Statement of the National Executive Committee on the occasion of the 77th Anniversary of the ANC
8 January, 1989
brothers and sisters,
Today, January 8th, we observe the 77th Anniversary of the people`s movement, the
African National Congress. I have the pleasure to extend greetings of the New Year to you
and our friends everywhere. We mark this anniversary at the end of yet another significant
year of struggle. Whatever its capacity for repression and death, the apartheid regime
continued to suffer reverses both within South Africa and in the region .
The Decade of Liberation
Today`s anniversary ushers in the last twelve months of a decade which we, together,
designated as the Decade of Liberation. In assessing the distance we have travelled on the
road to liberation, we need to set ourselves tasks whose accomplishments will bring us
nearer to this cherished goal. This last year of the 1980`s must and shall see us maintain
and quicken the forward movement so that we close the decade poised for victory.
We say this with confidence, having shown in the theatre of struggle that our people
have the capacity and the will to make decisive advances on all fronts. The 1980`s have
seen us muster the most gigantic, organised and active political force for the liberation
of our motherland. The townships and the workplace, the schools and universities, the
churches, mosques and temples, and the villages and farms have become important sites of
struggle for the eradication of racial tyranny. Umkhonto we Sizwe is developing into an
effective army of the people - its combatants. together with the revolutionary masses,
delivering more and more effective blows against the regime. The contingent of world
forces engaged in the anti-apartheid struggle has grown both in number and effectiveness.
Increasingly, the ANC is recognised as the alternative power.
This reflects the depth of the all-embracing crisis afflicting the apartheid ruling
clique. Its ideology. policies and programmes have, one after another. crumbled in the
face of the people`s resolute march. For the racist regime, the 1980`s will go down in
history as a decade of ever-deepening crisis.
Unprecedented Wave of Terror
In an attempt to extricate themselves from this quagmire, the racist rulers have acted
with a desperation that is as vicious as it is characteristic of a regime in its death
throes. The regime`s unprecedented wave of terror has left death, detention, restrictions
and long terms of imprisonment in its wake. This criminal regime has reduced our country
into a huge prison - its administration, courts and regulations tailored to maintain and
intensify white domination by every conceivable means.
The most urgent challenge, at the close of this decade, is to defeat the regime`s
attempts to reverse our gains; for us to build on these gains, and create the conditions
for the birth of a new South Africa - at last unshackled from centuries
of colonial bondage. Our actions during the course of last year showed in no uncertain
terms that we have it within our power to achieve this objective.
We Salute our Martyrs, Heroes and Heroines
At this point, we would like to pay tribute to all those patriots, inside and outside
our country, who have perished or pass ed away during this past year, among them Dulcie
September, Stanza Bopape, Sebolelo Mohajane, Johnny Makatini, Benedict Moshoke, John
Motshabi, Irene Mkwayi, Hector Nkula, Michael Lucas, Sicelo Dhlomo and John Gaetsewe.
These are our heroes and heroines to whom we, as a people, are eternally indebted.
Some, such as Dulcie September, and others, including citizens of the Frontline States,
have perished at the hands of the murder squads of the Pretoria regime, which has remained
true to its nature as a terrorist state, bent on maintaining itself in power at all costs.
Others, among` them Albie Sachs, are maimed for life, victims of the same campaign of
We pay special tribute to those gallant combatants of Umkhonto we Sizwe, who fell in
the course of action: among others, Attwell `Mpilo` Maqhekeza, Xolile `Valdez` Sam,
Patrick `Naledi` Mvundla, Butiki `Bizzah` Mosimane. They and other brilliant commanders of
the people`s army, such as Lungisa `Don` Qokweni, Vuyisile Sefako and Odirile `Mainstay`
Maponya, have blazed an heroic path to ultimate victory, and their sacrifice will be
We also lower our banners in memory to our people mow ed down in the streets of
Pretoria and elsewhere by the AWB psychopaths, who are inspired by the doctrines which
have underpinned white minority rule.
Yet others of our people have, in their thousands, suffered under the State of
Emergency with its detentions, brutal torture and countless assassinations. Trials on
trumped-up charges have led to convictions and execution of scores, with many more
awaiting their turn on the gallows. Among those convicted recently are such tried and
tested leaders as Popo Molefe, Patrick Lekota, Moss Chikane and Tom Manthata.
