South Africa’s first Black president and anti-apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela, was born on this day in 1918. Nelson Mandela Day celebrates the life and values of a global icon, a man who spent his life championing the cause of personal liberty, preaching equality, and advocating the power we have in our shared humanity.
Today, his name is synonymous with the anti-apartheid struggle and invariably evokes memories of one man’s fight to positively change his immediate society and the world at large.
Even though the world has had some great men and women, very few have had as much of an impact on history as Mandela has. Fondly remembered as an international symbol of freedom, peace and equality even after death, Mandela continues to influence the world with his great and timeless words of wisdom.
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To commemorate his birthday, Face2Face Africa shares with you a fiery farewell speech he delivered on December 16, 1997, accusing some apartheid leaders of trying to sabotage the ANC-led government when he was leaving office as leader of the party.
Read it below:
The first three years have provided us with a multi-faceted domestic and international experience which also lays the basis of the agenda for the period ahead of us, both for the ANC and the rest of the progressive movement of our country.
The purpose of this Political Report is to reflect on these matters. Hopefully, it will also assist Conference as it formulates both our policy positions and the programme of action that will guide our activities in the period up to our next Conference at the end of the 20th Century.
What are these matters?
The Principal Issues
The first of these is that – the principal result of our revolution, the displacement of the apartheid political order by a democratic system, has become an established fact of South African society.
Secondly – the majority of our people have chosen the national liberation movement, led by the ANC, as the political force that should lead our country as it goes through its post-apartheid process of reconstruction and development.
Thirdly – the challenges of creating a people-centred society, of living up to the vision contained in the Freedom Charter, requires that all elements of South African society be subjected to genuine reconstruction and development.
Fourth – that process of reconstruction and development will also have to encompass the spiritual life of the nation, bearing on the moral renewal of individuals and institutions, as well as the ideas and practice of a new patriotism.
Fifth – the success of our process of reconstruction and development will, to a good extent, depend on the peoples of our region of Southern Africa and Africa as a whole themselves achieving the same goals that we pursue, of democracy, peace, prosperity and social progress, within the context of an African Renaissance.
Sixth – we have to succeed in our objectives in the context of an accelerated process of globalisation which is leading to a greater integration of the nations of the world, the limitation of the sovereignty of states and the enhancement of the disparities between the rich and the poor.
Seventh – we have to construct our system of international relations in a manner consistent with our domestic programme of reconstruction and development and our vision of a world of democracy, peace, prosperity and social progress for all.
Eighth – the objective of reconstruction and development cannot be achieved unless the ANC and the rest of the progressive movement of ourcountry are strong and united around the realisation of clear policy objectives which actually result in reconstruction and development.
This Political Report will therefore focus on these matters as they have impacted on South African life in the last three years.
Stabilisation of democracy
Our democratic system is now three-and-half years old. Nothing has happened since our last Conference which threatened its survival.
In other words, there has been no open and serious counter-revolutionary offensive which sought to reverse this historic victory of our national liberation struggle.
Neither have any serious mistakes been made by the democratic movement itself, which would create the conditions for the rejection of the new order by the masses of our people.
Further, there has been no breakdown in the system of governance. Whatever the limitations and occasional mistakes, if any, we have ensured that all organs of state, including the national, provincial and local legislatures and executives, as well as the judicial system, continue to function.
Similarly, we have succeeded to maintain the unity and territorial integrity of the country, having guarded against any serious tendency towards balkanisation, such as would be reflected by an intense conflict around the question of provincial boundaries.
Since the first democratic elections of 1994, free and fair local government elections were held in 1995 and 1996, which produced local legislative and executive organs of government which were accepted as legitimate by the masses of the people.
Since then, a significant number of local by-elections have been held, again in a manner consistent with our goal of ensuring an open and legitimate democratic process.
Last year, the national legislature, acting as a representative Constituent Assembly, and after interacting with millions of our citizens, adopted a Constitution which replace the 1993 Interim Constitution, which had been drafted and legislated into force by structures which had not been elected by the people as a whole.
