Since our earlier newsletter, we have received further thoughts on Nelson Mandela’s Economic legacy, so it seemed worthwhile to publish them in a separate newsletter. Here is what some more experts had to say….
Nedbank CEO Mike Brown:
Madiba led South Africa from a closed state back into the democratic world and this allowed our economy to become part of the globalization trends that started in the 1990s.The South African economy of today has been a major beneficiary of our democracy for which we thank the father of our rainbow nation.
Peter Attard Montalto from Nomura (from his daily mailing):
Mr Mandela’s job while he was President was to build a nation, unite its people and secure its foundations. In this he was successful. In matters economic he took a number of key decisions before entering power, such as the rejection of the previous ANC policy (from the Freedom Charter) of nationalisation of industry, and realised the need for a more pragmatic social-democratic, liberal form of economic policy as opposed to the more hardline socialism (or even communism) promoted by many in the ANC. However, while in power much of the key economic policy making was done under the leadership of then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki and, as such, criticisms about the lack of infrastructure investment at the time and other issues should not be placed at Mr Mandela’s door – he was busy building that nation. One of the areas where there is a question mark, however, is around the decision to create a cadre of rich black empowerment businessmen who were not industrialists or really (if we are honest) job creators. The choice here was complex, and based partly on the need to create at least the perceptions of rapid sharing of wealth even if Mr Mandela knew it would be impossible to create true equality more widely. However, loyalty to the party which pushed hard on this issue was also partly to blame. The result is still evident today and is being further compounded by the government, whereas in our view a more widespread form of empowerment through families of workers and local community would probably be more appropriate. Under his term in office, however, inequality did fall and key policy decisions were taken which reduced absolute poverty quite sharply. This legacy, however, is now at risk. Inequality and unemployment have risen since, education standards stagnated after an initial surge, underlying growth has been very weak at only around 3.5% vs its theoretical potential to be 5.5-6.0% under the right policy choices, and this in turn has held back development. More important, however, is that the quality of leadership, and in particular its adherence to and respect for constitutional democracy, has faded to be now well short of Mr Mandela’s legacy. This has been seen most recently in the ugly racial language used by the ANC in the current election campaign – language we believe reflects an ongoing seam of real belief in the ANC of black domination and not simply election stump rhetoric. We should never forget that Mr Mandela fought as much internally against black domination as he did externally against apartheid suppression.
Frans Cronje of the SAIRR:
It was largely Mandela’s influence that saw the ANC abandon the afro-socialism that the party had advocated through the latter years of the apartheid system. In embracing markets and allowing for relatively conservative macro-economic policy Mandela allowed the rebuilding of the South African economy. This is a poorly understood fact but one that in our opinion was more important even that his investments in reconciliation.
Miyelani Mkhabela –Strategist and Analyst – Antswisa Management Group
It is with economic sadness the sudden passing of the First Democratic President of the Republic of South Africa who has throughout dedicated and sacrificed his life for the emancipation our nation and he will be remembered for generations to come. Mandela symbolises good leadership traits that South Africa lacks currently and his vision, values, integrity, character, charisma and selfless principles economically positioned South Africa to be a global player. Mndela played a key role in the economic development of the nation and his term policy Reconstruction and Development programme (RDP) highlighted economic majors that need attention to be addressed in our society. Africa in general benefited from the visionary leader of his calibre and his sense of economic choices. South African economic, fiscal and monetary policies have a positive foundation, and his passing will not affect the economic system of the nation. The current national leadership, former Presidents, ministers and the South African citizens together has a responsibility to assure the international community for the economic and political stability. Economically I have surety that the country’s policies with regard to foreign trade agreements are not going to be affected by his passing and South Africans will continue to unite. Tourism will continue to boom and related industries will benefit as well.