They now join in the apartheid prisons such outstanding leaders of our people as Nelson
Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi,
Wilton Mkwayi, Oscar Mpetha and others.
Pretoria`s Rule by Force
These detentions, assassinations, executions and acts of ag- gression should alert us
to one of the central features of our situation - that the Pretoria regime is as
determined as ever to use maximum force, not only within our country but also in other
parts of our region to protect and defend the system of apartheid. None should therefore
entertain any illusion that the regime is softening in any way.
We also live with the reality that many townships continue to be occupied by the
soldiers and the police. The enemy is attempting to control these areas through the Joint
Management Centres, which are instruments of repression established to implement a
thorough-going counter-insurgency strategy. The centrepiece is, once more, the use of
force against the democratic movement and the people as a whole.
Judges and the Courts: Accomplices in Murder
Recent developments have clearly demonstrated the role of the apartheid courts as an
integral part of the machinery of repression. In essence, the Delmas judgment means that
it is a crime punishable by death to engage in a mass, non violent struggle for the
democratic transformation of our country. The judges, magistrates and prosecutors employed
to administer the injustice of apartheid have stood out clearly as accomplices of murder,
abduction and torture. People who, by any civilised standard should never have been
charged - like the Sharpeville Six and others--were sentenced to death by invoking the
doctrine of `common purpose` and stretching it so as to quench the judicial thirst for the
blood of the blacks.
The use of the courts in an attempt to suppress the democratic struggle is in keeping
with the plan of action implemented by the Pretoria regime last year, when it virtually
banned the UDF, some of its affiliates and other organisations and imposed severe
restrictions on Cosatu. Many of the State of Emergency and other detainees who have been
released have also been placed under very restrictive banning orders. The newspapers, New
Nation, South and the Weekly Mail, have been banned for varying periods.
Programme of Crisis Management
Clearly, the oppressors seek to immobilise the people, paralyse their organisations,
silence our leaders and thus leave the political stage clear for their futile attempts to
prop up the doomed system of apartheid.
The regime has been forced to embark on a programme of crisis management, which
includes the State of Emergency and the National Security Management System as a whole,
precisely because it has no way out. And yet the more the racists try to control and
manage this crisis, the worse it gets. To respond to this situation the regime will, of
course, resort to an even more brutal campaign of repression than we have so far
At the core and in the leadership of the regime is a clique of bitter-enders who have
the instruments of state power in their hands. These are prepared to murder and maim, to
destroy and turn our country into a wasteland, solely to protect their illegitimate rule.
Pretoria`s Crushing Election Defeat
Compatriots, In an effort to strengthen its unjust rule, last October the Botha regime
sought an election show-piece for its racially compartmentalised local government system.
The racist ruling clique did all in its power to make these elections a success, in order
to regain control. It hoped to get some blacks to parade as credible representatives of
the oppressed. Using these stooges, it planned to reconstitute local government structures
which would serve as one of the components of its constitutional schemes and hide the
reality of army and police control of our townships and the country as a whole.
In the name of so-called democracy, the genuine democratic forces were subjected to the
jackboot; millions of rands were lavishly spent to buy collaborators and lure the people
to the voting booths. The aged and the infirm, in particular, were intimidated and coerced
In the event, the regime suffered a crushing defeat: only a few notorious puppets
availed themselves; and the turnout was as miserable as the stooge candidates the regime
could find. Our people`s victory, a product of the joint efforts of all the democratic and
anti-apartheid forces, is of strategic importance.
We salute leaders and activists of the mass democratic movement who braved all odds to
spread the boycott message far and wide. Also at the forefront of this campaign were
religious leaders who defied the enemy`s restrictions, risk ed arrest and prosecution as
well as other possible acts of terror, to mobilise our people not to take part. They acted
despite the cowardly bombing by the regime`s agents of the Head Offices of the South
African Council of Churches and the Southern African Catholic Bishops` Conference and
other acts against the rest of the religious community. By their brave actions, they
advanced the cause of justice and peace in our country. They also laid the basis for
decisive actions in the months to come.
