Address by President Nelson Mandela at the Investec presentation as founding sponsor of the University of the North's Business School

20 January 1994

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mr Kardol.

For many years we have had a vision which would allow for the participation of all South Africa's people in the economic mainstream. It was this vision which gave rise to the "wealth" clause in the Freedom Charter. Notwithstanding various interpretations attached to the clause which reads "the people shall share in the country's wealth", our major concern was then, as now, the exclusion of the majority of South Africans from ownership of the wealth.

In the recent period, it has become clearer that we cannot be satisfied merely with a vision. We have a duty and a responsibility to turn that vision into a reality. We have also come to realise that our country will not attain the status of greatness unless we substantially enlarge our skills base.

The University of North was designed by the apartheid architects in line with what they termed the "Extension of University Education Act", which in reality was a euphemism under which blacks were denied access to sound educational facilities. As a consequence, the range of courses offered is but a fraction of those available at other institutions.

The step taken by Investec in being the founding sponsor of the University's Business School is certainly a significant step. Firstly, it will allow us to broaden the range of courses on offer. Secondly, it is the most positive contribution to the skilling of Black prospective business-persons that any donor could make. In short, it is a solid investment in the future of our country.

Up until now Black business persons have been restricted to the role of taxi owners, shebeeners, tuckshop owners and the like. Notwithstanding, they have performed with remarkable aplomb. We can have the kinds of candidates for senior position in South Africa's financial and industrial world. Now we can begin to talk about empowerment far more convincingly.

With the establishment of this facility, the idea of affirmative action assumes an entirely new dimension.

We are both proud and highly appreciative of this long-term investment by Investec.

Of course we are all aware that Investec was voted the Top Company in 1993 by a large Sunday newspaper.

There exists a close relationship between Investec and our Department of Economic Planning. A relationship which saw a major fund established in the U.S.A. for investment in South Africa. A fund which may yet be the springboard for graduates of this very business school into the financial and industrial world.

Since the election of Investec as the number one company for 1993, we have repeatedly asked, "what makes this company so good"? Whilst the judges evaluated only the performance of this company for its shareholders we have asked a number of other questions related to Investec's perspectives on corporate citizenship. With this generous donation to the University of The North, our questions have been answered.

Here is a company which stands head and shoulders above its peers - not merely because of its phenomenal growth or its sound management of assets, but because it is a trend-setter. We have here a young company which has its staff as shareholders and a bank controlled by its staff.

Once again, you (Investec) have done yourselves and this country proud by selecting the best possible investment at the University. You have chosen well.

In expressing our profound gratitude, Mr Kardol, let me promise that this Institution will do our association with you proud. We will develop the kinds of skills in people who, hopefully, will help your Corporation and the economy expand tremendously.

Your timing could not have been more precise.

Thank you

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation