Nearly 100 world leaders, including President Obama and thousands of people from all walks of life attended a rain soaked and somber memorial service held for Nelson Mandela in Sweto. This remarkable memorial service was a tribute to the great leader and it surely was the best acknowledgement of his long struggle which finally defeated apartheid in South Africa and won freedom and equal rights for the black majority.
Madiba’s release in February 1990 from prison after many decades of confinement and later on becoming President of South African in May 1994 did not mean his job was completed because his struggle for freedom and equality clearly aimed at lifting life standard of poverty stricken South Africa’s black people. That goal needed Mandela to put in place prudent economic policies for South Africa. For this purpose Mandela who initially believed in nationalization of country’s banks, mines and big industries changed his stance and adopted free market policies which he believed would create wealth in the country and would have a ‘trickle down’ effect on  the lower and middle lower classes.  
It is interesting to note that Mandela decided to review his economic doctrine of nationalization after he attended World Economic Forum in January 1992 in Davos, Switzerland and interacted with world leaders regarding economic future of South Africa. A great leader is one who is open for a change and changes himself at the right time.
Mandela realized after Davos meetings in January 1992 that free market policies are in the best interest of South Africa and he was convinced that it is not government’s business to do business. Therefore, he changed his long held economic views about nationalization and followed the idea of free market policies which brought foreign investment worth billions of dollars to South Africa resulting in employment opportunities for people.
Country’s largest steel company and bank was privatized which became efficient and profit making. I am sure, Nelson Mandela’ decision to follow free economic policies was a good decision for the economy of South Africa and its people. Generally we know Nelson Mandela as a beacon of freedom but I think he will be also be remembered in history for changing his long held economic views of nationalizing country’s resources as soon as he realized that free market policies are the best for his country and its people. I think it will be appropriate for political leaders of our country who are opposing proposed privatization of loss making State owned enterprises to study economic legacy of Nelson Mandela and help Pakistan to privatize our loss making State owned enterprise which are causing Rs. 500 billion loss to our country annually.
EJAZ AHMAD MAGOON,
Lahore, December 13.