During these last three years, the Constitutional Court and other echelons of the judiciary have also acted to discharge their responsibility as the guardian of the constitutional order, annulling decisions of both the legislature and the executive where these were in conflict with the Constitution.
In all instances, these authorities of state have respected the decisions of the courts, or relied on the courts for redress, thus contributing to the entrenchment of our democratic system.
We can also say the same thing about other independent organs of state, such as the Public Protector, the Auditor General and the Human Rights Commission.
These important successes do not, however, mean that the obligation to defend, advance and deepen democracy has disappeared and that anti-democratic forces of counter-revolution no longer exist in our society.
Indeed, one of the reasons why we have not seen these forces raise their ugly head more forcefully, has been the fact that our programme of reconstruction and development is at its early stages.
Consequently, because we have just begun, the process of fundamental social transformation has not yet impacted seriously on the apartheid paradigm which affects all aspects of our lives.
This process has therefore not yet tested the strength of the counter-offensive which would seek to maintain the privileges of the white minority.
However, the desire to maintain these privileges has been demonstrated consistently during the period since our last Conference.
This is exemplified, for instance, by the determined effort to define the process of national reconciliation, which our movement has sought to encourage in the national interest, in a manner that would result in the protection of the positions of those who were privileged by the apartheid system.
Accordingly, during the last three years, the opponents of fundamental change have sought to separate the goal of national reconciliation from the critical objective of social transformation.
In many instances, they have sought to set these one against the other, with a view to the elevation of the first of these aims to a position of hegemony, with national reconciliation defined as being characterised by such measures as would compensate the white minority for the loss of its monopoly of political power by guaranteeing its privileged positions in the socio-economic sphere.
In the detail, we have seen this reflected in the assertion that our programme of affirmative action to address the racial disparities we inherited from the apartheid system, is permissible and can be pursued, provided that it is carried out within such bounds as would be acceptable to those who occupy positions of privilege.
Thus, whenever we have sought real progress through affirmative action, the spokespersons of the advantaged have not hesitated to try foul, citing all manner of evil – such as racism, violation of the constitution, nepotism, dictatorship, inducing a brain drain and frightening the foreign investor.
When he had to dealt with this very same question of racial equality, the then President of the United States, Lyndon Johnson, had this to say:
“We seek not just freedom but opportunity – not just legal equity but human ability – not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result.”
In truth, the debate on these issues in our own country has not reached the level of honesty and sophistication achieved in the United States more than three decades ago, when, at Howard University in June 1965, President Johnson uttered the words we have just cited, motivated by the adoption in this own country of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Further, even a cursory study of the positions adopted by the mainly white parties is the national legislature during the last three years, the National Party, the Democratic Party and the Freedom Front will show that they and the media which represents the same social base, have been most vigorous in their opposition, whenever legislative and executive measures have been introduced, seeking the end the racial disparities which continue to characterise our society.
Equally, we have experienced serious resistance to the transformation of the public service, with representatives of the old order using all means in their power to ensure that they remain in dominant positions.
Some among these owe no loyalty to the new constitutional and political order nor to the government of the day, and have no intention to implement our government’s programmes aimed at reconstruction and development.
At the same time, the former ruling establishment has refused to co-operate with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, especially with regard to telling the truth about the National Security Management System it had established as a comprehensive and last ditch mechanism to protect the criminal apartheid system, including the informers, agents and operatives who were such an important part of this system.
The reason for this is that the defenders of apartheid privilege continue to sustain a conviction that an opportunity will emerge in future, when they can activate this counter-insurgency machinery, to impose an agenda on South African society which would limit the possibilities of the democratic order to such an extent that it would not be able to create a society of equality, that would be rid of the legacy of apartheid.
During the period under review, the counter-revolution has also sought to regroup to create the possibility for itself to act decisively to compromise the democratic system at whatever moment it considered opportune.
Accordingly, various elements of the former ruling group have been working to establish a network which would launch or intensify a campaign of destabilisation, some of whose features would be:
the weakening of the ANC and its allies; the use of crime to render the country ungovernable; the subversion of the economy; and the erosion of the confidence of both our people and the rest of the world in our capacity both to govern and to achieve our goals of reconstruction and development.
