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Nelson Mandela Article 1

Introduction to Issue of Forbes Magazine Devoted to the New South Africa

The start of a long journey
5 January 1995, New York

The inauguration of a democratically-elected government in May 1994 created the necessary conditions for South Africans to address the challenging task of changing our society for the better. This is what we had set ourselves to do during the years of struggle to rid our country of apartheid.

Now South Africans can, under conditions of freedom, work together to make our country the land of our dreams. This means further enhancing the freedoms we now enjoy; improving the security of citizens at home, in the streets and at work; and raising the quality of life of all South Africans.

Reconstruction and development means all these things: to change for the better all aspects of our lives.
Among the urgent tasks the South African government has set itself is to work with all citizens to improve the provision of education, health services, housing, water supply, land, electricity, refuse removal, roads and so on. Everything should be done to create conditions in which the economy can improve and provide more jobs.

Government is firmly committed to macro-economic policies which promote South Africa`s Reconstruction and Development Programme (PDP) as an integrated
  • Government is firmly committed to the gradual reduction in the fiscal deficit, thereby avoiding the debt trap;
  • To this end, government intends to ensure that recurrent government expenditure does not increase in real terms;
  • A further commitment is to reduce government dis-saving over time;
  • Government is committed to changing the ratio of government spending towards increased capital expenditure;
  • Government is committed to financing the RDP primarily through restructuring national, provincial and local government budgets to shift spending, programmes and activities to meet RDP priorities.
  • Government will reorganise and train the civil service to ensure effective and efficient services to all citizens and progressive cost savings.
  • Government will develop our human resources, facilitate labour market reform and establish effective collective bargaining-based rights for all.
To realise all these objectives, South Africans are committed to co-operation and hard work. Immediately after the Government of National Unity was installed, we started the planning required to meet these goals. At the same time we also launched Presidential Lead Projects aimed at improving the lives, especially the poor, women and children. But this was just the beginning.

For, in the end, we should change the allocation of public funds to the new priorities. Government should involve the people more actively at all stages of development. We should operate in an open manner guided by the wisdom of the people themselves. From the project started last year, many of these ideals have started to take shape. But we continue to learn many lessons.

Although the process has started, we realise we cannot meet our full potential without international assistance, investment and expertise. This special edition outlines the concrete steps that have been taken by South Africans thus far, in the long journey towards a better life for all. As this account shows, the task is not an easy one. But, working together in the spirit of Masakhane, South Africans are more than capable of realising the good things that our beautiful country can offer.

Nelson Mandela,
President,
Republic of South Africa

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