State of the Nation Debate, National Assembly, 27 May 2004
“The challenge we face, as identified by Mr Godsell, is also reflected in outrageous observations made by a US-based company that provides country risk profiles to the global investor community” – Thabo Mbeki
“It is clear that in the end, those who are intent deliberately to propagate falsehoods about our country will be proved wrong and defeated more by what we do than what we say” – Thabo Mbeki
National Assembly, on “Reconciliation and Nation Building”, National Assembly Cape Town, 29 May 1998
In the majority of cases, the call for the transformation of both public and private sector institutions and organisations, in particular to address the issue of racial representativity, has been resisted with great determination.
Indeed, one of the issues of great agitation in our politics is the question of affirmative action.
To ensure that it does not happen, some of what is said is that “black advancement equals a white brian drain” and “black management in the public service equals inefficiency, corruption and a lowering of standards”
National Conference on Racism, Johannesburg, 30 August 2000
Alternatively, it is said that the issue of racism is brought up by unscrupulous politicians, in an effort to mobilise black constituencies to support them. After all, so it is said, we ended apartheid and therefore racism, when we became a non-racial democracy in 1994.
On the other hand, others within our society argue that those who are most vocal in seeking to suppress discussion of this issue are those who benefited from centuries of colonial and apartheid racial domination.
These will go on to say that the privileged do not want this discussion because they want to maintain their privileged positions at all costs.
It is also said that in order to achieve this result, the privileged work hard to convince both themselves as well as the rest of society, that what is being complained of does not, in fact, exist, except for isolated incidents.
This is categorised as the denial mode, in terms of which the dominant instruments of propaganda, which, by definition, are at the disposal of the privileged, are used to obstruct recognition of reality.
Let me address our own situation more directly. Once more, I would hope that we would agree on most, if not all, the observations I will make.
Racism has been a fundamental organising principle in the relations between black and white in our country, ever since Dutch immigrants settled at the Cape of Good Hope.
As the dominant group in our country, the white minority worked to structure all aspects of our national life consistent with the objective that the whites should always remain the dominant group and the black majority, the dominated.
Thabo Mbeki, at the Africa-America Institute Gala: New York, 19 September 2006
In January 1987, the late President of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, addressed a meeting here in New York hosted by the AAI and the Foreign Policy Association. Among other things he said: “In our proposition as to what South Africa should look like, we do address the question of the economy too. And our starting point is what any economy should serve – the people. The economy should be so handled that the wealth is equitably distributed. Under apartheid and under the existing system, there is no (re)distribution of wealth, experts have said. What there is, is abject poverty affecting millions of people in the midst of that wealth. It is a glaring injustice which must be redressed …”
It is precisely to redress this glaring injustice that we have put in place what we have deliberately entitled Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment
THABO MBEKI, AT THE CONFERENCE ON RACISM: SOUTH AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION, GALLAGHER ESTATE, 15 MARCH, 2016
A major component part of the issue of reconciliation and nation building is defined by and derives from the material conditions in our society which have divided our country into two nations, the one black and the other white.
We therefore make bold to say that South Africa is a country of two nations.
One of these nations is white, relatively prosperous, regardless of gender or geographic dispersal. It has ready access to a developed economic, physical, educational, communication and other infrastructure
The second and larger nation of South Africa is black and poor, with the worst affected being women in the rural areas, the black rural population in general and the disabled.
This nation lives under conditions of a grossly underdeveloped economic, physical, educational, communication and other infrastructure.
It has virtually no possibility to exercise what in reality amounts to a theoretical right to equal opportunity, with that right being equal within this black nation only to the extent that it is equally incapable of realisation.
This reality of two nations, underwritten by the perpetuation of the racial, gender and spatial disparities born of a very long period of colonial and apartheid white minority domination, constitutes the material base which reinforces the notion that, indeed, we are not one nation, but two nations.
And neither are we becoming one nation.
ANC Today, Volume 5, No. 6 • 11— 17 February 2005
Speaking at a rally in Cape Town on the day of his release, Nelson Mandela said: “Negotiations on the dismantling of apartheid will have to address the overwhelming demand of our people for a democratic, non-racial and unitary South Africa. There must be an end to white monopoly on political power and a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed and our society thoroughly democratised”
Based on what Nelson Mandela said, some of the questions we will continue to ask as we advance the process of the reconstruction and development of our country are:
have we effected a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed?
has our society become thoroughly democratised?
have we achieved the goal to ensure that all our people live together in harmony, enjoying equal opportunities?
Letter to Tony Trahar in 2004 on ANC Today
“Is it(Anglo American) now saying that democratic South Africa presents the business world and our country with higher political risk than did apartheid South Africa?”
“Is this perhaps the reason that South African companies have unusually high cash or liquid reserves, that they think that such is the level of political risk in our country, that they would be very foolish to tie up all their resources in fixed investments in our country? If this is the case, why has business not raised this matter, despite the institutionalised system of regular interaction that exists between government and business?”
Path to Power, Programme of the South African Communist Party as Adopted at the Seventh Congress, 1989 chaired by Thabo Mbeki
“The form of domination developed by the Union of South Africa also perpetuated the racialised economic structures of the pre-Union period. There was a white monopoly of capitalist, means of mining, industrial and agricultural production and of distribution. There was also a virtual white monopoly of skilled and supervisory jobs in the division of labour.”
Perhaps our former president must explain which cartels that a deputy minister in his cabinet was talking about in parliament while he was president. “Rich white cartels are continuing even today to loot our diamonds and take them to London” – Lulu Xingwana, Deputy Minister of Minerals and Energy in 2004