This counter-revolutionary network, which is already active and bases itself on those in the public administration and others in other sectors of our society who have not accepted the reality of majority rule, is capable of carrying out very disruptive actions. It measures its own success by the extent to which it manages to weaken the democratic order.
Consistent with the objectives we have just mentioned, it has engaged in practical activities since our last Conference which include:
the encouragement and commission of crime; the weakening and incapacitation of the state machinery, including the theft of public assets, arms and ammunition being among these; the hiding of sensitive and important information from legal organs of state; and the building of alternative structures, including intelligence machineries as well as armed formations.
Evidence also exists that elements of this counter-revolutionary conspiracy have established or are maintaining a variety of international contacts.
Some of these are neo-fascist groupings. Others are old contracts established during the years of the international isolation of apartheid South Africa.
And yet others belong among establishment forces which, for one reason or another, are afraid of and are opposed to the fundamental transformation of our society.
Despite all this, it would be correct to say that the overwhelming majority of both our own people and the peoples of the world remain committed to the defence of the democratic system in our country and would be ready to act in pursuit of this goal whenever the need arose for them to express that commitment in action.
Our experience of democracy over the last three years also points to the fact that we still have to address adequately a number of problems that are relevant to the very character of this democracy.
One of these is the translation into practice of the concept expressed in the Freedom Charter in the words – “The People shall Govern” – and more recently, in the concept of a people-driven process of change.
The difficulty around this issue has sometimes been explained as the contradiction between representative democracy and participatory democracy.
Where the people have freely elected representatives to govern and have the right and possibility to change such representatives, what need is there for these elected representatives to seek a popular mandate for every decision they have to make!
But if they do not seek such mandates, how do we avoid the development of an elite, alienated from the people, that, during its five years in office, will implement policies which, in reality, do not represent the will of the people!
In our circumstances, this is related to the two questions of the possibility of representatives elected on a party list system to represent distinct geographic constituencies and the issue of the possibility of such representatives to abandon their parties and “cross the floor” or form their own parties.
All these are matters that require further discussion to which this Conference must attend, informed by the twin realities of our commitment to the deepening of democracy, predicated on the empowerment of the citizen to impact on governance, and our sensitivity to the realities of our situation, which calls for dynamic stability interacting with the imperative for change.
At another level, we have to consider these matters in the context of the impact of the continuing technological revolution on communication and information, which results in the enhancement of the ability of the citizens and non-governmental organisations to intervene in the process of governance on an informed basis, independent of information provided and opinions propagated by political parties and state institutions.
As a movement, we would not consider this development as a threat to either the professional politician or the public service manager. Rather, it enhances the possibility for the realisation of the demand that “the people shall govern”.
Nevertheless, the force of inertia would suggest that the most likely response of both the politician and the public servant would be to defend their positions as the mediators, the prism through which the interpretation of reality and the posing of policy options to the citizen, must necessarily traverse.
Put crudely, precisely at the point when the process of social development confers “sovereign” powers of decision-making to the citizen, and because of this, the politician and the public servant will or may be driven to argue that “the man in the street” is incapable of governing himself without the intervention of the professionals.
Obviously, the matter we are raising is relevant not only to ourselves, but is a vexed question which impacts on the functioning of all democracies throughout the world.
Returning to our own reality we must make the point that our experience of the last three years points to the importance of non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), community-based organisations (CBO’s) and grassroots-based political formations in ensuring popular participation in governance.
The effective and admirable way in which many of these structures have functioned has served to emphasise the point that, in many instances, the public service, however efficient it may be, may not be the best instrument to mobilise for popular involvement and participation.
However, we must also draw attention to the fact that many of our non-governmental organisations are not in fact NGO’s, both because they have no popular base and the actuality that they rely on the domestic and foreign governments, rather than the people, for their material sustenance.
As we continue the struggle to ensure a people-driven process of social transformation, we will have to consider the reliability of such NGO’s as a vehicle to achieve this objective.
The success achieved by many CBO’s based on the contribution of “sweat equity” by very poor communities, points to the need for us seriously to consider the matter of the nature of the so-called organs of civil society.
