Statement of the National Executive Committee on the occasion of the 81st Anniversary of the ANC
8 January, 1993
Fellow South Africans, Comrades and Compatriots,
Today, January 8th, marks the 81st anniversary of the African National
We observe this important date at a moment when our country stands at
its gateway to the future.
1993 is destined to be the year when we bring to an end the exclusive
exercise of political power by the white minority. At last, we shall, together,
set ourselves on the path to democratic rule.
This historic moment in the transition to people's power will express
itself through a general election which must be held before the end of
The elections will be the first in our country when all the people,
black and white, the privileged and the deprived, will vote together as
equals in an undivided South Africa. As we move into this phase let us
ensure that this vote leads to the systematic empowerment of all and especially
South African women.
Through the exercise of this inalienable right of all our people to
determine their future, will be born a sovereign Constituent Assembly which
will also function as a democratic and non-racial Interim Parliament and
an Interim Government of National Unity, representative of and accountable
to the people as a whole. Through this democratic vote the people shall
determine the shape of our country for decades to come.
It is within our power, as a country and a nation, to secure this year
a decisive victory which will place us on the road to resolving the centuries-old
struggle between brutal oppression and exploitation on one hand, and the
quest for genuine emancipation of all our people, on the other.
This history of conflict created a deeply divided country. As we strive
to create the new, we will have to start from the heritage of a society
torn apart and driven by hatred and division; a society which imprisoned
both the oppressed and the oppressor.
The future cannot be built by ignoring or denying the past. Nor can
there be reconciliation without acknowledgement by the architects of apartheid
and by all other South Africans of the wrongs they have committed.
Those who usurped power in our country did everything possible to divide
our society so that they could continue to rule.
They used their deadly instruments which included racism, tribalism,
ethnicity, sexism, corruption in all its forms and a particular and sectarian
theological outlook - all of which sought to rob our people of the bond
which derives from the understanding that all human beings are equal.
Today all of us, both culprit and victim, are reaping the whirlwind
of the destructive seeds Apartheid sowed.
Those South Africans who have had the wisdom to stop and think have
always known that the day of reckoning would come. They recognised that
in the end many of our people would coalesce into distinct, belligerent
We, for our part, as an organisation have known that there could be
no peace among the people until all of us acknowledge that we are one people
who share a common patriotism and a common destiny.
It is for these reasons that at its inception in 1912 the ANC spoke
out against "the demon of tribalism". It is for these reasons
that, in actual struggle, we constantly sought to forge the unity of the
oppressed and exploited.
To secure genuine emancipation we struggled to ensure that the organisations
of the oppressed, including the ANC, should be representative of all the
people of our country, including those in the white community.
Today we are proud to see the concept and practice of non-racialism
increasingly accepted as the perspective of most political formations of
our country. We are inspired by the widespread acceptance of the mutually
dependent principles of democracy, equality, justice, peace and reconciliation.
When the people of our country stated in the Freedom Charter in 1955
that: "South Africa belongs to all who live in it black and white..."
they summed up our common yearning for democracy, non-racialism and national
In the Freedom Charter our people put together a vision of the future
based on prosperity for all. The Charter expresses a goal which the ANC
and all other democrats in our country have been striving for in opposition
to the policies of successive apartheid regimes.
All sectors of our society yearn for the urgent realisation of a system
in which they can realise their full potential.
It is crucial that workers and the rural masses, and particularly the
unemployed youth, continue to strive for better conditions, jobs and land
in the context of a growing economy. Families have all reason to unite
in the search for affordable prices on shop shelves.
Students, teachers and parents deserve a better deal in education, a
system based on non-racial and democratic principles - not on the wealth
they command. A better health system which caters for all is not a privilege,
but a right which must be guaranteed. It is abominable that senior citizens
should continue to be subjected to racial discrimination and inhuman treatment.
Professionals merit an environment in which they can exercise their
creativity without the confining ideology of racism. Business-people deserve
secure investments in conditions of social harmony.
All communities have a right to housing and living conditions free of
crime and social disintegration.
