In his first speech as president, Nelson Mandela spelled out a vision for South Africa free of the racial divisions.]]> |||
Cape Town - In his first speech as president, Nelson Mandela spelled out a vision for South Africa free of the racial divisions that had splintered the nation during 46 years of segregationist rule.
“We shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity, a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world,” he said in his inauguration address on May 10, 1994.
Mandela, 95, died late yesterday with his dream still a work in progress. Schools, universities, and some suburbs are now integrated, discriminatory laws have been scrapped and incidents of racially-motivated violence are the exception.
Yet white South Africans, who account for 8.7 percent of the population of 53 million, on average earn six times more than their black counterparts and still have access to better education, medical care and housing.
Just 8.3 percent of blacks over the age of 20 had some post-secondary education in 2011, compared with 37 percent of whites, according to census data.
Percy Tsotetsi, who was just five years old when apartheid ended, is one of the millions of young black South Africans struggling to make ends meet.
He says poverty and protests that disrupted his schooling robbed him of a decent education and job, forcing him to eke out a living cleaning cars.
“White people’s lives are much better than ours,” Tsotetsi, 24, said as he took a break on a patch of grass where he was washing a Nissan sedan at a makeshift stand in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township, adjacent to the wealthy area of Sandton.
“It will take time for South Africa to cover that gap.”
The disparity in racial income and disparity is eroding the national unity and reconciliation Mandela strived for.
Just 36 percent of 3,446 people surveyed by Johannesburg-based Ipsos between October and December last year thought race relations in South Africa were improving, down from a peak of 60 percent in 2006.
Fifty-four percent of respondents were very or fairly confident of a happy future for all races, down from a high of 86 percent in 2005.
The margin of error is 1.67 percent.
The euphoria that followed Mandela’s election waned as the African National Congress struggled to meet citizens’ expectations while facing the mammoth task of desegregating the economy, extending public services and raising incomes for black South Africans.
“We need to be a bit worried,” Ipsos political analyst Mari Harris said in an interview from Cape Town.
“There is definitely less unity in the country than what there was.”
Race-based discrimination dates back centuries to Dutch and British colonial rule and became enshrined from 1948, when the National Party took power and began implementing its policy of apartheid or separate development.
Residential areas were segregated. Black people were stripped of their land and citizenship and made residents of remote rural regions known as homelands.
Inter-racial relationships were outlawed and schools, hospitals, beaches and the public transport system was racially designated. Whites had by far the superior facilities.
Hendrik Verwoerd, who served as prime minister from 1958 until his assassination in 1966, once described black people as fit only to be “hewers of wood and drawers of water,” drawing on a Biblical passage.
One of the most humiliating of apartheid’s rules was the “dompas,” an identity card that every adult black person was forced to carry, said Johannes Morele, 56, who has sold beer from his home in Alexandra since losing his job as a road- builder.
“What does ‘dom’ mean in Afrikaans? It means stupid,” said Morele, sitting outside his home in the sun.
“So they thought of all black people as stupid human beings.”
Mandela was jailed in 1952 for burning his identity document, and one of the worst atrocities of the apartheid era occurred when police shot and killed 69 unarmed demonstrators opposing the permits on March 21, 1960, in Sharpeville, outside Johannesburg.
While some of the most extreme apartheid laws were scrapped from the late 1980s and 1990s as apartheid drew to a close, there was little meaningful move toward racial integration until after the ANC took power.
As president, Mandela retained the services of the white heads of the police, defense force and central bank and reached out to communities across the racial spectrum to assure them that they had a place in the new South Africa.
The Nobel laureate, who stepped down after a single five-year term in 1999, even went so far as to visit Verwoerd’s widow, Betsie, in Orania, a whites-only settlement in Northern Cape province, in 1995.
“For me, the end of apartheid wasn’t only about freedom and democracy for the majority of South Africans but it was a personal freedom as well,” Annelize van Wyk, who worked for military intelligence services under apartheid and campaigned for the National Party in the 1980s, said in a phone interview.
“If you live with the feeling of things not being right and that some people are being treated less like human beings than others, it puts a personal burden on yourself,” she said. Van Wyk said she was aware apartheid was wrong, yet stayed with the National Party until after the 1994 elections.
She later switched allegiance to the ANC, and now represents the party as a lawmaker in Parliament.
Mandela’s efforts to desegregate the economy were continued by ANC-led governments under his successors Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe and incumbent Jacob Zuma.