Indeed, the restrictions imposed on mass democratic organisations have brought out into
even bolder relief the central role of the underground vanguard and the armed struggle. We
salute cadres in the underground, including combatants of the people`s army, whose
tireless efforts helped to crush the regime`s attempts to shore up apartheid.
Where do we go from here?
Yet the fundamental question is, where do we go from here? Despite the massive boycott,
the Pretoria regime will certainly proceed with its plans to reconstitute the system of
local government in the black areas, which we swept away in the struggle. It will also aim
to establish its regional service councils, its provincial executive committees and its
so-called national council.
All these structures are of central and decisive importance to the regime because they
represent the heart of its political programme. They are an attempt to dress up apartheid
in the hope of keeping it in place. The regime sees its constitutional project,
represented by these councils and committees as fundamental to its very survival. We must
therefore expect that the racist regime will fight with everything it can lay its hands on
to ensure the success of its constitutional schemes .
All constitutions address the question of political power. The constitutional
manoeuvres of the regime are its assertion that power shall continue to be in the hands of
the white minority; that this minority is happy to attach powerless subordinates to itself
and that the whole apartheid pyramid will be presided over by a ruthless clique who call
themselves a State Security Council.
Whatever new words the Pretoria regime might seek to invent to describe its aims, it
will not succeed in camouflaging the reality of continued white minority rule. Notions
such as power-sharing without domination, group rights, minority rights,
self-determination for the various groups, a nation of minorities, the extension of
democracy and so on all mean one thing and one thing only - apartheid by another name.
To all this, the overwhelming majority of the people of South Africa have their
response. It is that the people shall govern! It is that a system of one-person, one-vote
in a united, democratic and non-racial South Africa is the only one that can bring about
justice and peace to all our people and to the region.
The boycott of the October elections was a decisive affirmation of the illegitimacy of
the apartheid regime and all its structures. Therefore, we have an obligation to ensure
that these structures are not imposed on us. United around the day-to-day issues that
confront us - such as high rent and service charges, housing, taxation, high transport
fares and lack of basic facilities - and indeed on the basis of our perspective of
people`s power, we must act to destroy these structures. We must launch the biggest
offensive at all levels to smash the local authorities, regional service councils and the
so-called national council.
The successful accomplishment of this task is of vital importance for our future. Its
fulfilment will compel the Pretoria regime to seek genuine and lasting political solutions
in keeping with the perspective of a non-racial democracy.
The Botha regime is actively considering calling elections this year to renew the
apartheid tri-cameral parliament. Almost five years after its establishment, this
institution has, as we predicted from the start, proved to be nothing more than yet
another structure for the perpetuation of apartheid.
The very existence of a separate white parliament has always been a deep insult to the
dignity of the black people. Those of our white compatriots who count themselves as part
of the anti-apartheid forces and participate in this racist parliament, which has no
mandate from the majority of the people, must address, together with the mass democratic
movement, the question of the most effective means of replacing this institution with a
Act Against the Common Enemy
The unprecedented events in the Bophuthatswana and Venda bantustans last year have once
more demonstrated the utter bankruptcy of Pretoria`s bantustan scheme. Yet these
uprisings, involving soldiers and the rural masses, have also brought to the fore our
organisational weaknesses in the countryside. The lessons deriving from these events
should be put to good use as we intensify the struggle for people`s power in all parts of
our country. It is crucial that we raise these struggles to higher levels and continue to
put before the rural masses the perspective of the seizure of the land.
Once again, to those from among the oppressed who still choose to serve the enemy, we
say: you cannot hope to be accepted by the people. If you have so much as a shred of
conscience left, act together with the people now against the common enemy to bring about
the collapse of such institutions as the local government structures, the bantustans and
the tri-cameral sham.
ANC`s Constitutional Guidelines
In keeping with the intensified efforts to address the question of power, the ANC has
tabled for consideration by all the people of our country a set of Constitutional
Guidelines. We urge everybody to discuss these and make proposals so that finally a
position emerges which reflects the broadest national consensus. In building that
consensus, the possibility will be created for all of us to advance more purposefully
together for the birth of the new South Africa which we, together, will have helped to
Step up the Campaign for the Unconditional Release of all Political Prisoners
Compatriots, We have to make our advance towards this goal side by side with the rest
of the leaders of our people who, to this day, remain prisoners of the apartheid regime.
