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Communiqué from the meeting between the ANC and the Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa

13 November 1986

On the 12th and 13th of November 1986, delegations of the Northern Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa and the African National Congress met in Lusaka, capital of the Republic of Zambia. The delegations were led by the Bishop of the Northern Diocese of ELCSA, SE Serote, and Alfred Nzo, Secretary General of the African National Congress.

The meeting was held at the request of the Northern Diocese of ELCSA, which was in Lusaka at the invitation of the Christian Council of Zambia. The discussions took place against the backdrop of the escalating conflict in South Africa, characterised by massive repression by the government against democratic forces on the one hand, and a determined struggle by the people on the other. The delegations were at one that the central cause of conflict in our country is the system of apartheid, and that its resolution lay in the creation of a united, nonracial and democratic South Africa.

Such a solution cannot be attained through reform, neither can it be realised without the participation of the ANC, which is recognised by the majority of South Africans as their genuine representative.

The ELCSA Northern Diocese outlined its platform and the role it is playing in the endeavour to achieve peace and justice in South Africa. As an institution representing a constituency relegated to destitution and untold suffering, ELCSA participates actively in the process to eradicate these evils.

In this regard, the ANC concurred with the view that the church as a whole has an important role to play in the resolution of the crises afflicting South Africa. The ANC further explained its policies on a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa.

On reviewing current developments within the country, the delegations noted the importance of the efforts to consolidate the unity of all democratic forces, the campaign to end the occupation of townships and villages by government troops and police, the need for a democratic resolution of the education crises, the efforts to secure the unconditional release of all political prisoners and detainees, an end to the detention, abuse and indoctrination of children, and united action for the lifting of the State of Emergency.

The delegations further agreed that South Africa is one and indivisible, and that any attempts to divide the people on ethnic or other grounds would fail inasmuch as they only compound the problems facing the country. The future lies in justice and democracy on the basis of one person, one vote. This will be achieved only at the instance of united action by all forces opposed to the system of apartheid.

Both sides agreed that the meeting constituted a valuable and historic experience.

They agreed to meet again if and when the need arises.