Mbeki spearheaded policies to give black South Africans a greater role in the formal economy, pressuring companies to sell stakes to black investors and hire and promote more black staff.
Those programs helped to boost employment and incomes, with the black middle class expanding to 4.2 million today from 1.7 million in 2003, according to a study published by the University of Cape Town’s Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing in May.
Among the criteria the report uses to define the middle class are people earning a monthly income of between 15,000 rand ($1,434) and 50,000 rand and having some form of post-secondary education.
“One of the great tragedies of the apartheid era was that white and black didn’t encounter each other much except in a master-servant relationship,” said Anthea Jeffery, an analyst at the South African Institute for Race Relations and author of “Chasing the Rainbow: South Africa’s Move from Mandela to Zuma,” in a phone interview.
“That’s changed a great deal.”
Unlike Mandela’s measures, Mbeki’s drive to empower blacks, while often dismissing opponents as racists, antagonised whites. His leadership style and questioning of AIDS statistics alienated ANC supporters, including labor unions.
He was ousted as party leader in 2007.
Disenchantment with the ANC-led government has intensified under Zuma. South Africa had a record 173 protests last year over the lack of housing and basic services, according to Johannesburg-based research company Municipal IQ.
Moody’s Investors Service in September downgraded the nation for the first time since the end of apartheid, to Baa1, the third-lowest investment-grade level.
While employment has increased by 3.5 million since 1994, a quarter of the workforce remains jobless, most of them black.
As many as 10 million people lack formal housing and 2.3 million households don’t have proper toilets, while literacy and numeracy rates are among Africa’s lowest, according to government data.
For Tsotetsi, Mandela’s dream of a “rainbow nation” is far from complete, with opportunities for the black majority still limited.
“Some do get the chances, but only for a short time,” he said.
“You’ll find that two minutes you’re working, and then you’re not.” - Bloomberg News]]>
“He recognised that for the poor to prosper, the rich had to feel they had a future in the country.”]]> |||
Cape Town - Nelson Mandela emerged from 27 years in apartheid jails in 1990 pledging to seize South Africa’s mines and banks.
Four years later, his government slashed spending and courted foreign investors, paving the way for the longest period of growth in the country’s history.
The former president and Nobel Laureate, who died yesterday at the age of 95, was instrumental in getting the African National Congress, which led the fight against apartheid and has ruled ever since, to embrace an open economy.
“Only a Mandela could have realigned the ANC’s economic policy from the mindset of the 1950s, with the development state, with socialism, with nationalisation, to the world of the 1990s and beyond,” Robert Schrire, a politics professor at the University of Cape Town, said in an interview.
“He recognised that for the poor to prosper, the rich had to feel they had a future in the country.”
Yet Mandela’s legacy of economic stability is beginning to come under attack as the country fails to slash unemployment and reduce inequality.
The jobless rate remains 24.7 percent, while average earnings for black households are a sixth of their white counterparts.
The ANC’s youth wing last year waged a campaign for the nationalisation of banks and mines, the very policies ditched by Mandela in 1994, and poor communities have staged a series of protests against a lack of housing and basic services.
“We still have racial unemployment, racial poverty and racial inequality,” said Sidumo Dlamini, president of the 2.2- million-member Congress of South African Trade Unions, the country’s largest labor grouping and a member of the ruling alliance.
“Our country is still in white hands.”
Mandela’s embrace of spending rigor and foreign capital allowed the economy to expand for 15 years, until the third quarter of 2008, when the global financial crisis pushed it into recession.
That growth and rising tax receipts enabled the post- apartheid government to extend welfare grants to about 16 million people and give more than 85 percent of households access to electricity, up from 45 percent in 1996.
Instead of nationalising companies, Mandela coaxed foreign investors into the country.
His ideological shift laid the groundwork for Lakshmi Mittal’s LNM Group to buy Africa’s biggest steelmaker in 2004 and London-based Barclays Plc to take control of South Africa’s largest consumer bank in 2005.
In 2011, Fayetteville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. bought a majority stake in the nation’s biggest general-goods wholesaler.
Restoring confidence in South Africa’s economy in 1994 was a significant achievement. Apartheid had turned South Africa into a pariah state, subjected to international sanctions and boycotts.
The economy was haemorrhaging foreign capital, had only enough reserves to cover 10 days of imports and was running a budget deficit of 9.1 percent of gross domestic product.
Mandela asked Chris Liebenberg, who had just retired as chief executive officer of what is now Nedbank Group Ltd., the country’s fourth-largest bank, to become finance minister.
