DECLARATION OF THE 49TH NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF
THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
Bloemfontein, December 1994
We, men and women, young and old, black and white, representing all
sectors of our population and the majority of our people, having participated
dynamically in the 49th national conference of the ANC, hereby declare
for our people, country and the world to know:
that we are inspired by the magnificent victory of democracy over apartheid
oppression and racism; proud that we have redeemed the 1912 pledge of our
political forebears to free our country from colonialism. At last our nation
can be assured of equality and human dignity.
This the 49th National Conference is the first in a free and democratic
South Africa. We are acutely aware that overwhelming victory is only the
beginning of the process of transforming our country. We are conscious
of our responsibility to lead the country to reconstruction, reconciliation
In this regard we recognise the sterling role played by ordinary men
and women in the battle against apartheid tyranny and applaud the role
that the masses of our people have played in ensuring their own liberation.
Today we can unreservedly proclaim that the ANC is the only true guardian
of democracy, freedom and equality in our country. In addition the ANC
and its leadership, in particular President Nelson Mandela, have established
for all to see that we care for our country and all its people. The President,
the Government of National Unity and Provincial Governments in which the
ANC enjoys a majority and in the two provinces where we are in the minority,
are acknowledged as the political standard-bearers of our new democracy.
Ours has been the responsibility to ensure maximum national consensus,
stability and peace. Ours has been the task to reassure all sections of
our country that they have a common and prosperous destiny to share in
the land of their birth.
As we look back on the past three years, we echo President Mandela`s
"There can be no gainsaying that the approach to use the negotiations
process to capture beach-heads within the power equation; and then proceed
to strengthen our forces from a new vantage point, helped speed up the
process to the great achievements we celebrate today. The challenge we
face ... is whether we are utilising the new positions we occupy effectively
to bring about fundamental transformation."
We are aware that new responsibilities and challenges face us.
It is from a new vantage point that we enthusiastically and in unity
meet the challenge of fundamental transformation in South Africa. Conscious
of the fact that the legacy of apartheid permeates every facet of South
African society and that apartheid power was diffused throughout the structures
of society, we commit ourselves to true and full liberation which will
ensure the removal of every vestige of apartheid past.
Our decisive victory in April represented the most fundamental strategic
breakthrough in the history of our struggle for national liberation. The
key objective of the struggle remains the attainment of majority rule and
the building of a united, non- racial and non-sexist society. This must
include the fundamental transformation of all aspects of our society. Accordingly,
we reaffirm the liberation of the black people in general and the Africans
in particular, as the main content of our national democratic revolution.
We are firmly convinced that the total liberation of the black majority,
including the Coloured and the Indian communities, in our land represents
the only viable path towards lasting stability and prosperity. Further,
this is the only way we can secure lasting peace for all our people, including
our white compatriots, who are beginning to experience real freedom and
security under our emerging democracy.
In pursuing the transition to democracy, there still remain two immediate
and critical tasks, namely, the writing and adoption of the new constitution
and the looming local government elections. As the level of government
nearest to the people local government is crucial in transforming and redressing
the historical apartheid imbalances within its area of jurisdiction and
promoting balanced and equitable urban and rural development so as to build
a better life for all. In this regard, we commit ourselves to a transparent
and inclusive process that will guarantee a decisive victory in all local
authorities and strengthen our organisation.
We rededicate ourselves to building national unity and achieving social
justice, peace and prosperity for all. We take this opportunity to once
more declare our unwavering loyalty and dedication to the noble cause our
liberation movement has championed over the decades. We therefore commit
ourselves to working with our people so as to join hands in implementing
the RDP and ending the misery under which the majority live.
The liberation of black people remains incomplete. We therefore reaffirm
the character of the ANC as a broad-based national liberation movement.
This must however take into account the reality that we are in government.
Our role in government should reinforce the ANC`s continuing role as a
broad based movement, capable of organising and mobilising the broad mass
of our people. On the other hand our character as a broad-based movement
should facilitate the implementation of government programmes to transform
We remain one united movement acting together in pursuit of common goals
regardless of where our members are deployed. In this regard we are committed
to the attainment of these central objectives:
- to deepen democracy and establish a culture of human rights
- to achieve the full emancipation of women
- to redirect state resources
- economic growth, job creation and rational utilisation of resources
- concrete and visible programmes in relation to a national health system;
affordable housing; food security; job creation; water supply and sanitation
and education and training.
- to implement agrarian reform and a rural development programme
- to secure democracy through transformation of the state machinery -
particularly the civil service, the army, and the police
- to promote the integrity of South Africa and ensure that in bringing
government closer to the people we do no encourage the balkanisation of
All the above can only be possible if our democracy and the economic
system underpinning it are people-driven and people- centred in an atmosphere
free from violence and criminality. To that end we commit ourselves to
working together with other peace- loving South Africans in order to bring
safety, security and peace to all communities.
To accomplish these tasks we are mindful that we need a strong, vibrant
and democratic ANC. Furthermore we must strengthen the tri-partite alliance
and our relations with the civic movement; and we will nurture the united
front of all those who are committed to the attainment of a democratic,
non-racial, non- sexist and united South Africa.
We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to the people of the Southern
African region, the African continent and the world for the solidarity
they have shown and we are convinced that we can continue to rely on their
support as we build our new democracy. At the same time we pledge solidarity
with peoples still fighting for liberation and hope that they too will
soon join the world