Another matter relevant to the aim of entrenching and deepening democracy is the unresolved question of the role of the traditional leaders, especially in the context of the establishment of a democratic system of local government and the impact of traditional African societies on the formation of the new South Africa.
The departure of the National Party from the Government of National Unity in 1996 also brought to the fore the contradiction that derives from the need for the various political formations in our country to act together to promote a national consensus in the context of, and as opposed, to the felt imperative of especially the minority parties to act on their own account, in order to maintain their individual identity in the eyes of the electorate.
Institutionally, this found expression in the concept of a “government of national unity” reflected in the composition of the executives and the leadership of the legislative structures at all three levels of government.
The reality of the last three years is that the white parties have essentially decided against the pursuit of a national agenda. Rather, they have chosen to propagate a reactionary, dangerous and opportunist position which argues that:
a normal and stable democracy has been achieved; the apartheid system is a thing of the past; their legitimate responsibility is to oppose us as the majority party, this to present themselves as elements of a shadow government which has no responsibility both for our past and our presents; and consequently, that they have a democratic obligation merely to discredit the ruling party, so that they may gain power after the next elections.
The delegates will readily recognise the fallacy of these arguments. They will draw on their own practical experiences, which will have demonstrated to all of us how much this approach, driven by partisan interests, undermines the effort to consolidate a stable non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous democracy in our country.
As we have said, the issue of how to address commonly defined national objectives in a united manner, while protecting the identities and public appeal of the separate political parties and formations, remains a matter which only the future will be able to resolve.
We have failed to achieve this result during the last three years.
The answer to this and other undecided questions must form part of the policies we elaborate at this Conference, to ensure that the important victory of the liberation movement to establish a democratic order, serves as a basis for the defence and advancement of our revolutionary gains.
We would also like to report that during the last three years, we allocated a particular responsibility to the Presidency, and therefore the necessary capacity, to ensure that the entirety of our Government focuses of the questions of the emancipation of women, youth development, the rights of the child and the empowerment and development of the disabled.
We took this decision because we are convinced that forward movement in these areas is central to the very nature of our democracy and is not a mere matter of partisan political programmes.
It has been a fundamental feature of our policy for many years that ours could not be a genuine democracy unless the complete emancipation of women was an inherent part of any process of democratisation.
It is critical that this commitment should find expression in actual programmes that address the gender question in a way which enables us to measure progress actually achieved.
We are therefore pleased that, in the last three years, we have succeeded to establish the Commission for Gender Equality and the Office on the Status of Women in the Presidency, as well as adopt as Government, the Beijing Platform of Action dedicated to the goal of the emancipation of women.
Similarly responding to the other matters we have mentioned as being fundamental to the very nature of our democracy, we have:
established the National Youth Commission within the Presidency, which has now elaborated a national Programme for Youth Development; established an Office on the Status of the Disabled, again within the Presidency, and adopted the first ever White Paper spelling out an integrated policy for the upliftment of the disabled; and, ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and constituted a permanent Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Rights of the Child, headed by the Presidency.
These matters will continue to receive the focused attention of the Government as part of the defining feature of the people-centred democracy we are committed to create.
We will return to some of the issues raised in this Section under other Sections of this Political Report.
ANC in Government
We now turn to the second major subject of this Report, viz the fact that the people have chosen our movement as the government of South Africa.
As the Conference is aware, the confidence our people have in the ANC, demonstrated throughout our years of struggle and the 1994 elections, was confirmed in the local government elections held in 1995 and 1996.
It would also be true to say that our own direct contact wit the masses of the people throughout the country, during the last three years, has continued to indicate that this popular confidence has not been dented.
It is however also true that we are still faced wit the challenge of increasing our support among all three national minorities.
It is clear that the majority within these national minorities continue to believe that the ANC represents the interests of the African majority and that their own perceived interests stand opposed to those of the African majority.
This is a direct hangover from the apartheid years during which the policies of the racist ruling group discriminated against this majority, in favour of the national minorities, especially the whites.