He accepted the job on condition that South Africa would have a market-related economy and exercise fiscal discipline.
“Those were tough times,” Liebenberg said in an interview.
“We were heading for bankruptcy. Mandela was very mindful that the ANC having not been in government would not be as astute in managing the economy as it should be. He came to me because I was a banker with lots of international contacts and experience.”
In his first budget, Liebenberg raised taxes, equalised the tax system for all racial groups and slashed the defense budget.
Those measures helped the government to raise $750 million in 1994 in its first post-apartheid international bond sale, 50 percent more than originally planned.
By 1999, the Finance Ministry had reduced the budget deficit to 2.3 percent of GDP.
Mandela also persuaded Chris Stals, the central bank governor, to postpone his retirement by five years to help manage the country’s transition.
“We made steady progress from day one on for those first five years,” Stals said in an interview.
“Our main task was to bring us back into the world economy. Mr. Mandela certainly made a major contribution to that. The trust people had in him and his policies certainly enabled us to lay a very good foundation.”
That trust was hard won.
Life in Prison
Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of treason in June 1964, serving much of his sentence on Robben Island near Cape Town.
His economic thinking was framed in terms of the ANC’s 1955 Freedom Charter, which called for the country’s mineral wealth and banks to be transferred to the ownership of the people.
“The question of nationalisation of mines is a fundamental policy of the ANC,” Mandela said shortly after his release.
“I believe the ANC is quite correct in this attitude and we should support it.”
A year later, he assured foreign companies their investments were safe following talks with then-Chinese Premier Li Peng, who told him nationalisation wasn’t viable and that China was considering selling state companies.
“The world had changed while Mandela was in jail,” said Iraj Abedian, an economist who helped craft the Mandela’s administration’s 1996 hallmark economic policy, which won praise from international investors.
“His engagement with the role players in the political, economic and financial world brought that reality home.”
Mandela helped set the broad parameters of economic policy, while leaving formulation and execution to his subordinates, according to Liebenberg, who now helps manage charities established by the former president.
“Until Mandela set his stamp on a policy I think it would not have been possible to drive it through the ANC,” Liebenberg said.
“It certainly would not have been possible to drive it through government.”
Abedian, now chief executive of Pan-African Capital Holdings, a Johannesburg-based advisory service, was struck by the attention to detail that Mandela, a trained lawyer, gave to policy making.
“He would go through every document word by word, line by line,” Abedian said.
“It was a question of understanding the rationale for every step, weighing it up, questioning it in detail, far more than people would believe.”
Stals recounts how after Trevor Manuel was appointed finance minister in 1996 and the rand tumbled 8.8 percent in the space of a month, Mandela would phone him two or three times a day for market updates.
“He showed a great interest in what we did and he was always quite well-informed,” said Stals.
“He liked to discuss the monetary policy issues. He never really interfered, he never really gave instructions.”
Still, the stability that Mandela engineered in those early years after apartheid never made South Africa an economic dynamo. Economic growth has averaged 3.5 percent since 2004, compared with 10.5 percent in China and 7.7 percent in India.
Moreover, the Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, has risen to 0.63 in 2009 from 0.59 in 1993, making South Africa one of the world’s most unequal societies.
Poverty remains most prevalent among black South Africans, who make up 79 percent of the population of 53 million.
Mandela never tackled labor laws that companies say stifle investment, or turned around an education system that has left South Africa with labor shortages for skilled jobs.
A wave of violent labor unrest that swept the country in 2012 has continued this year, with workers in the mining, agriculture and transportation industries going on strike for higher wages.
The unrest peaked on August 16, when police killed 34 protesters at a Lonmin Plc platinum mine.
Labor unions and the South African Communist Party blame the 1996 economic framework, known as Growth, Employment and Redistribution, for entrenching apartheid-era inequity.
The policy, which was spearheaded by Manuel and described by Mandela as “non-negotiable,” sought to trim state borrowing, contain inflation and gradually relax exchange controls.
“Established capital benefited from stabilisation and liberalisation measures,” while the interests of the poor and working class were largely overlooked, said Blade Nzimande, the SACP’s general secretary.
The ANC’s Youth League revived calls for nationalisation, saying drastic steps were needed to distribute the country’s wealth more equitably.
The league has toned down its demands since its leader Julius Malema was expelled from the ANC last year.
Mandela did the best he could for the country under the circumstances, Abedian said.
“Very few people appreciated what unstable macroeconomic conditions apartheid had left behind,” he said.
