Address by President Nelson Mandela to the 19th Frankel Pollak Investment Conference

20 February 1996

Ladies and gentlemen,

Though Frankel Pollak have organised many investment conferences, this is only the second since South Africa became a democracy.

Much of what were hopes and intentions at the time of last year's conference are steadily becoming reality. The year that has passed has confirmed our government's success in creating a climate friendly to investment and enterprise.

These policies are finding their reward in a positive economic outlook without precedent in this country. It is most welcome and very encouraging that this year's conference has attracted such eminent participants.

The effect of our policies is being most immediately felt in a higher rate of economic growth than anticipated. With the economy buoyed up by a substantial increase in domestic fixed investment and strong capital inflows, the outlook for the coming year is more positive still.

The environment that has made this possible is both economic and political.

Fiscal and financial discipline; measures to open up our previously protected economy; and the setting up of a one-stop investment centre are amongst the main ingredients of the new economic framework. The lifting of exchange control regulations is now only a matter of timing and detail.

Politically, our new democratic institutions have taken firm root and won the respect of all sectors of our society. In every sphere we are benefiting from a powerful new sense of a common national identity. This new patriotism draws strength from the progress we have made in overcoming the enforced divisions of the past.

We celebrate these achievements, but not because we believe we have reached our goals. On the contrary we have far to go. But the progress we have made gives us the confidence to identify frankly and objectively the measures which we must take in order to move beyond our present limits.

In particular, the growth we are enjoying needs to be raised to a still higher level. We must make an impact on unemployment. We must produce the resources to improve the people's quality of life. We need to avoid being constrained by the balance of payments and by skills shortages.

The achievement of these objectives does require new investment. But more than that, these investments should flow in particular directions: into infrastructure; into sectors which earn foreign exchange; and into people, so that the country's productivity can be enhanced.

New foreign investment is critical in introducing new technologies and work practices. It can, through partnerships with those previously excluded from business, help promote the development of small and medium enterprises.

To bring about all this will call for all role-players to move beyond "business as usual". Organised labour, the private sector and government each have their challenge to meet.

For its part government is committed to maintaining those policies which have begun to bring success. It is working with labour and business on the supply-side measures needed to promote competitiveness, job-creation and exports.

The participation in this conference of the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Public Enterprises and the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, as well as their message to you, will leave you in no doubt as to the depth of our government's resolve to meet these challenges.

For those in private sector who are decision-makers in matters of investment, the need is for bold initiatives to seize the opportunities. Together let us march into a period of sustained growth and development.

Ladies and gentlemen;

I am only sorry that I cannot be with you today. I wish you well in your deliberations.

May we long work in partnership!

Issued by: Office of the President

Source: South African Government Information Website