All South Africans, be they African Coloured, Indian or White - men
and women, young and old - deserve a better deal. They deserve lasting
security and a stable environment. And the problems of the past and the
present cannot be resolved by means of modified apartheid, no matter how
sweet-sounding the phrases of representatives of this heinous system.
The time has come to translate this vision into reality as a united
people, through genuine democracy, justice and good government.
As we strive to achieve these objectives, we must also break down and
abolish the divisions and antagonisms which were used to deny all our people
democracy, peace and prosperity. This year must therefore be the year which
opens up ever- widening scope for democratic participation and empowerment.
We are in the midst of the process of building a nation. To achieve
this we must ensure that the diversity of cultures, languages and religions
of our people flourish. Overcoming the divisive heritage of the past will
require a conscious effort to promote institutions and practices which
will - formally and informally - create the conditions in which we all
learn to treat our languages, cultures and religions with equal respect
and dignity based on a common patriotism.
In this nation-building effort the ANC also recognises that we shall
have to make provision which will restore to a place of dignity and respect
the institution of chieftainship. Our traditional leaders were reduced
to the status of paid servants of the apartheid state and cut off from
the service of the people. But this can only be achieved if they break
with the apartheid past. In this way, they will be able to play a constructive
role in enhancing the unity of our people and help restore themselves to
the respect they deserve.
National unity, non-racialism and a common patriotism are the cement
which will bind a nation at peace with itself and in harmony with the natural
world we inhabit.
Events since early 1990 have made the country swing between moments
of high expectations and of despair. There have been those who have sought
to postpone and delay the process of transition.
Today all South Africans realise that we need to move forward decisively
and with the utmost speed. Each day that passes is a day of deprivation,
of hunger, of rising unemployment, of violence, increasing crime and insecurity
The transition to democracy is the key to resolving the deep-seated
social and economic crisis.
We are under no illusion that this transition to democracy will be plain
sailing. We are faced with a regime which seeks to preserve its privileges
and assure its power. It has often failed to adhere to agreements it has
reached with the ANC.
It is a regime which still refuses to acknowledge the crime of apartheid.
Even when the De Klerk regime has been forced to acknowledge that senior
SADF officers are involved in the violence and in efforts to destabilise
the negotiation process and the ANC, it continues to deny that there is
a Third Force. It persists in shrouding in secrecy the corruption and the
role of its security forces.
The only way to secure the future is for the De Klerk regime to come
clean and out into the open. Along this path, we shall ensure that the
defence of the country is placed correctly into the hands of the people.
It is the people who have fashioned the gains we have registered. It is
the people who are the defenders of the progress we have made. It is the
people who are the force who will carry our country into the future.
Our optimism for 1993 rests on the fact that mass action, public exposures,
international pressure and the consistent espousal of democratic rule are
the basis for the advances that we have been making. Through these instruments
we must ensure that the regime abandons it bankrupt strategy of negotiating
with whilst simultaneously seeking to undermine the ANC.
The key steps that have to be taken during this year are:
- Resumption of multilateral talks in CODESA.
- Ensuring a climate of free political activity in all parts of our country.
- Establishment of the Transitional Executive Council and its sub-structures
as well as an Independent Elections Commission and Independent Media Commission
so as to ensure free and fair elections.
- Elections for a Constituent Assembly and an Interim Government of National
Unity before the end of 1993.
- Reincorporation of the so-called independent bantustans.
The challenge facing the ANC is two-fold.
On the one hand, we have to pursue the struggle strenuously on all fronts
to ensure that negotiations are successfully concluded to bring about democratic
rule. On the other hand, we need to face the challenge of forthcoming Constituent
Assembly elections and prepare ourselves to govern.
The policy conference of the ANC, through a thoroughgoing process of
discussions and debate both inside the ANC and in the broader public arena
provided us with the framework of policies for a truly democratic, humane
and just society. We need to carry this to all our formations which must
ensure that it becomes the property of the people as a whole. This must
involve reinvigorating and expanding the organisation of the ANC at regional
and local levels and its links with the people.
The momentum for change is gathering force. We must make it unstoppable.
There are those political formations which fear change and are totally
opposed to democratic elections. They are products of apartheid thinking.
