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ANC 48th National Conference

Durban, July 1991

Adopted resolutions on Negotiations


1. Conference reaffirms that the possibility exists of achieving the transfer of power to the people and the creation of a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa by peaceful means.

2. This possibility has come about as a result of the heroic struggles of our people which have included mass action, armed struggle and underground work, supported by anti-apartheid actions of the international community.

3. To achieve the strategic objective of our struggle, it is vital that we continue to combine all formsof struggle, drawing in the widest spectrum of the people.

4. Accordingly, the speedy realisation of a democratic settlement requires that negotiations which constitute an additional terrain of the struggle should be linked to a continuing mass struggle and international pressure. This is because the gains made in the mass struggle will be reflected at the negotiations table. Negotiations do not win our freedom, but represent the recognition of the victories we win on the ground.

5. Conference supports and endorses the strategy for negotiations outlined in the Harare and UN Declarations adopted in 1989. Conference instructs the NEC in consultation with other members of the tripartite alliance to elaborate a comprehensive approach to negotiations.

6. In this context, Conference notes that the Pretoria regime has not yet removed all the obstacles to negotiations identified in these Declarations and has thereby blocked progress towards the creation of a climate conducive to negotiations.

7. Furthermore, the campaign of terror carried out against the people intended to destabilise society, intimidate the people, undermine and weaken the ANC, its allies and the rest of the democratic movement is an obstacle to the objective of creating a climate conducive to negotiations and to free political activity and association.

8. Conference therefore demands that the Pretoria regime acts immediately to unblock the path leading to the creation of the necessary climate by removing the obstacles to negotiations.

9. Conference denounces and condemns the Pretoria regime which, by delaying the process of negotiation, seeks to strengthen itself, weaken the democratic movement and discredit genuine negotiations.

10. Conference directs the NEC in consultation with the RECs and our allies to ensure the implementation of a programme of action to ensure the defeat of this strategy. Such action should aim to draw in the broad democratic movement and the masses of our people and the world anti-apartheid movement.

11. In the light of the fact that for the foreseeable future there will continue to exist counter-revolutionary elements opposed to the democratic transformation of South Africa, and recognising that there is a strategic relationship between the maintenance of peace and the possibility of a negotiated settlement, Conference resolves that the ANC should at all times act decisively to defend the people while it conducts an uninterrupted offensive to defeat the apartheid system.

12. Conference therefore resolves that all necessary measures be taken to mobilise the people of South Africa as a whole to engage in action in defence of peace. Conference further resolves that the ANC should assist all communities to build the capacity to defend themselves against counter-revolutionary violence.

13. MK should maintain its combat readiness and vigilance to enable it to intervene decisively should the anti-democratic forces block the path to a Peaceful settlement.

14. Conference endorses and supports the initiative already taken by church and business organisations to convene a peace conference.

15 Conference further resolves that all necessary measures be taken to activate the international community to join the offensive against counter-revolutionary violence.

16. In keeping with the provisions contained in the Harare and UN Declarations, Conference reaffirms the crucial importance of the following steps, which must be taken consequent to the removal of ALL obstacles:

  1. The convening of the All-Party Congress;
  2. The installation of an Interim Government;
  3. The election of a democratic Constituent Assembly; and
  4. The adoption of a democratic constitution and the election of a parliament representative of all the people of South Africa.

17. Conference further resolves that these objectives should be achieved within a definite time frame, to ensure that the process of negotiations is not drawn out.

18 Conference reaffirms the positions of the ANC that all the people of our country should be involved in the process of negotiating their future. Accordingly, it reiterates our standpoint that negotiations shall not be secret.

19. Conference further directs the NEC to take immediate steps to ensure that a comprehensive and representative team comprising all chief negotiators, working groups and researchers, which shall function under the supervision and direction of the NEC, is established. The NEC shall ensure that in all such organs and structures there is adequate and fair participation of women.

20. Conference directs the NEC as a matter of extreme urgency, to take steps to ensure the creation of appropriate and effective mechanisms for consultation and communication with the membership. To realise this objective the NEC shall ensure that the necessary resources are made available.

21. Furthermore, Conference directs the NEC to take immediate steps to ensure the creation of appropriate and effective mechanisms for the involvement of the allies of the ANC in the process of negotiations.

22. In the mean time, and subject to this resolution, Conference mandates the NEC to continue with the process of talks all-out talks and invests it with discretionary powers, within the policies of the ANC.

23. Conference resolves that everything should be done to build maximum unity among the forces committed to the perspective of a non-racial, non-sexist democracy and to ensure that such forces act in unity throughout the process of negotiations. In this regard it resolves that determined efforts are made to establish a front of patriotic forces as soon as possible. All participants in this Patriotic Front shall retain their organisational independence and sovereignty.