The very fact that these masses will have political power in their hands will increase the pressure on the Government, at all levels. to meet these expectations.

Indeed, because the political and economic haves are White and the political and economic have-nots are black, the very stability of the political settlement depends on rapid and visible progress being made to improve the quality of life of all the people.

The private sector, both domestic and international, will have a vital contribution to make to the economic and social reconstruction of SA after apartheid.

It will be critical that the economy grows rapidly and at rates that supercede population growth.

This cannot happen without large in flows of foreign capital, including US capital.

We will also to ensure that we achieve levels of productively which will enable us to compete on the international markets successfully.

An important requirement to enable us to achieve this, is that we must have access to the management skills, the body of technology and the risk capital which make for the success of your own corporations in both the domestic and international markets.

We are sensitive to the fact that as investors in a post-apartheid SA, you will need to be confident about the security of your investments, an adequate and equitable return on your capital and a general capital climate of peace and stability.

That is why we share the common objectives of the total abolition of the apartheid system and the institution of a genuinely democratic system in an open society.

Further to this, it is also in our interest that all investors, like our own peoples as a whole, should have confidence in the stability of the society we will seek to build.

They should know it is a matter of fact that the investment they make today, whether in the house they build, the child they educate or the savings they put into a bank, is not likely to vanish tomorrow because of some arbitrary Government action or a social upheaval generated by continuing social injustice.

We do not have time to address other questions relating to our broad views about the future SA economy.

We believe that it will be a mixed economy, though we have no blue print as to the make-up of that mix.

The trade unions will have to enjoy the right to collective bargaining and other privileges that are normal in any democratic society.

We are convinced this economy will have to be restructured, so that it is able to serve the material interests of all our people, and not just the White minority.

Ecological issues will also have to be attended to, to ensure against, among other things, the degradation of the soil, as has happened in many parts of the country, and the pollution of the atmosphere around many black urban Townships.

We foresee the SA economy playing an important part in the regeneration and expansion of the economy of Southern Africa as a whole.

We see this regional economy, so well endowed with human and natural resources, as an outstanding growth point in the world economy.

Its good health would help to focus international opinion on the need for the rest of the world to join hands with the African continent as a whole to address the urgent needs facing the millions of people on our continent.

In summary, we count on you to take the decision that you will become part, and an important part, of the future SA economy.

To reiterate what we said at the beginning, we hope this meeting will begin the dialogue among ourselves about the system of co-operation we need to improve the lives of the people of both our countries.

Immediately, we believe that there are some other things that you should and can do.

You should continue to isolate apartheid SA.

You should reflect on what further contribution you can make encourage the peaceful process leading to the transformation of SA into a democratic country.

You should help us with the material resources which will enable us to repatriate and resettle our compatriots whom the apartheid system forced into exile.

You should help us with the resources which will enable us to carry out the educational work among all our people which will encourage and enable them to participate in the process of negotiations.

You should help us to train significant numbers especially of black managers, both in business schools and the work place.

Together we should decide how to continue our dialogue intended to define the content and parameters of our partnership for democracy and prosperity in SA.

We trust that will be kind enough to consider the issues we have raised, at your leisure, bearing in mind that they reflect the views of what is accepted to be one of the principal political forces in our country, without which no solution is possible.

We are very interested to discuss our common future with you, approaching all issues in a spirit of give and take, but bearing in mind that our people, as much as yours, value their freedom and independence.

But of course we also know that freedom and independence can only be exercised, and can only have true meaning, in the context of an interdependent world.



Paragraph beginning: "We hope this meeting will begin the process of consultation among oursleves to determine what needs tom be done in order to turn that partnership around"
Changes made: "tom" changed to "to"

Paragraph beginning: "Let me also say that non of us..."
Changes made: "non" changed to "none"

Paragraph beginning: "Even now, as it talks of a noon -racial democracy..."
Changes made: "noon -racial" changed to "non-racial"

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 6 Nov 2006 by Helen Joannides




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