Mandela key to local businesses in South Africa - report

December 6
8:58 AM 2013

Although the late Nelson Mandela is known for his political successes in South Africa, local businesses see the former president as a champion of the domestic business sector, said an article on MoneyWeb.

The statesman passed away on the evening on Thursday at the ripe old age of 95. Mandela had been suffering from a recurring lung infection at the start of this year and was sent home in September to continue with his treatment after a few months' stay at a hospital.

Centre for Dynamic Markets director Dr Lyal White at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs) said Mandela played a key role to the economy of South Africa. White added that Mandela's popularity had not only put South African on the spotlight, but also had exposed the local economy to potential investors, boosting confidence in the local business sector. Moreover, White said Mandela also influenced local businesses than to invest back to the sector via development.

"And then obviously that was reciprocated when African leaders invited the likes of Lula da Silva, the former president of Brazil, onto the African continent. Ultimately I suppose this all falls under the one umbrella of how he helped liberalize South Africa. The world sees us as a country and an economy that can punch above our weight and it was because of Madiba that we are able to punch above our weight," white said, referring to Mandela's affectionate monicker Madiba, which is his Xhosa clan name.

Motor retail group McCarthy former chief executive officer Brand Pretorius said Mandela's accessibility as a chief of state had helped forged deep relationships between the government and the local business sector at that time, which was instrumental to not only the holding of the first democratic election in the country, but also the unity between entities in the business sector.

"Certainly at the time it was clear that he wanted to engage the business sector as a partner and because of his inclusive attitude he inspired confidence. The business sector therefore willingly played a very constructive role in the run-up to the first democratic election because it was clear that Mr Mandela had the interests of the country at heart, he wasn't just serving narrow political interests," Pretorius said.

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