They fear the will of the people. They cling to ethnic fiefdoms and racism.
But, they are part of a dying order.
Unless they are able to place the national interest above their party
political and personal agendas they will confine themselves to the role
of spoilers and will be judged accordingly.
The ANC maintains that the negotiations process should be as inclusive
as possible. Our call to all formations to join Codesa is open-ended. But,
we insist that no one should be allowed to hold the transition to democracy
The elections cannot be delayed beyond 1993.
To arrive at this point we have to address two related questions effectively.
These are curbing the violence that continues to blight our country and
the creation of a climate conducive to free political activity.
The ANC stands for peace. To end the violence, during the course of
1992, the ANC has:
- called for an urgent meeting of all signatories to the National Peace
Accord to strengthen the accord and publicly renew their joint commitment
- secured international involvement, through the United Nations, the
Organisation of African Unity and the Commonwealth, which has resulted
in the stationing of monitors in South Africa;
- actively engaged in local and national peace initiatives as part of
a determined effort to bring people together at grassroots level.
Yet the carnage continues.
The terrorism, destabilisation and repression that emanates from within
the security forces, and State agencies, including the various Administrations
in different parts of South Africa, must be rooted out without any equivocation
Free political activity and a culture of political tolerance must be
created. The violent conflict between members of different political organisations
must be brought to an end.
The National Peace Accord must be fully implemented and strengthened.
Codesa agreed that all armed formations and police forces be placed under
the control of a statutory Transitional Executive Council. This must be
effected as soon as this Council is established. This will lay the basis
for the creation of a truly representative South African army in which
Umkhonto weSizwe shall have a crucial role to play.
No more lives must be lost! Let us develop the most powerful public
campaign for peace that our country has ever seen! Such a campaign should
unite all our people in action, regardless of race, gender, class, political
affiliation, age, religion or geographic location. This would be the best
way to pay tribute to thousands who lost their lives in the carnage ravaging
We count on the international community to increase its presence and
to play an even more vigorous role in its intervention for peace. The stationing
of international monitors has been an important achievement of our movement.
It has reinforced the efforts of our people against those who have no regard
for human life. It has strengthened the forces for democracy and peace
in our country.
In this regard, we would like to pay tribute to the OAU for responding
to the appeal of the ANC and ensuring that the intervention of the United
Nations and other international bodies became possible.
Our country cries out for the creation of space to enable people to
associate without let or hindrance; to propagate and discuss views without
fear or favour; to fashion a vision of our country through the process
of free and energetic debate.
Those who are committed to democracy and peace cannot allow a situation
to persist whereby anybody, whoever they might be, denies the people their
right to a climate conducive to free political activity.
In all parts of the country, including the so-called homelands, whether
"independent" or not, all organisations and individuals must
enjoy the same rights and the same opportunities to organise, to assemble
and to propagate their views.
As soon as it is elected, the Constituent Assembly will commence its
work of drafting and adopting the new constitution for which millions of
our people are waiting. We are committed to ensuring that this constitution,
the supreme law of the land, enshrines and expresses the perspective contained
in the Codesa Declaration of Intent of multi-party democracy in a united,
non-racial and non- sexist South Africa.
A critical element of this constitution must be an entrenched and enforceable
Bill of Rights which would protect fundamental human rights and limit the
power of any parliament to take away these rights.
This will also require that the judiciary be reconstituted to ensure
that it is independent, non-racial and non-sexist and therefore capable
of enjoying the support and trust of all South Africans.
Provision will have to be made to ensure that the entire system of the
administration of justice is not subject to political manipulation. In
this way it will become possible to guarantee the application of the two
fundamental principles of the rule of, and equality before, the law.
Our perspectives are governed by the ideal expressed in the Freedom
Charter: The people shall govern! We are therefore determined to ensure
that government is as close to the people as possible.
Our constitutional proposals, therefore, include the essential element
that, in addition to effective central government, manifesting the reality
of one South African nation, there should also be strong, meaningful and
representative regional and local government capable of expressing the
will of the people in the conduct of their daily lives.