It is as a result of this racist practice that the view has emerged that where apartheid benefited the national minorities, a non-racial democracy would disadvantage them.
Such imagined disadvantage would range from economic and employment opportunities to language and cultural rights.
The Conference is aware that the National Party, in particular, has continued to exploit this apartheid legacy to present itself as the political representative of the national minorities.
In this regard and characteristically, it raises the spectre of a “swart gevaar” to frighten these sections of our population to its ranks unashamedly using the apartheid years of racist policies as justification for the argument that the national minorities should entrust their future to the party of apartheid.
As we can expect, among the Coloureds an Indians, the view that the non-racial democracy constitutes as threat would be most prevalent among the working class and the lower middle class, who would be the first to feel the pressure of African competition in the context of a deracialised labour market.
It is among these sectors of the population that we find the greatest fear of the impact of our policy of affirmative action.
This has required especially of the principal political forces that we agree on a common, multi-party agenda of transformation that these forces would advance and defend, in the interests of the medium and long term future of our democratic, united, non-racial and non-sexist country.
Accordingly, each on of these forces would, as part of this agreement, promote this agenda even when its particular constituency felt that such an agenda did not serve its immediate interests.
Clearly, the promotion of the concept of united national action, designed to bring together all political parties so that we can ensure the greatest unity around the fundamental issues facing our society, must therefore, also take into account the desire of three parties not to seen as lackeys of the ANC.
During these past three years, it has been a basic tenet of our approach that despite our people’s achievement in stabilising the democratic settlement, we are still involved in a delicate process of nursing the new-born baby into a state of adulthood.
It is therefore clear that we continue to be faced with the major challenge to sustain our political work among the national minorities focusing on the two issues of:
educating them both about our policies and the country’s constitutional framework, which requires of government that it pursues non-discriminatory policies and provides for the protection and promotion of language, cultural and religious rights; and; urging them to be active participants in, and not passive objects of the process of determining the future of our country, including the “resolution” of the national question.
It has also become clear during the past three years that elements among the former ruling group, especially among the Afrikaners, suffers from a sense of disempowerment and marginalisation from the centres of political power.
Put in other words, these elements find it difficult to redefine their role in the setting of a non-racial democracy. They continue to be imprisoned by notions of white supremacy and of supposed Afrikaner interests that are separate and opposed to the interest of the rest of the population.
To advance their interests, they use every opportunity to present their “disempowerment and marginalisation” as being the disempowerment and marginalisation of the Afrikaner population as a whole.
Thus they seek to mobilise especially the Afrikaner population against the non-racial democracy, to force the democratic order to introduce a system of government net based on majority, rule, but on an entrenched process of co-determination with those who would, in one way or another, be selected as the political representatives of the Afrikaners.
What this points to is the need for us to increase our political work among the whites in general and the Afrikaner population in particular. This work should draw in all sectors of our broad movement, including the progressive trade union movement.
It is generally true that in the last three years, inadvertently and unconsciously, we have tended to surrender these sections of our people to the white political parties, on the basis that it was unlikely that we could persuade them to join our electoral support base.
Once again, we must emphasise the point that one of the national responsibilities of our movement is to mobilise all sectors of our population actively to participate in the process of determining the future of our country, without necessarily expecting that they should become active supporters of the ANC.
Efforts have also been made during the last three years to use the traditional leaders against our movement, especially in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
All this emphasises the need for us to agree on a clear and consistent policy with regard to the institution of traditional leadership and to popularise this policy among the population in general.
Our work in this regard will be greatly assisted by the positions agreed at our Policy Conference held at the beginning of last month.
We must also make the point that our work in this area has not been assisted by the positions and activities of some sections within the broad democratic movement which, in reality, have sought the destruction of the institution of traditional leadership, on the basis that this institution was incompatible with a democratic political system.
These historical positions, detached from reality and contemptuous of the views of our rural masses, have nothing to do with the defence and advancement of the democratic revolution. They constitute an infantile radicalism of which the broad democratic movement must rid itself.
They help to create the possibility for the forces of reaction in the countryside to undermine the confidence of the rural masses in our movement.
