Statement of the National Executive Committee on the occasion of the 78th Anniversary of the ANC
Freedom, Democracy and Peace
1990 The year of people's action for a democratic South Africa
Compatriots and comrades;
Brothers and sisters:
A New Year is upon us. The President of your movement, the ANC, Comrade
Oliver Tambo, is unable to address you today as he has not yet fully recovered
his health. We speak to you today, January 8th, the 78th Anniversary of
the ANC, on his express instructions. We have, in the first instance, the
honour and privilege to extend to you all and to all our friends everywhere,
his New Year greetings as well as those of the rest of the leadership of
our movement and the membership as a whole. Similarly, we greet our revolutionary
allies, the SACP and SACTU.
Our Historic Achievements
We observed 1989 as the Year of Mass Action for People's Power. We are
proud today that we have, as a result of our mass actions, come much closer
than ever before to the goal we set ourselves, that of transforming South
Africa into a united, democratic and non-racial country.
We salute all the patriotic forces of our country for this historic
achievement. Millions joined in action to bring this result about. The
overwhelmingly successful general strikes, the historic campaign of mass
defiance which was characterised by our refusal to submit to repression
and state terrorism, the continuing rent boycotts, the mass rallies and
demonstrations, the boycott of the elections to the Houses of Representatives
and Delegates in the tricameral parliament, all contributed in creating
the mood of expectation that pervades our country today.
So too did the reclaiming by our people in the Bantustans of their South
African citizenship, the hunger strikes carried out by the State of Emergency
detainees, the sterling struggles waged by our white compatriots against
conscription and for a complete rejection of the apartheid system and its
racist tenets, the heroic actions of the people's army Umkhonto we Sizwe,
and the continued offensive of the international community. Of decisive
importance as well has been the implementation of the New York Accords
concerning Angola and Namibia which opened the way for the progress of
the people of Namibia towards independence from apartheid South Africa.
Thanks to the heroic struggles we have waged up to this point, the situation
has arisen whereby there is probably no thinking South African today who
does not expect that change must come to our long-suffering country. Yet,
it is a moment that harbours both the potential for change and the ever
present danger of a terrible bloodbath. What the outcome will be depends
on the balance of forces, the steadfastness of the democratic movement
and the wisdom of all the people of our country.
Apartheid must be Abolished
What we must make very clear is that the overwhelming majority of our
people will not rest until the apartheid system is totally abolished and
a non-racial democracy in a united South Africa established. Let those
who hold power in our country fix this firmly in their minds that the people
will accept nothing less than this and that our common motherland will
know neither peace nor stability until this objective is realised.
Our rejection of the apartheid system has always been and remains uncompromising.
This system is a crime against humanity. No elements of this crime can
be permitted to continue, whatever the excuses advanced for their preservation.
The people's demand that it must be eradicated in its entirety is non-negotiable.
We can take no other position precisely because apartheid has meant
and continues to mean some of the most terrible suffering that any people
anywhere in the world have endured since the end of the Second World War.
It has meant the death of millions of people through hunger and deprivation
that are a direct result of this system. It has meant the death of hundreds
of thousands throughout our region as a result of repression, state terrorism
and undeclared war waged for the sole object of protecting the apartheid
It signifies the murder of some of the best sons and daughters of all
the people of our country, whether on the gallows by official hangmen,
in the streets and villages by the police and the army, in prison cells
by licensed torturers or elsewhere by the official secret death squads
of the Pretoria regime. It has meant the dehumanisation of an entire people.
It has led to the inevitable conflict in our country which still has the
possibility to claim the lives of so many of our people as we fight on,
because we must, to end the apartheid crime against humanity.
National Party - Apartheid Architect
These days, the National Party also speaks of its commitment to end
apartheid. The unlamented and melodramatic disappearance of PW Botha from
the political scene is presented as a milestone signifying a change of
direction by this apartheid party. Its leaders must, however, understand
if we remain unconvinced and sceptical and demand that they translate their
words into actions.