Whatever the change in the location of his imprisonment and the conditions of his
incarceration, Nelson Mandela remains a prisoner. So do most of the leaders with whom he
We salute all the anti-apartheid forces for their decisive action on this issue and, in
particular, for the history-making observance last year of Nelson Mandela`s 70th birthday.
Now is the time to escalate the campaign for the immediate and unconditional release of
Nelson Mandela and all other political prisoners. Their release will not come about as a
result of any change of heart on the part of their jailers; it will take place because the
pressure exerted both within South Africa and abroad will be such that the racist regime
has no choice.
As our leaders emerge from the prison cells, it will be necessary that we welcome them
back with all the honour and accolade due to them. They are among the titans of our
struggle who, as leaders of all our people, should be sharing the task imposed on us by
the continued existence of the apartheid system; statesmen who should never have been in
prison, but who should have been free to participate in governing our country and helping
to build it into a land of freedom.
The campaign for the release of political prisoners and detainees should also address
the issue of our compatriots il legally sentenced to death. Let the demand to save their
lives resound everywhere, especially on this, the tenth anniversary of the judicial murder
of that outstanding hero of our struggle, Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu. Many other patriots
have been illegally executed, and many more are on Death Row, awaiting execution by
We are very pleased to welcome to our midst that great stalwart of our revolution,
Harry Gwala, who has just emerged from a second term in Pretoria`s jails, and whose
contribution to our cause has been of great significance. It is a great pleasure for me to
announce the decision of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress
to invest Harry Gwala with the highest award of the struggling people of our country,
We welcome him into the ranks of that honoured group of men and women who carry this
high title, fully confident that he will continue along the path of struggle to which he
has dedicated his life. We also welcome that other stalwart, Zephania Mothopeng, President
of the PAC, who has suffered at the hands of the regime in the service of the people. We
wish both Harry and Zeph good health and strength to see freedom day dawn as it surely
Victory in Angola and Namibia
Compatriots, As the past year drew to its close, agreements of historic importance were
arrived at concerning the security of the People`s Republic of Angola and the independence
of Namibia. These agreements represent a most decisive advance in the struggle for the
total liberation of our continent and the establishment of peace in the region. We welcome
them and look forward to their implementation without any delay .
These developments are a direct result, in particular, of the crushing defeat suffered
by the apartheid war machine at Cuito Cuanavale in southern Angola. Humiliated, and its
military doctrine and strategies in a shambles, the racist army was forced to retreat from
Angola in shame. The African National Congress pays tribute to the valour and fighting
skills of the armed forces of the People`s Republic of Angola. the Cuban internationalist
forces and the fighters of SWAPO. who have, in combat, buried racist Pretoria`s aggressive
dreams of conquering Angola.
What has been achieved is also a direct consequence of the struggles waged within South
Africa and Namibia. These struggles, including the growing resistance to service in the
racist army by many young South Africans and Namibians, contributed to the weakening of
Pretoria`s war machine. So did the international campaign to isolate apartheid South
Africa in the economic, military and other fields.
This is a vital lesson which we, who are still engaged in struggle for our
emancipation, understand in its full meaning: the apartheid regime has not suddenly become
part of the liberation and peace forces of our region and continent. Peace and
independence in this part of our continent will come about as a result of the struggles
and sacrifices made by the masses of the people. In the same vein, we should maintain
maximum vigilance to ensure that the Pretoria regime does not default on the agreements,
as it has so often done in the past.
We take this opportunity to reiterate our fraternal greetings to our brothers and
sisters, our comrades-in-arms in Namibia who, after so many years of arduous struggle and
sacrifice under the leadership of SWAPO, have brought their country on to the threshold of
freedom and independence. On our part, we pledge to do everything in our power to
facilitate this process, recognising the fact that the agreements signed in New York on 22
December, 1988, constitute an advance of great strategic significance for our region and
for our own struggle .