In its turn, this enhances the ability of reaction to encourage the consolidation of conditions conducive to the expansion of its own influence, for purposes opposed to such genuine transformation of our country as would serve the interests of these rural masses, among others.
We must bear this in mind that it is precisely these masses who demonstrated the greatest loyalty to our movement in the national, provincial and local government elections.
We must also refer to sections on the non-governmental sector which seek to assert that the distinguishing feature of a genuine organisation of civil society is to be a critical “watchdog” over our movement, both inside and outside of government.
Pretending to represent an independent and popular view, supposedly obviously legitimised by the fact that they are described as non-governmental organisations, these NGO’s also work to corrode the influence of the movement.
Strangely, some of the argument for this so-called “watchdog” role was advanced from within the ranks of the broad democratic movement, at the time when we all arrived at the decision that with the unbanning of the ANC and other democratic organisations, it was necessary to close down the UDF.
Thus we ended up with the situation in which certain elements, which were assumed to be part of our movement, set themselves up as critics of the same movement, precisely at the moment when we would have to confront the challenge of the fundamental transformation of our country and therefore, necessarily, the determined opposition of the forces of reaction.
They lack the issue-driven mass base that is the defining feature of any real NGO and are therefore unable to raise funds from the people themselves.
This has also created the possibility for some of these NGO’s to act as instruments of foreign governments and institutions that fund them to promote the interests of these external forces.
For example, a “Review of the U.S.Aid Program in South Africa” dated November 5, 1996 and prepared by two members of the staff of the US House of Representatives, Lester Munson and Phillip Christenson, has this to say on this matter:
“AID’s program is not so much support for the Mandela government as support for AID’s undisclosed political activities within the South African domestic political arena involving the most difficult, controversial issues in South Africa. By funding advocacy groups to monitor and lobby for changes in government policies and even setting up trust funds to pay for legal challenges in court against the new government’s action or inaction, AID is in some respects making President Mandela’s task more difficult.”
Later the Review states:
“Two-thirds of AID’s funding…. is used to fund AID-dependent NGO’s… The Old “struggle NGO’s” have been redesigned by AID as “civil service organisations” (or “CSOs”). AID now funds CSOs to “monitor public policy, provide public information, and advocate policy alternatives” and to serve as “sentinels, brokers and arbiters for the public will. “The purpose of AID funding is to enable these CSOs to “function as effective policy advocacy groups” and “to lobby”… Through its NGOs, AID intends to play a key role in domestic policy concerning the most difficult, controversial issues of national politics. AID’s political agenda is ambitious and extensive.”
Earlier in this Report we referred to issue of the effort at the time of the dissolution of the UDF to set up an NGO “movement” separate from an critical of the ANC.
At the time, the newspaper “Business Day” cited the spokespersons of this effort as explaining the “actions (this movement) might take” in the following terms:
“Firstly, it would ensure that isolated communities would have a channel to voice their grievances. Secondly, it would allow bodies which might normally support the party in power but which disagreed with government on a particular issue a voice unconstrained by political affiliation.”
And more directly, these spokespersons are quoted as saying:
“It would be very wrong and a mistake for the ANC to try to co-opt organisations involved in the UDF. Life must exist, plants must grow outside the ANC.
It is presumably some of these plants that were and perhaps are still being funded by some from outside our country to promote their own political agenda within our country.
The drive to ensure the involvement of civil society and its organisations in the process of governance is an important pillar of our work to translate into reality the concept that “the people shall govern.”
However, the past three years have taught us the lesson that there are NGO’s and NGO’s. As a movement, we have to learn to make this distinction, we have to learn to make this distinction, recognise the great relevance and importance of the Community-based Organisations (CBO’s) and defeat the pressure blindly to accept a Liberal determination of which organisation is an NGO and what role such NGO’s should play.
Similarly, we have to confront the fact that during the last three years, the matter has become perfectly clear that the bulk of the mass media in our country has set itself up as force opposed to the ANC.
In a manner akin to what the National Party is doing in its sphere, this media exploits the dominant positions it achieved as a result of the apartheid system, to campaign against both real change and the real agents of change, as represented by our movement, led by the ANC.