The same National Party occupies an uncontested position as the sole
architect of the apartheid system. For over forty years it has, systematically
and callously, constructed this system of white minority domination and
used the most brutal means and methods to entrench and defend it, upholding
the destructive notion that the security of the white population depended
on white domination.
It has trained and equipped an army and a police force as well as a
phalanx of civil servants, to say nothing of the white population in general,
to stamp viciously and mercilessly on any person and organisation that
threatens the survival of the apartheid system.
Repeatedly over the decades, it has thrown these forces of repression
into action and built up a tradition of barbarism among them. It would
be foolhardy of us to forget that, however engaging the smiles they might
wear on their faces today, these forces still hold a deadly sword in their
hand, capable of being used for the purpose for which they have been trained
- the ruthless defence of the apartheid system of white minority domination
South Africa Belongs to All
Throughout the seven decades of our existence we have fought against
white minority rule and advanced a perspective of equality in freedom for
all South Africans. We have put forward and defended the idea that South
Africa belongs to all who live in it , black and white, and that no government
can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.
We espoused these principles because we value freedom, justice, democracy
and security for all the people of our country.
We also adopted these positions because we cherish peace and knew that
so long as injustice persisted so long would the people be denied peace.
In addition, and in pursuit of the twin objectives of justice and peace,
and as the Pretoria regime can confirm from its own files, we repeatedly
asked successive white rulers of our country to enter into negotiations
with genuine representatives of our people. Even when we were compelled
to take up arms, we tried to conduct a humane war with as few casualties
as possible. This was precisely because as a movement for national liberation
we value life and fight to assert the right to life in the face of a system
that is inherently violent and murderous.
Create the Climate for Negotiations
Because the democratic forces of our country value peace, while being
committed to genuine freedom for all the people of our country, they have,
once more and in unity, put forward a proposal for the political resolution
of the conflict in which our country is enmeshed. That proposal, as contained
in the Harare and UN General Assembly Declarations, is intended for the
sole purpose of ending the system of apartheid as quickly and with as little
bloodshed and destruction as possible. So far, Pretoria's response to this
historic proposal has amounted to nothing more than political gamesmanship
which has absolutely nothing to do with a serious effort to advance towards
a mutually acceptable agreement to end the apartheid system.
It still remains for the Pretoria regime to create a climate conducive
to negotiations. In putting forward this universally accepted demand, we
are not asking for special favours. We are asking that all who should participate
in any process of negotiations should enjoy equal political opportunities.
On this historic occasion, we reiterate that the democratic forces of our
country will not be terrorised into negotiations and cannot be expected
to enter into such a process until they enjoy the same freedoms to engage
in political activity as does the National Party.
A little while ago, we converged in Johannesburg in our tens of thousands
to welcome, in a disciplined and orderly manner, the leaders of our people
who had been released from prison after a quarter-of-a-century of incarceration.
We took advantage of the space that had emerged to hold this rally as we
had organised the marches conducted in the course of our defiance campaign.
While recognising these advances, we have made it plain that that great
son of our people, who continues to wage a principled struggle from prison
as a disciplined and committed member and leader of the ANC, Nelson Mandela,
as well as other patriots, remains in prison. The State of Emergency remains
in place. Organisations and individuals continue to be banned and restricted.
The de Klerk regime still has a long way to go before it can claim that
it has ended repression directed against the national liberation and democratic
movement of our country. So long as this repression continues, so long
shall we struggle against it.
Therefore, whether the potential for a political settlement is transformed
into reality remains the urgent responsibility of the Pretoria regime.
For our part, we are committed to seize any real opportunity that might
emerge, genuinely to seek a political agreement for a speedy end of the
apartheid system. It ought to be obvious that we, who are the victims of
this heinous system, can never act in a manner designed either to perpetuate
it or to lead to the loss of even more lives.
Despite the promises that have been made to the contrary, the apartheid
system remains in place. An apartheid white minority regime continues to
rule our country. There is in power a party of racism which has grown accustomed
to power and cannot imagine itself as anything except a ruling party. The
very real conditions of our lives, including the denial of democratic political
rights, demand that we continue the struggle until we have removed the
yoke of oppression.
No to Group Rights
Compatriots, the need for all of us, black and white, to unite around
the perspective of one, democratic and non-racial South Africa has never
been greater than it is today. This not only requires that we should embrace
this perspective but also that we should join in struggle together, marching
shoulder to shoulder for its realisation.
We take this opportunity once more to salute the Conference for a Democratic
Future. We united at this historic Conference to forge a mighty formation
of struggle for a democratic South Africa. By that act and in our decisions,
we put on the agenda, as the issue of the day, the transformation of our
country into a genuine democracy, in which the people would govern, on
the basis of one person one vote in a non-racial society, and not on a
group basis. This is a demand that we must imprint on all our banners as
we continue and intensify our struggle for freedom.
Confronting directly the manoeuvres of the De Klerk regime to draw us
into an apartheid structure which would parcel out meaningless portions
of power in a so-called power-sharing arrangement that would leave the
white minority as the dominating force, we correctly called for an elected
Constituent Assembly that would be truly representative of the people and
accountable to them; one that would, once and for all, answer the question
of who the genuine representatives of the people are. We must fight for
this demand to ensure that power does indeed rest in the hands of the people,
and not appointees of Pretoria and other self-seeking charlatans.
The fact that the Conference for a Democratic Future took place and
that it arrived at these and other important decisions, should not lead
us to ignore some of the weaknesses that emerged during its preparation
and its sessions. One of the most important lessons these point to, is
that there needs to be greater interaction among all the forces that were
represented at the Conference, in a conscious effort to think and plan
together on a continuous basis. United action becomes easier for all of
us to achieve when we have all participated in the process of determining
what action we should take together.
Our Strategic Objective
This pregnant moment in our history, which demands of all of us that
we make the decisive push for the democratic transformation of our country,
requires clarity of thought in terms of our tactical and strategic objectives,
without confusing the two. It requires that we should know the goals of
the national democratic revolution and refuse to fall victim to promises
of pies-in-the-sky made by demagogues who know they cannot even deliver
a stale slice of bread.
Our first strategic objective is to restore democratic political power
into the hands of the people in a united and non-racial South Africa. Once
this objective is achieved, it will be the task of people's power to dismantle
the system of apartheid and to undertake the process of fundamental socio-economic
transformation, directed at meeting the aspirations of the people in the
manner spelt out in the Freedom Charter, the Constitutional Guidelines
and the Workers' Charter that are currently under discussion. These are
the strategic objectives of the national democratic revolution around which
are united the millions of our people, a strategic unity which we must
guard and protect like the apple of our eye.
Need for Tactical Flexibility
Tactics have to do with how we conduct the struggle from one moment
to the next, responding to a changing situation. By their nature they require
flexibility. The correct tactical approach also demands that we should,
at all times, understand the balance of forces correctly and not overestimate
or underestimate the strength and possibilities of either our own forces
or those of our opponents. Above all and in the present situation, we should
'claim no easy victories' and avoid the temptation of euphoria.
In addition to our clarity on such issues, the victory of the democratic
revolution will depend on how organised we are and how successful we are
in bringing the millions of our people into continuous and united struggle
as conscious fighters for their own liberation. From this, it is clear
that we still have many tasks ahead of us.
The Tasks Ahead
Of central importance is the need for us further to strengthen in every
way possible and necessary the organised formations of the democratic movement.
The truth is that many of these continue to show obvious weaknesses in
terms of how the membership is organised, the uneven level of consciousness,
the strength and cohesion of the leadership structures and their accountability
to the membership as well as the contact of these formations with the masses
of the people.
Organise our Fighting Formations
In all these organisations there are adequate numbers of fairly well-prepared
cadres who should be able to address these issues and enable those democratic
formations affected, rapidly to correct any mistakes and improve their
capacity to function effectively. The goal of ensuring the proper organisation
of our fighting formations is a priority task without whose fulfilment
we shall be hampered in terms of taking the struggle further forward.
We must also not forget the reality that millions of our people remain
unorganised and maintain weak contact with the organisations of the democratic
movement. This is an issue that we should also address constantly, to build
organisation and draw even more of our people into struggle.
Organise and Mobilise in the Countryside
This definitely affects the masses of our people in the countryside.
Important strides have been made in organising these heroic masses who
are also deeply interested in their own emancipation and that of their
country as a whole. But more needs to be done.
We therefore hail and wish to encourage very strongly the efforts being
made to organise the agricultural workers. Inspiring progress has been
made in the establishment of youth and women's organisations in the countryside
as well as democratic village committees and political organisations. We
need further to expedite these processes by ensuring the availability of
resources to carry out this work and by elaborating programmes of action
together with these rural masses, in order to mobilise them into struggle.
A special tribute is due to the traditional leaders who have combined
themselves into the Congress of Traditional Leaders. Having broken away
from the stable of those who help to administer the apartheid system, these
leaders have regained the respect of the people and are a valuable and
indispensable component of the genuine forces for change. They have a responsibility
to draw other traditional leaders into their democratic formation as well
as participate together with the rest of the democratic movement in organising
and mobilising the people in the countryside into struggle.
We also salute those who operate within the bantustan system but have
elected to join the people as part of the mighty and invincible army that
fights for a united, democratic and non-racial South Africa. We trust that
these developments have ensured that never again shall we, as the democratic
movement, abandon our task of organising these forces into struggle, regardless
of the fact that they serve in enemy-created structures.
We also remind those who have not yet followed this example that, by
their actions, they too have the possibility to be counted as patriots
who overcame the short-lived temptations of the moment and saw that the
future lies not in the perpetuation of apartheid but in its destruction,
and its replacement by a social order which they will be honoured to construct
as they would have participated in its introduction.
Working Class Unity
As we have agreed in previous years, millions of workers remain outside
the ranks of the organised democratic trade union movement. We have to
continue to devote maximum attention to this issue to ensure that the overwhelming
majority of the workers of our country are organised. All of us must join
hands with Cosatu and its affiliates to organise both the unorganised and
The unity of the working class is one of the most important weapons
in the hands of the workers and the democratic movement as a whole. It
is therefore an objective for which we have to strive continuously. In
this regard, we would like to welcome the unity victories the democratic
trade union movement scored during the course of the year 1989. Progress
is also being made in the vital task of uniting the teachers. Clearly,
we need to move with greater speed in pursuit of this objective.
Further work also remains to be done to reach out to other organised
formations of workers, including the white or white-led trade unions. It
is necessary to show these workers that their fundamental interests are
best served by joining the forces that are inexorably bringing a democratic
South Africa into being and not those that still cling to a criminal past
whose days are, in any case, numbered.
Quite clearly and correctly, the general tendency among the workers
of our country is progress towards ever greater unity, whatever the problems
we have to overcome in achieving this goal. It is therefore all the more
disturbing that there should be some who, while claiming to represent the
genuine interests of the working class as a whole, work persistently and
unashamedly to wreck and sabotage the unity of the working class.
Sooner rather than later, the ordinary working people whom they lead
will wake up to realise that these leaders are isolating them from the
majority of the organised workers of our country for purely selfish and
sectarian reasons. We call on those responsible to abandon the path they
have embarked upon and the objectives they have set themselves, all of
which only serve the interests of the counter-revolution.
The democratic movement as a whole has demonstrated more than once that
it is ready and willing to listen to the views of the thousands of workers
affected by the unhealthy divisive process within the trade union movement,
to respect their feelings and, in the interests of the workers themselves
and the oppressed masses of our country, to work patiently to achieve unity,
without creating a situation of victors and losers. Let all honest patriots
act now to build unity rather than to sow division, to help build a democratic
future rather than pull backwards towards a racist past.
Peace in Natal
In this context, we need to re-emphasise the absolute importance of
the black oppressed. The continuing bloodbath in Natal poses an urgent
challenge to all of us to intensify our efforts to bring about peace. We
must not be discouraged by those who are playing around with the lives
of the people with the objective of gaining an empty political advantage,
but must reach out to the people so that they impose peace on those who
seem to relish death.