It is against this background that the African National Congress, in consultation with
the fraternal Government of the People`s Republic of Angola and other friendly African
countries, has readily agreed to move our military personnel from Angola, so as not to
allow the racists and their allies to use the presence of ANC military facilities in
Angola as an excuse for blocking or otherwise delaying the process now in motion. The
armed struggle, however, will continue and will be intensified.
In the months ahead especially, SWAPO will need the sup port and assistance of all its
friends, and we call on the international community to provide this assistance on a scale
commensurate with the critical stage the Namibian struggle has reached.
United Action in Militant Mass Defiance
Compatriots, 1989 is also the Anniversary of that outstanding document of our struggle
for liberation, the Programme of Action. Its adoption and implementation, which
effectively commenced with the trail-blazing Defiance Campaign of the early 1950`s, opened
the way for the mass political offensive which, together with other forms of struggle, has
today led us to the situation where we can confidently say that victory is in sight.
Drawing on and continuing that experience, and developing on the heroic actions of
church leaders and other patriots last year, our approach must be one of militant mass
defiance. We must ourselves decide what needs to be done and do it. The actions of
defiance we embark upon should be targeted against the many restrictions of the State of
Emergency; the attempts to intensify racial segregation, group areas, anti squatting
measures and forced removals; rent, service charge collection and taxation. The spirit of
defiance should permeate all the other campaigns we undertake.
An important element in the actions of defiance is the bold stand taken by growing
numbers of white youths who-- despite the banning of the End Conscription Campaign-- have
come to realise that they have no business fighting in defence of apartheid. It is of the
greatest importance that more young whites should adopt the positions of the courageous
143 conscripts, and others before them, and defy the order of the regime to enlist them
into the apartheid murder squads. We hail all these young white patriots, among them
Charles Bester, David Bruce and Ivan Toms, and urge them to always stand firm, for the
sake of all our people. Further, we call on all soldiers and police--black and white--to
defy the orders of their superiors to kill, maim and torture innocent people--men, women,
children. Instead, they must turn their weapons against the real enemy of the people, the
What the tradition of defiance and struggle now demands is that we must defend and
consolidate the gains that we have already made, continue to draw the greatest numbers of
our people into action, cement the unity of these masses and tighten the bonds of common
action that unite our struggling organisations. We must draw new forces into the struggle
and work for the greatest possible isolation of, and an intensified offensive against, the
murderous racist regime.
In organisational terms, the actions of the regime against democratic structures and
activists mean that the enemy is forcing more patriots to operate in a clandestine manner.
The experience accumulated should be popularised. At the same time, all possible avenues
of struggle must be explored.
Once more, this situation emphasises the decisive importance of the underground
structures of the ANC. As in previous years. it remains one of our major tasks further to
strengthen the ANC underground and ensure that it plays its role as a people`s movement
charged with the responsibility to head our liberation effort.
The unity of and within all arms of the mass democratic movement has never been of
greater importance than it is today. Nothing should be allowed to stand in the way of this
essential unity. This movement has an historic mission to mobilise our people into action.
To carry out this task, all its components have to be strong and organised, linked to one
another and operating as comrades-in-arms and natural allies. The readiness of the masses
to engage the enemy through militant action was amply demonstrated last year, above all,
during the unprecedented three-day general strike in June and when they boycotted the
apartheid October elections. None can doubt that the fighting spirit of our people is very
Let every community, whether in the towns or the country side, be drawn into struggle
around the day-to-day issues which directly affect the people. These struggles make up a
very important component of our general offensive against the apartheid system.
One of the most important of these issues, which can be taken up at the local level, is
the plight of the millions of our people who live in appalling conditions in shanty towns
in many areas of our country. These millions can and must be organised and mobilised into
struggle around such burning issues as comfortable and affordable housing, proper health.
education and sanitation facilities.
Peace Among the Oppressed
Of importance also is the need to confront the cunning machinations of the JMCs, which
are trying both to buy over sections of our people and to foment conflict among them. As
part of this programme, vigilante death squads have been formed in many townships,
wreaking havoc in the service of the regime. These bands hope to impose themselves on the
people. We call on those men and women, our fellow oppressed and exploited, who have been
drawn into these activities, not to allow themselves to be used by the regime. Whatever
the difficulties, we have to work to ensure that our communities remain united in their
understanding of the nature of the apartheid regime and in their resolve to act together
in unity for the destruction of the apartheid system.
As a matter of urgency, we must leave no stone unturned in our efforts to resolve
conflicts that may erupt among the people. We can and must develop a powerful movement for
Peace among the Oppressed, drawing in as many sectors of the public as possible. Through
this movement and other means, we can create the national climate which would make it
possible to end any conflict among the people, denying the enemy the opportunity to drive
wedges among the oppressed.
In particular, the continuing ugly situation in Natal has to be addressed by all of us
now and not later, and a lasting solution found. We reiterate the position of our movement
that this fratricidal carnage must end. The African National Congress supports all genuine
efforts aimed at resolving this conflict. We call on those members of Inkatha who still
form part of the vigilante squads not to play into the hands of the Pretoria regime, the
real enemy of our people. They must refuse to do the bidding of the warlords and their
masters, and do everything possible to unite with their brothers and sisters. Peace among
the oppressed in Natal must be restored and all enemy attempts to provoke conflict must be
rebuffed so that our people can concentrate on the struggle to defeat apartheid.
Build a Broad Front
During this past year, the forces genuinely opposed to the apartheid system made
important advances with regard to the building of the broadest possible coalition for a
democratic and non-racial South Africa. Despite the banning of the conference that was
scheduled to meet in Cape Town last September, it is important that we continue to work on
the issue of building this front, for the specific purpose of achieving the greatest
possible cohesion among all who are opposed to repression and are committed to struggle
for justice and peace.
The crisis of the apartheid system also results in more sections of the white community
looking for a way out of this crisis by entering the struggle in various ways. We have a
responsibility to reach out to these new forces of struggle, to encourage and support them
and help to activise them to confront the Pretoria regime in unity with all other anti
Such events inside South Africa as the efforts within the South African Rugby Board to
work for non-racial sport, the involvement of prominent establishment Afrikaners in the
campaign for the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, and the meeting
between representatives of the democratic movement and the white business community, all
point to the significance of the move among many sections of our people to break with the
apartheid regime. As the crisis of the apartheid system deepens, so will this process
The response of the regime to the worsening economy and the general situation has been,
among other things, a wage and salary freeze, deregulation, and various schemes for
privatisation. These measures are beginning to erode the sheltered employment previously
enjoyed by white workers. It is becoming clearer to sections of white workers, faced with
growing impoverishment, that they have to stand up in the face of economic policies aimed
at appeasing big business and strengthening the apartheid regime.
This has opened up some possibilities for these workers to be drawn into struggle, and
in action, to realise more clearly that their true interests lie with their fellow black
workers and the democratic trade union movement. This will necessarily require careful and
Working Class and Trade Union Movement Under Attack
One of the greatest challenges facing us in this period is the threat facing the
working class in general and the trade union movement in particular. Having put Cosatu
under severe restrictions, bombed its offices and detained and charged many trade
unionists, the regime has enacted the Labour Relations Amendment Act, despite popular
Acting in collusion with the white employers, the ruling clique is bent on destroying
the democratic trade union movement and denying the workers all possibilities to act in
defence of their interests.
It is imperative that the combined strength of workers is deployed to defeat this vile
scheme. As in the past, let us ourselves create the conditions which will force the regime
and the employers to recognise our right to organise and to act in defence of our
Of fundamental importance in this regard is the need for trade union unity, and
organisation of the unemployed. Yet it is clear that the danger posed by the new law is
one that faces all the oppressed and democratic forces. The entire democratic movement and
all other anti-apartheid forces--within South Africa and internationally--should rally to
the call to unite and act to defeat this reprehensible law. The employers themselves
should know that whatever they might think today, this Act will rebound against them as
the battle intensifies within both the workplace and the community at large.
Defeat Enemy Manoeuvres
In struggle, students in the schools and universities have secured some gains in the
form of the partial removal of army and police units from such institutions as the
University of the North and the release of some student leaders and activists. The
perspective the democratic movement advanced a few years ago, to turn the institutions of
learning into battle trenches for people`s education, still stands. In consultation and
joint action with the rest of the community, it is important to defeat the enemy`s
attempts to immobilise student structures through bannings and detentions. The effort to
advance on the course we have set ourselves will be greatly strengthened by the process
under way to unite teachers` organisations into a single non-racial body.
The objective of anti-apartheid united action faces all sec tors of our people. In
particular, democratic and anti apartheid women`s organisations have for some time now
striven to set up a single national body. The urgency of this task--at both national and
regional levels - cannot be overemphasised, on this the 35th anniversary year of the
founding of the Federation of South African Women.
During 1988, democratic structures of the youth suffered a serious setback with the
detention of a good part of their national leadership. It is a tribute to their tenacity
as Young Lions of our revolution, that the youth have continued to organise and mobilise
despite the regime`s vicious campaign to efface SAYCO from the political arena. While
intensifying organisation and mobilisation, the youth and other sec tors of the population
should make it one of their primary tasks to fight for the release of the leadership and
activists of SAYCO.
Intensify Armed Struggle
Compatriots: The armed struggle is more vital than ever before; and everything the
regime has done this past year emphasises this. It is only the use of force which enables
the regime to re main in power. In pursuit of this same goal, it has banned virtually all
non-violent mass political activity for democratic change. All this emphasises the need
for us, while defiantly continuing with the mass political struggle, to participate in and
intensify the armed struggle as well. The mere need to defend the people from armed
repression imposes an obligation on us to fight on, arms in hand.
We take this opportunity to salute the commanders and cadres of the people`s army,
Umkhonto we Sizwe, who have, during this pas. year. raised our armed offensive to higher
levels of intensity. We call on the whole of our army further to step up its activities.
directing its fire against the enemy which our movement has clearly defined.
We extend our greetings to all our combatants and other cadres who have been captured
by the enemy, some of whom are awaiting trial, while others, like the great MK commander
Ashley Forbes, have been sentenced to imprisonment. Once more, we reiterate our demand
that our armed cadres must be treated as prisoners of war.
No Middle Ground
Compatriots: Every day our country gets more and more polarised into two camps. On one
side are the forces that struggle for freedom and democracy in a non-racial South Africa.
On the other are those that fight to maintain apartheid and racial domination. The former
continues to grow in size and strength, and has established itself as the alternative
power in our country. The latter continues to shrink and weaken, despite its access to
enormous resources of all kinds. The process to expand and strengthen our forces while
reducing and weakening those of the enemy must be encouraged. There is no middle ground
between these two South Africas. All have to choose sides. On the side of our democratic
future are the millions of workers and rural people, the women and the youth, the
intellectuals and the students, (patriotic) traditional chiefs and business-people, the
religious community, cultural workers, sports-people, professionals and politicians -
black and white. These, together, constitute the tidal wave that will surely sweep away
the apartheid system and take their rightful place as the democratic power in our country.
Democratic Culture of Liberation
In this regard, the overwhelming majority of our cultural workers have increasingly
begun to play a more active role in the struggle for freedom. In the process of this
struggle, our people have evolved a democratic culture of liberation, a distinctly South
African culture, which expresses our deepest aspirations and hopes. The current efforts to
create broad non-racial governing bodies in every major sports discipline has become an
important new arena of struggle.
We must strengthen and develop these democratic trends in all fields of activity as
part of the general struggle to eradicate apartheid. On the other hand, we must
consistently and continuously strengthen the cultural, sports and academic boycott of
apartheid South Africa. The ANC urges the mass democratic movement and all other
anti-apartheid forces to create viable structures and co-ordinate efforts across the board
to facilitate this process.
Compatriots: In the past year, great strides were made to strengthen the base for a
heightened international offensive against the apartheid system. Proceeding from this
achievement, and acting together with the world solidarity movement, this year we must
score new successes in the campaign to impose sanctions against racist South Africa.
It is of the greatest importance that the biggest possible campaigns should be launched
in the major western countries to oblige their governments to impose further and more
meaningful economic sanctions, tighten the arms embargo and adopt other measures fc,r the
greater isolation of apartheid South Africa, as well as increase their support for the
democratic forces of our country.
The World Must Act
A more favourable climate has been created by the victories that the progressive
movement has scored with the signing of the agreements concerning Angola and Namibia. The
very contrast between the perspectives contained in these agreements on the one hand and
the worsening situation in South Africa and the continuing aggression against the in
dependent states of our region on the other, illustrates the urgent need tor the world
community to act to end the apartheid system now.
The plan for the independence of Namibia contains no pro visions for the continued
definition of its people according to racial and ethnic categories. Apartheid structures
such as the bantustans have no place in the perspective that the people of Namibia have
fought for, under the leadership of SWAPO. What will emerge at the end of the day is a
united, democratic and non-racial country.
These developments pose a great challenge both to our selves and the international
community to achieve precisely the same result within South Africa itself, where the
Pretoria regime pursues a policy that is a direct opposite to what it has agreed with
regard to Namibia. The OAU, the Non Aligned Movement and the United Nations, as true
representatives of the peoples of the world, have a continuing responsibility to act
together with us to keep up the momentum of the struggle tor the final liquidation of
white minority rule on our continent.
In this regard we wish to reiterate our call to Africa and the rest of the world not to
allow the criminal apartheid regime to break out of its isolation. The fact of the treaty
concerning Namibia and Angola does not change the reality that a crime against humanity
continues to be perpetrated within the borders of our country and in the countries of our
We Salute Your Sacrifices
The Frontline States of Southern Africa have, at a very high cost, heroically resisted
the wanton acts of aggression and destabilisation perpetrated by the apartheid regime. On
behalf of our people, we salute them for their invaluable support. Angola, Mozambique,
Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, together with the rest of the states of southern Africa, re
quire the support of the international community, for the war will not be won and peace in
our region will not reign until South Africa is transformed into a democratic country.
The African National Congress takes this opportunity to salute the people of Palestine
under the leadership of the PLO, whose struggles and enormous sacrifices have open ed up
vast opportunities for the victory of their cause. The decision of the Palestinian
National Council to proclaim the independent state of Palestine constitutes an important
contribution to the establishment of a just and durable peace in the Middle East. On
behalf of the struggling masses of our country, the ANC hereby reaffirms its recognition
of the in dependent state of Palestine. We express our full support for the initiative to
convene an international conference, with the full participation of the PLO, to find a
just solution to the conflict in that region.
On the very first day of this year the people of Cuba celebrated the 30th anniversary
of their revolution--one of the most decisive events of this century. The ANC once more
warmly congratulates the Communist Party, the government and the people of Cuba on this
historic occasion. The bonds of solidarity and friendship between the peoples of this
great internationalist island and our region are cemented in blood, and no force on earth
can reverse this reality. We hail the Cuban people and wish them ever greater victories in
their efforts to strengthen and advance their socialist society.
We also express our solidarity with the peoples of the Saharaoui Arab Democratic
Republic, under the leadership of the Polisario Front, and urge the speediest resolution
of the conflict in the area, in accordance with the initiatives of the OAU and the UN. The
struggles for peace and the betterment of life waged elsewhere on our globe are our
struggles and we shall ourselves contribute what we can to en sure happiness and
prosperity for all humanity.
The extraordinary catastrophe that has befallen the Soviet people as a result of the
earthquake in Armenia is a matter that continues to cause great pain to ourselves and all
those throughout the world who value life. We reiterate our condolences to the fraternal
people of the Soviet Union, as well as the families of the deceased and the injured, and
are confident that this great country will soon recover from the ravages brought about by
this enormous calamity.
The Challenges Ahead
Compatriots: The period ahead poses many great challenges to all of us - singly and
collectively - precisely because it contains within it the seeds for major advances. This
issue of a new political order has been placed on the agenda. This reality constitutes a
tribute to the historic struggles we have waged throughout the Decade of Liberation. It
indicates the extent to which we have succeeded in shifting the balance of forces in our
We must take advantage of this situation and intensify our offensive for people`s
power. As we observe the t anniversary of the adoption of the epoch-making 1949 Pro gramme
of Action, let the spirit of defiance characterise our mass actions for the transfer of
power to the people.
Accordingly, the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress declares
1989 the Year of Mass Action for People`s Power. Let this last
year of the decade be marked by unprecedented mass action for an end to the apartheid
system, for the creation of a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa.
Forward to Mass Action for People`s Power!
Victory is Certain!