Attachment to labels, such as "federalism", will not take
the discussion anywhere - least of all if the insertion of such concepts
is aimed at emasculating central government, seeking to maintain the status
quo of a South Africa fragmented into racial and ethnic compartments and
promoting the partisan interests of particular political organisations.
The constructing of a constitutional framework for a united, democratic,
non- racial and non-sexist society should unite all genuine democratic
forces in our country, regardless of other differences that they otherwise
Therefore we believe that it will be one of our central tasks during
this year to enhance the degree of unity and raise the level of united
action of these forces in the pursuit of common goals.
Central to this exercise is the urgent need to build the organisation
of the ANC at every level. We dare not rest on our record of struggle which
has brought our country to this crucial moment. We must take our policies
to the grassroots, organise our people and show the way forward in all
areas of life. This is the only way to ensure that they re-affirm, through
the vote, that the ANC represents their true aspirations.
Every effort has to be made to strengthen the ANC/SACP/COSATU alliance
so that we carry the country to effective democracy. In the Campaign for
Peace and Democracy during 1992, our Alliance reached new heights and demonstrated
its immense capacity to mobilise and organise the people. Alliance structures
at the local and grassroots levels were created. These functioned with
single-minded purpose and provided the critical element which helped remove
blockages in negotiations and ensured forward movement.
The Patriotic Front, made up of both political formations and organisations
of civil society, and representative of the overwhelming majority of the
citizens of our country, is a vital instrument for the achievement of these
What are the tasks of the Patriotic Front during this historic year?
Put simply and directly, they are:
- to ensure the successful conclusion of the negotiations taking place
- to develop common positions with regard to the fundamental constitutional
positions that will be put to the electorate at large and to the Constituent
Assembly. These would include provisions relating to workers', women's
and children's rights as well as the role of civil society and the place
of traditional institutions of government; *to develop common positions
relating to the principal elements of the policies that should be implemented
when the Interim Government of National Unity is established;
- to engage the general public in discussion of these constitutional
and governmental policy positions, so as to develop a national consensus
around the key pillars of the process of transformation;
- to mobilise the nation as a whole to join in the struggle to curb and
end the violence;
- to mobilise the nation as a whole to act together to ensure the existence
of a climate conducive to free political activity in all parts of our country;
- to elaborate and implement a programme of work directed at voter education
and ensuring that the people exercise their hard-won democratic right to
- to win these voters over to support the policies put forward by the
ANC and its allies.
Together, at national, regional and local levels, let us speak with
one voice, explaining honestly what we want for our country and what we
want its future to be. At the same time, let us act as a united force for
peace, tolerance and a new life of freedom and prosperity for all South
These objectives must instruct the conduct of all our members and formations,
prohibiting any activity on our part which leads to violence, political
intolerance and provides excuses for those who wish to delay the process
of democratic transformation.
We appeal to all those of our compatriots who fear the prospect of democratic
change. What they should fear are the consequences of the absence of change.
Any continuation of the past would mean that our country sinks further,
with all its people, into the depths of a general crisis which would benefit
no one and from which it would be impossible to extricate itself in the
foreseeable future. Such a disaster we must avoid at all costs.
Those who entertain the delusion that the process of change can be stopped
or postponed through violence and subversion should abandon this hopeless
Similarly, no one who claims to uphold the true interests of the freedom
of our people, should act in a way that enhances the role of those who
want to plunge our country into race conflict and civil war.
None, including those within the security forces and the white right,
should take it upon themselves to create a situation in which more lives
will be lost and more blood shed, as a result of a vain effort to defend
the ultimately indefensible.
It is clear that, during this year, we shall also see the establishment
of the multi- party Transitional Executive Council, with its substructures
to be followed by an elected Interim Government of National Unity. It is
therefore important that we give attention to the development of governmental
programmes to be implemented during these phases.
These changes will, among other things, bring more people into public
administration, to create more representative and therefore legitimate
structures of government.
The movement away from almost 45 years of exclusive rule and domination
by the National Party, will create the possibility for our country to begin
to address the fundamental question of improving the quality of life of
all citizens. The desperate and worsening situation faced by millions of
our people, of unemployment, landlessness, homelessness, hunger, the diseases
of poverty, of a disastrous educational system, and so on, cannot be allowed
We cannot hold out the false promise that a solution to these problems
can be found overnight. Yet a beginning has to be made, and made soon.