Emancipation of Women
As we speak, an important and exciting conference of the women of our
country is taking place in the Netherlands. This is the Malibongwe Conference.
We salute the women comrades and compatriots who have gathered in Amsterdam
and look forward to the results of their conference which must have an
important impact on the entirety of our work, regarding the mass involvement
of women in the struggle and their emancipation from the yoke of triple
The overwhelming majority of the women of our country, the most oppressed
section of our population, remain lamentably unorganised and under-organised.
As yet, because of this, they remain by and large a reserve force of the
liberation movement of our country. In good measure this is so because
even the most developed sections of this movement have not addressed seriously
the issue of emancipation of women. The consequent continued political
marginalisation of women itself works to ensure that they too are not positioned
to intervene in a decisive manner to assert the centrality of the liberation
of women in the whole process of achieving national and social emancipation.
The time has come that the democratic movement as a whole and all its
activists should adopt concepts and practices that overturn old modes of
approach towards the female half of the population of our country. We must
ensure that the women are organised from the local level upwards and draw
them into struggle in their millions and as equal participants at all levels
of organisation and regardless of the form of struggle. The mass involvement
of the women is vital for our success in the objective we have set ourselves,
that of ensuring the speediest democratic transformation of our country.
By achieving this mass participation, we will also prepare for the situation
in future when we shall have to transform the legal and constitutional
framework, the economy, culture, ideology and other forms of human existence
in such a way that ours does in fact become a non-sexist society.
Youth - the Pride of our Nation
The heroic youth of our country, the great pride of all our people,
have continued to occupy their position among the front ranks of the forces
that fight for liberation. We salute them and urge them further to deepen
their involvement in the struggle, as the creative but disciplined and
responsible force that they have been. It is of particular importance that
the youth should also pay maximum attention to the question of strengthening
their own organisation. During the height of the repression under the current
state of emergency, the apartheid state made a special effort to weaken
the democratic organisations of the youth.
Good progress is being made in reconstituting old structures and creating
new ones where none existed before. This work should continue so as to
draw the millions of our youth into organised formations of the democratic
movement. In this process, we also need to pay particular attention to
the political education of the youth as part of the common effort to ensure
that they continue to play their role as one of the most important contingents
of the democratic movement.
Education for Liberation
Among its tasks, the democratic student movement should, together with
other forces, address once again, in a systematic manner, the issue of
the transformation of the educational system. Taking advantage of the space
we have created through struggle, we should try to determine what can be
done even now, to produce the kind of young intellectual whom a democratic
South Africa will need. To do this effectively also requires that we should
be organised. It also means that those who are so organised should not
fall victim to revolutionary arrogance and be satisfied to walk alone,
leaving behind many other students who might require further education
and persuasion to join the democratic movement.
An important responsibility also devolves on teachers and lecturers
to participate in this process of the transformation of the educational
Role of Intelligentsia
This issue throws up the important question of the role of the intellectuals
of our country in the struggle today and in the processes of fundamental
social transformation tomorrow. It is our deeply held belief that we need
to develop a strong and active democratic movement among the intelligentsia
of our country as well. It is true that serious efforts in this direction
have begun. Much more still remains to be done. It is very important that
the vast body of intellectuals in our country realise that the situation
demands that they too should be firmly committed to the democratic vision
for which so many have perished.
Faith in Struggle
There is also a continuing responsibility on the part of the religious
community of our country to deepen their engagement in the struggle to
end apartheid. The 'standing for the truth campaign' has played an important
role in enabling parts of this community to contribute its share to the
forward movement towards a democratic South Africa. In the period ahead
of us, greater rather than less involvement will be expected of the religious
Prominent religious figures have played an outstanding role in the fight
against injustice. We salute these grjeat patriots. They have been prepared
to sacrifice their even lives to remain true to their beliefs. It remains
for all other people of faith to follow this example and by their involvement
in action against apartheid, help shorten the lifespan of this system and
bring life where death was the order of the day.
The democratic movement as a whole continues to grapple with the important
question of developing a genuinely non-racial, mass sports movement. This
too is a matter of importance. We need to encourage ever more of our people,
both young and old, to participate in sport. This is not only necessary
for health, but is also an important means by which the youth occupies
itself in a constructive manner. The end of apartheid is also going to
mean that we shall, once more, rejoin the world sporting community as accepted
competitors. This certain prospect should inspire as many of us as possible
to take to the field.
We reiterate our strong opposition to all rebel tours. These are apartheid
tours, intended to reinforce this evil system. They serve further to entrench
racism in sport and are a counter-force to the efforts that our sports
people are making to develop a non-racial sports movement. It remains our
common responsibility vigorously to oppose the rebel tours that are due
to take place and demand that the apartheid collaborators go home.
We welcome and strongly encourage the steps taken to unite the various
sports bodies within each code, on the basis of non-racialism and a commitment
to the Olympic principles. This should also play an important role in destroying
the divisions among our people, and the resulting antagonisms, which are
the heritage of the apartheid system. In this context, we also wish to
welcome the emergence of the National Sports Congress and urge that it
ensures that it continues to develop as an organisation of sports people
who must, among other things, also make their contribution to ensure the
speedy end of the apartheid system, in the interest of all sports people
and sport itself.
Strengthen all People's Organisations
We must, of course, also strengthen other organisations of the people
such as the civic associations, the NECC, and the organisations which bring
together our cultural workers.
Compatriots and fellow freedom-fighters:
To be victorious in the struggle to liquidate the apartheid system and
transform our country into a non-racial democracy requires that we should
be organised. Our organisation must be capable of reaching and mobilising
the millions of our people into struggle as a united force. They must be
able to handle the complicated situation ahead of us, defeating any attempt
to break them or render them ineffective.
Programme of Action
To achieve all this they have to be strong. They have to be well organised,
with a good leadership, sound political understanding and established democratic
procedures. But in addition, and of great importance, they must also have
a programme of action for the destruction of the apartheid system and the
transformation of South Africa into a united, democratic and non-racial
We spelt out the essence of this programme at the Conference for a Democratic
Future. The Unifying Perspective, the Declaration and the Resolutions of
this Conference point the correct way forward both in terms of the orientation
of the struggle and the practical actions in which we should engage in
a united offensive. What remains to be done is that in further discussions
within our various organisations, among these formations and through the
continuing structures of the CDF, we should decide what practically we
should do and when.
As at the Conference, we must, in a programme of action, address such
matters as the further intensification of the campaign of mass defiance
against repression in all its forms and against the apartheid system. We
must address the issue of the release of Nelson Mandela and all other political
prisoners and detainees, saving the lives of the patriots on death row,
the bans and restrictions imposed on organisations and individuals, children
under apartheid, the mobilisation of the rural masses against the Land
Act, for the land to belong to those who work it, the just demand to end
conscription, the issue of people's education and other questions that
were tabled at the CDF.
Offensive for Democracy and Peace
At our Conference for a Democratic Future, that eminent leader of our
people, Comrade Walter Sisulu, called on FW de Klerk to join the people
in the struggle to end repression, to end apartheid, to plan for, bring
about and build a democratic and non-racial South Africa. The focus of
our offensive will be to achieve these objectives through action from below,
through mass action, involving the millions of the democratic-minded South
Africans. On this there can be no going back. The challenge remains on
FW de Klerk's table for him to act from above in pursuit of these same
goals without whose realisation our country can never know peace, stability
We also call on our white compatriots to join this mass offensive for
democracy and peace. There are already many that have stood up in pursuit
of these aims. They participated in the Conference for a Democratic Future
as distinguished builders of a future common home of all the people of
our country. Those who marched into New Brighton in Port Elizabeth to bridge
the racial gulf created by the apartheid system and to make their commitment
to work for a future of justice and friendship among all, are today the
pride of millions of our people.
We urge the millions of our white compatriots to follow their example,
to reach across, join hands with their black fellow-citizens and together,
black and white, march forward to destroy the old and, together create
the new social order.
Such actions, carried out in every town and city of our country, would
make an enormous contribution to the speedy end of apartheid and the abolition
of the racial antagonisms and mistrust which this system sought to nurture
and perpetuate. Now is the time that all South Africans who love our country,
in all their glorious shades of colour, join forces and act together to
turn the land of their birth into a common patrimony of which we can all
Death Squad Terror
The recent revelations about the secret death squads set up by the police
and the army, point to the gruesome threat that all our people face from
these armed men and women, who have been trained to kill in defence of
an unjust system. The closer we get to ending the system of apartheid,
the more desperate, vicious and brutal these animals of racism will become.
To deny us the peace that will come with the end of apartheid, they will
declare war on the unarmed, to produce the peace of the grave.
Now is the time for those patriotic individuals who serve in the apartheid
armed forces and police, to declare themselves on the side of the overwhelming
majority of the people, to declare themselves in favour of a democratic
and non-racial South Africa. Already some have chosen this path, among
them serving soldiers and policemen and the brave young whites who have
publicly refused conscription, risking and actually serving long terms
Bear Arms in Defence of Freedom
We therefore reiterate our call to those who belong to these organs
of repression, including those in the Bantustans, that if they must bear
arms, it must be for the purpose of defending freedom and not perpetuating
white minority domination. Their weapons must be pointed not at the people
but at the enemy of the people, the apartheid system. In this regard, we
salute the decision by Lt Rockman and others to establish an organisation
of police and prison officers and trust it, too, will act in the interests
of the people.
ANC - Born of the People The situation ahead of us imposes new responsibilities
on our movement, the African National Congress. Born of the people almost
eight decades ago, and charged by them with the task of leading them in
their efforts to secure their emancipation, it has the challenging obligation
to carry out this historic mission in the period ahead of us.
To achieve this, the ANC itself needs to be strong and well-organised,
clear about both the tactical and the strategic demands of the struggle,
and capable of leading the millions of our people to victory. We therefore
call especially on all comrades inside the country to work hard to strengthen
the underground structures of the movement, to expand them and ensure that
they reach all corners of our country and all sectors of our people.
Build the Underground
As one of the four pillars on which our entire strategy rests, this
task is of central and decisive importance. It must therefore be attended
to with all the seriousness it deserves, in the interests of all the democratic
forces of our country, for the victory of the democratic revolution.
We also take this opportunity to salute the heroic commanders and combatants
of Umkhonto we Sizwe for the immeasurable contribution they have made to
bring us to the stage where we can pose the prospect of the transfer of
power to the people as a matter of practical politics. We lower our banners
in memory of the revolutionary combatants of the people's army who have
laid down their lives during this past year and before. By their sacrifice,
they have brought the goal of freedom within our reach.
Umkhonto we Sizwe - Our People's Army
The conditions which obliged us to take up arms remain unchanged. The
ANC remains an illegal organisation. Membership of the ANC is a treasonable
offence. The State of Emergency continues and a whole series of repressive
laws remain on the statute books. We have no constitutional means to change
the government of the day. While the apartheid regime remains in power,
even if the ANC were unbanned, there is no guarantee that this regime would
not, once more, proscribe our movement.
These observations are important in the context of the undertaking we
have made, as reflected in the Harare Declaration, that we are ready to
enter into an agreement with the Pretoria regime for a mutual suspension
of hostilities as soon as a climate conducive to negotiations is created.
Given our history and the practical situation in our country, we cannot
be expected to surrender our weapons until an agreement to end apartheid
has been arrived at.
In this respect, we must make it clear that the Harare Declaration is
not and was not to be a substitute for other forms of struggle, including
our armed offensive. It is an additional weapon in our struggle to liquidate
the apartheid system. It constitutes a vital and new intervention by the
democratic forces of our country in the arena of political struggle for
the democratic transformation of our country.
Armed Struggle Decisive
The armed struggle continues to be a critical and decisive component
of our strategy. The commanders and cadres of the people's army, Umkhonto
we Sizwe, will therefore remain at their active posts, committed to the
intensification of our armed offensive against the violent apartheid system,
for a democratic and peaceful South Africa. The people's army must therefore
continue to grow and further develop its combat capacity inside the country,
so that it becomes a formidable force capable of delivering telling blows
against the apartheid regime on a continuous and nation-wide basis.
We Salute Swapo and the Namibian People
The sister people of Namibia, our neighbours, are well set on the road
to independence. On this historic day in our struggle, we greet them and
salute their liberation movement, SWAPO of Namibia. This wise and dignified
people have demonstrated that through the democratic election of a Constituent
Assembly, by keeping their country together as one united, unfragmented
entity, by refusing to treat one another as competing ethnic and racial
groups, it is possible to create a situation of peace and stability within
a few months of the cessation of armed hostilities.
The victory that is within their grasp is of great importance for the
democratic transformation of our own country as well. We reiterate our
pledge that we will do everything in our power to contribute to this victory
by resisting from our own soil any attempt by the Pretoria regime to block
Namibia's progress to proclamation of her independence, fully conscious
that this impending victory will push further forward the frontiers of
freedom and emphasise the urgent need to liquidate the apartheid system
once and for all.
Frontline Sates - No Peace Until Apartheid Ends
We salute the sister peoples and governments of the Frontline and other
countries of Southern Africa. Our region can never know peace until the
apartheid system is ended. We are therefore aware of our responsibilities,
not only to ourselves, but also to the peoples of our region, to abolish
the apartheid system as quickly as possible. We assure them that that day
is not far off. We take this opportunity once more to express our profound
appreciation to them for standing firm in their support for our struggle,
despite the campaign of terror that the Pretoria regime launched against
We are at one with the governments of the People's Republics of Angola
and Mozambique in their effort to secure peace for their peoples. The terrible
carnage in both countries has to end. The Pretoria regime must accept full
responsibility for its part in this situation of massive death and destabilisation
and its attempt to impose its will on the peoples of these countries.
The recent disclosures about the Comoros confirm the threat posed by
the Pretoria regime to independent Africa. This demands continued vigilance
by the entire continent and the abandonment of any illusions that independent
Africa can transform the apartheid regime into a friend and an ally. The
task of the OAU and our continent continues to be the intensification of
the offensive against the racist regime in South Africa until our people
gain their freedom.
Impose Comprehensive Mandatory Sanctions
On this occasion of the 78th anniversary of our movement, we greet all
our friends and allies throughout the world and convey to them our thanks
for the work they have done to sustain the campaign for the total isolation
of the apartheid regime. The apartheid system continues in place. It therefore
still remains for the international community to use the most effective
weapon in its hands, comprehensive and mandatory sanctions, to help bring
about a speedy end to the apartheid crime against humanity.
In the coming period, our movement and other democratic forces of our
country will require even more extensive political and material support
from the world anti-apartheid forces. We are confident that this support
will be given generously, to enable our people to realise what the whole
world wishes to see - the transformation of our country into a non-racial
We also take this opportunity to express our appreciation to all states
members of the United Nations for their unanimous adoption of the Declaration
on South Africa at the 16th Special Session of the General Assembly. We
are certain that this will make an important contribution to the speedy
resolution of the apartheid question of which the United Nations has been
seized almost since its foundation.
Victory is Certain!
We begin the last decade of the Second Millennium convinced that victory
is certain. Democracy in South Africa must and will emerge triumphant.
It is the urgent responsibility of all our people who value freedom, justice
and peace to combine in their millions and use their irresistible strength
finally to put an end to the apartheid system, transform South Africa into
a united, democratic and non-racial country, enabling it to take its place
among the nations of the world as a force for justice, peace and social
progress. Consonant with these tasks and in the name of the entire leadership
of our movement, we proclaim 1990 the Year of People's Action for a Democratic