“In that type of environment what was critical was to have a credible, not necessarily an instant, solution. Mandela realised what steps had to be taken to normalise and stabilise the economy.” - Bloomberg News]]>
Nelson Mandela’s conciliatory attitude was a determining factor for South Africa’s young democracy, said Agri SA.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela's conciliatory attitude was a determining factor for South Africa's young democracy and nation building, Agri SA said on Friday.
“He will be remembered as South Africa's 'Madiba' who fulfilled his task as head of state with vision and compassion,” the farmers' organisation’s president, Johannes Möller, said in a statement.
“His zeal for a free society and equal opportunities for all made him a highly respected leader world-wide.”
Möller said Mandela regularly reminded South Africans that freedom came with responsibilities.
“In his own words: 'After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom, come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended',” Möller said, quoting from Mandela's autobiography Long Walk To Freedom.
Mandela died on Thursday night at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, at the age of 95. - Sapa]]>
Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to the fight for freedom, said Standard Bank chief executives Sim Tshabalala and Ben Kruger.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to fighting for the freedom of his people, Standard Bank said on Friday.
“The world has indeed lost one of the greatest leaders of our time,” chief executives Sim Tshabalala and Ben Kruger said in a statement.
“Tata Madiba chose to sacrifice everything to fight for the freedom of his people. He dedicated himself to the upliftment of South Africans and fought throughout his life against intolerance, racism, injustice, and inequality.”
For his ideals and his commitment, Mandela paid a heavy price.
“Throughout his life he was a pillar of strength and source of inspiration to oppressed people all over the world,” they said.
“All of us admired him for his wisdom, vision, humility, intellect, and his integrity.”
Tshabalala and Kruger sent their condolences to the Mandela family.
“We grieve with you. At the same time, we celebrate the life of this great man who loved this country so much.
“We are saddened, as are millions of people around the country and indeed around the world, by the irreplaceable loss of a great man, a founding father of our great nation, a remarkable statesman and one of the most steadfast and visionary leaders of recent times.”
They said South Africa was grateful for his leadership at the most challenging times in South Africa's history.
“The many thousands of people who had the privilege to meet Tata Madiba over the past 20 years will surely each have their own moment of memory to cherish,” they said.
“We have had the honour of engaging with Tata Madiba on several occasions, dealing with matters both public and private.”
He was a towering presence in any conversation, they said.
“His memory will forever be treasured by the freedom-loving peoples of the world for the life-long dedication he showed to the liberation of the... oppressed.”
President Jacob Zuma announced that Mandela died on Thursday night at his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, at the age of 95. - Sapa]]>
Former president Nelson Mandela's death has left a permanent hole in the hearts of all people, First Rand Limited said.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela's death has left a permanent hole in the hearts of all people, First Rand Limited said on Friday.
“We all mourn the passing of this great yet humble man, who started South Africa on its path to global acceptance and participation and, through his self-sacrifice, showed the world what a resilient and resourceful nation we can be,” the bank's chief executive Sizwe Nxasana said in a statement.
“His passing leaves a permanent hole in the nation's hearts and we must work hard to continue his legacy of fortitude, reconciliation and unity.”
Nxasana said Mandela was a unique person and a role model for every leader in the world.
“I was very fortunate to meet Madiba on a number of occasions and while I am sad he has left us, his great legacy lives on,” he said.
“What is important now is that we celebrate his life and the impact he had on this great nation. We will miss him, but we will always remember him.”
Mandela died at his Houghton home in Johannesburg on Thursday night at the age of 95. - Sapa]]>
The head of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, hails Nelson Mandela as “a man who brought a rainbow of possibilities to a country that was segregated into black and white.”]]> |||
Washington - The head of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, hails Nelson Mandela as “a man who brought a rainbow of possibilities to a country that was segregated into black and white.”
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. On behalf of the World Bank Group staff, I convey my deepest sympathies to Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela's family, and the South African people,” Kim said.
“He taught the world that no matter the sins of the past, no matter the horror of apartheid, the way ahead toward peace was to forgive but not forget, to remember what happened but also to offer a hand in order to start anew. We are humbled by his leadership. We are inspired by his commitment to reconciliation. He showed us that fundamental change is possible and must be pursued when the freedom and well-being of people are at stake.” - Sapa-dpa]]>
Former president Nelson Mandela, who sacrificed his life for South Africa, would be sorely missed, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Former president Nelson Mandela, who sacrificed his life for South Africa, would be sorely missed, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Thursday.
“As we dip our banners and celebrate the life and times of this stalwart, it is time that as South Africans we reflect on the legacy he left behind and the future we have to craft for generations to come,” NUM general secretary Frans Baleni said in a statement.
“As an honorary president of the NUM, he has been an inspiration through and through and has on many occasions motivated mineworkers to take education seriously as he believed that it is through it that their children will head mines.”
Mine, energy, and construction workers sent their condolences to all South Africans and those who cared about Mandela's welfare. - Sapa]]>
MTN president said Tata's selfless efforts represent an enduring challenge for us all.]]> |||
Nelson Mandela showed unrivalled leadership and courage during his term as president of South Africa, MTN Group president and chief executive Sifiso Dabengwa said on Friday, following the death of the former statesman on Thursday night.
“Former president Mandela leaves behind a rich legacy of reconciliation, world peace, and the triumph of the human spirit over all adversity,” Dabengwa said in a statement.
“He never lost his compassion, humility, and common humanity. He's an inspiration to us all. He taught us to love ourselves, to love one another, and to love our country.
“So, as we celebrate his selfless efforts on behalf of human dignity, it also represents an enduring challenge for us all.”
Dabengwa said Mandela would be remembered for his relentless pursuit of freedom and democracy.
“Even after 27 years of prison and hardship, only one thing counted for Madiba, as Mandela was affectionately called by his clan name Ä creating a democratic, prosperous future for all the people of the new South Africa.
“This combination of humanity and unique statesmanship made his true greatness manifest for the entire world.” -Sapa]]>
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange will pause trade for five minutes at 11am on Friday in honour of Nelson Mandela.]]> |||
Johannesburg - The Johannesburg Stock Exchange said it will pause trade for five minutes at 11am (09h00 GMT) on Friday to mark the passing of former president Nelson Mandela.
A sombre South African President Jacob Zuma, announcing that Mandela died at his Johannesburg home on Thursday after a prolonged lung infection, said: “Our people have lost a father.
“Although we knew this day was going to come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity earned him their love,” Zuma added.
Mourners gathered outside Mandela's home and spontaneous tributes sprang up around the world. - Reuters]]>
The credit rating agency Standard & Poor's on Friday downgraded Qantas Airways to junk status.]]> |||
Sydney - Embattled Qantas Airways was relegated to junk status by credit rating agency Standard & Poor's on Friday, a day after the Australian carrier issued a shock loss warning that sent its shares to a 16-month low.
S&P cut its ratings on Qantas by a notch to BB+/B, one rank below investment grade, and placed a negative outlook on the airline that means ratings could be cut again. The agency said a structural shift in the domestic competitive landscape had weakened Qantas' business risk profile.
The downgrade means that Qantas could lose some shareholders whose rules on investment prevent them from retaining stock in companies rated below investment grade. It also means the carrier will have to pay higher rates when it borrows money.
Qantas also faces the prospect of losing a chunk of its $2.8-billion cash balance: the rating downgrade could slow the transfer of revenue from credit card companies for ticket sales because additional processing is now required.
Adding to Qantas's headaches, ratings agency Moody's on Thursday placed its Baa3 rating on the airline, the lowest investment grade, under review for a possible downgrade.
S&P said on Friday the pre-tax first-half loss of between A$250-million ($226-million) and A$300-million expected by the airline in the six months to December 31 had caused the company's financial risk profile to deteriorate.
Highlighting the scale of Qantas's problems, Chief Executive Alan Joyce said on Thursday he placed calls to government ministers seeking urgent action after the loss warning. The airline has long complained that rival Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd's access to foreign funding has created an unfair playing field.
The airline said it would accelerate a cost-cutting programme following a “marked deterioration” in market conditions, axing 1 000 more jobs as it braces for ongoing volatile conditions.
Anticipating the impact of its surprise loss forecast, Qantas had warned on Thursday that a re-rating by the agency was “likely to be materially price-sensitive”. Qantas shares were 2.3 percent lower at A$1.05 at 02h30 GMT, above the 16-month low of A$1.00 they sank to on Thursday.
The Australian flag carrier had been one of a few airlines around the world with an investment grade rating. But it has been under threat since S&P and Moody's downgraded it to just a notch above junk last year.
“Notwithstanding Qantas' strong financial flexibility, we expect the cyclical and structural headwinds facing the airline to persist, which could hinder a timely recovery of its financial risk profile and credit metrics,” S&P said in a statement. - Reuters]]>