This will entail many things, among them measures aimed at ensuring
sustained economic growth, a more equitable distribution of wealth, and
of income and opportunity especially with regard to the women of our country,
the rationalisation and restructuring of state expenditure, the elimination
of corruption in the public sector and an appeal to the international community
to come to our aid.
Any political arrangements enabling democratic rule will be nullified
if we do not ensure a stable and growing economy. Both the workers of our
country and business have a crucial and decisive role to play in this regard.
It is crucial that the people should not only get the vote, but also
begin to see a new future dawn with regard to jobs, land, food, housing,
health and education. Without this, the people cannot even begin to regain
their dignity as human beings. Without this, we cannot say we have begun
to dismantle the criminal and destructive system of apartheid.
As we progress towards the democratic settlement, more windows to the
world will open for our country and people. We should value and nurture
this development. The critical element with regard to ending South Africa's
isolation will not be statements made by this or the other politician,
but the actual movement forward towards the democratisation of our country.
The world looks to us, who know the true meaning of racism and racial
oppression, to create a political and social order which will make a critical
contribution to the worldwide struggle against racism.
All humanity is ready and willing to assist us achieve this result which
has universal implications. This is an opportunity we dare not allow anyone
to frustrate simply because they refuse to break with the past.
We appeal to the international community and the solidarity movement
with its proud history of anti-apartheid activity to help us ensure that
the ideal of democracy is realised in South Africa. At this decisive moment
their support is more crucial than ever before.
As part of the process of our entry into the world we shall have to
do everything in our power to help ensure that Southern Africa is a region
of democracy, peace, stability, mutually advantageous co-operation and
We support the peace processes in Angola and Mozambique aimed at attaining
democracy, national reconciliation, peace and reconstruction.In both cases,
we have the duty to reciprocate the support the governments and the peoples
of these countries extend and have extended to our own programme of transformation.
We condemn the continued destabilisation interventions of the apartheid
regime in Angola.
We look forward to the termination of the fratricidal wars and conflicts
on the African continent, especially in Somalia, Liberia and Sudan. They
have imposed enormous suffering on the peoples of these countries and unnecessary
burdens on the neighbouring states.
We appeal to the belligerents in these countries to stop the bloodletting,
co- operate with their neighbours and the United Nations, to arrive at
a speedy settlement of these conflicts.
We are encouraged by the initial steps that have been taken to find
a peaceful solution to the problems facing the Palestinian and other peoples
in the Middle East. The recent actions of the Government of Israel are
a major setback to the search for a peaceful solution and have been rightly
condemned by all who seek peace.
We support the initiative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations
to implement the programme of action agreed by the OAU and the UN to resolve
the problem of Western Sahara.
The shameful conflict in the former Yugoslavia must be brought to an
end. In particular, the so-called ethnic cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
and the atrocities that go with it, should no longer be tolerated.
As we change the manner in which South Africa is governed during this
year, our possibilities will increase not only to change our own situation,
but also to make our contribution to the building of a new world order
of democracy, equality, peace and prosperity.
Let us claim our right to make this contribution on the basis that,
within our own national borders, we are creating a society based on the
same principles of democracy, equality, peace and prosperity for all.
We enter 1993 conscious of important landmarks in our people's history.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the passing away of King Dinizulu
ka Cetshwayo, one of the first honorary presidents of the ANC. It is also
the 80th anniversary of the passing of the infamous Land Act of 1913 which
sealed the dispossession of the African people. We recall with pride the
heroic 1913 mass resistance of women against the imposition of passes.
This is the centenary year of the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi, that symbol
of resistance to white domination and colonialism. It also marks the 10th
anniversary of the formation of the United Democratic Front which epitomised
the unity in struggle of the democratic forces.
We salute all those who paid the supreme sacrifice to help bring our
country to this decisive moment.
Let us grasp the opportunity and respond to the challenge of this year
with the spirit and steadfastness that has always been the hallmark of
Let us make 1993 the year during which our country effectively enters
the transition to democratic rule: