The Presidential Years

Over and above any impact on the specific situations, each collective intervention in which Mandela was involved contributed, to SADC’s evolution as an institution toward a framework for mutual security with capacity to resolve conflict resolution and keep regional peace within the framework of continental and international security that is the responsibility of the OAU and the United Nations. SADC’s 2001 Treaty placed the Organ on Politics, Security and Defence firmly within SADC’s structures, as Mandela had believed it should be, signaling that collective security and democratic governance were part of the pursuit of socio-economic development.

But if the crises of politics and stability assumed the highest profile in how the region was perceived, and if the advances made were significant but in too many instances short of sustained stability and democracy, the quieter long-term creation of the machinery of integrated development proceeded apace. It was pieced together through sectoral protocols, joint infrastructure projects and collective efforts to attract investment and development aid from outside the region.

Protocols and cooperation agreements were put in place for cooperation in policing to combat cross-border crime; electricity and shared water courses, transport and tourism. Major infrastructure projects were initiated to advance the development of a regional transport network among countries whose principal corridors had led to ports to serve Europe’s hunger for raw materials and commodities.

Working with institutions such as the World Economic Forum, the region engaged with potential investors, laying out policies intended to create a climate for mutually beneficial investment.

But for all the focus on the future and the emphasis on the conducive climate for investment that the region was seeking from western countries in particular, there were moments when Mandela put aside the carefully crafted positions in the face of the sometimes meagre response of potential investors, and by the urgency of rectifying the past.

We need support from the old industrial countries. They owe us that support, not as a question of charity but because we are entitled to it. Our region and many others were subjected to the most brutal form of exploitation in the colonial era.677

Underlining the urgency, on another occasion Mandela stressed the pace and impact of globalization:

These challenges are common to our region and to the continent as a whole. And, although we boast of new favourable conditions for rapid progress in these matters; we are at the cross-roads between success and long-term marginalisation. In this world of countless uncertainties, we can only succeed if we work together.678