In this context, it also takes advantage of the fact that, thanks to decades of repression and prohibition of a mass media genuinely representative of the voice of the majority of the people of South Africa, this majority has no choice but to rely for information and communication on a media representing the privileged minority.
To protect its own privileged positions, which are a continuation of the apartheid legacy, it does not hesitate to denounce all efforts to ensure its own transformation, consistent with the objectives of a non-racial democracy, as an attack on press freedom.
When it speaks against us, this represents freedom of thought, speech and the press – which the world must applaud!
When we exercise our own right to freedom of thought and speech to criticise it for its failings, this represents an attempt to suppress the freedom of the press -for which the world must punish us!
Thus the media uses the democratic order, brought about by the enormous sacrifices of our own people, as an instrument to protect the legacy of racism, graphically described by its own patterns of ownership, editorial control, value system and advertiser influence.
At the same time, and in many respects, it has shown a stubborn refusal to discharge its responsibility to inform the public.
Consistent with the political posture it has assumed, it has been most vigorous in disseminating such information as it believes serves to discredit and weaken our movement. By this means, despite its professions of support for democracy, it limits the possibility to expand the frontiers of democracy, which would derive from the empowerment of the citizen to participate meaningfully in the process of governance through times access to reliable information.
I know that these comments will be received with a tirade of denunciation, with claims that what we are calling for is a media that acts as a “lapdog” rather than a “watchdog”.
We must reiterate the positions of our movement that we ask for no favours from the media and we expect none. We make no apology for making the demand that the media has a responsibility to society to inform.
Neither do we doubt the correctness of our assessment of the role the media has played in the last three years. All of us know too much about what happens in the newsrooms.
In any case, we have to confront the product of the posture of the media daily. This daily product, reflected in all the media of communication, stands out too stark in its substance to allow us to doubt the conclusions of our analysis.
Conference will have to consider what measures we have to take. In addition to what we are doing already, to improve our communication with our population at large.
In part, this must address the objective of enabling the still disadvantaged millions of our people, who are being deliberately disadvantaged even in the area of access to information, to know what is really happening in and to their country and their future.
Again, this would enable these masses, who sacrificed everything for democracy, including the freedom of the press, to take informed decisions about what they have to do to influence the process of the reconstruction of their own country, including the critical objective of its deracialisation.
Later in this Report, we will discuss the intrusion of this self-same media within our ranks, during the last three years to encourage our own self-destruction, with the active involvement of some who are present here as bona fide delegates to the Conference of a movement to which they owe no loyalty.
At the same time as we consider these matters, we must also reaffirm our commitment to the freedom of the press and demonstrate this in all our practical activities.
We must now, come to the role of the opposition parties in their effort to challenge and undermine our role as the political force chosen by the people to lead our country, as it goes through its post-apartheid process of reconstruction and developments.
These parties see themselves as playing an opposition role to the ruling party in a multi-party democracy.
Our movement, which led the struggle for the defeat of the apartheid regime and the establishment of the new constitutional and political order, respects and defends the right of these parties to play this legal opposition role without let or hindrance.
Equally, we assert our own right to engage these parties in peaceful, political and legal combat in defence of our policies and programmes, also without let or hindrance.
Throughout its years as the ruling party, and before, the National Party consistently pursued the strategic goal of the destruction of our movement and organisation.
When it had the power so to act, it banned our organisation, murdered, tortured, imprisoned and exiled our members and supporters, demonised our movement and allowed itself to limit in the pursuit of the objective of our total destruction.
Some of the truth about all this is now being told through the processes in which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is engaged.
This includes the callous exploitation of the religious sensibilities of many who served in the apartheid security forces, to convince them to view and therefore deal with us as the anti-Christ.
Our experience over the last three years confirms that the National Party has not abandoned its strategic objective of the total destruction of our organisation and movement. The leopard has not changed its spots.
Its only problem is that it lacks the power it once had, to pursue this aim. Accordingly, it is involved in a desperate search to find the ways and means to destroy its historic enemy, to enable it to discharge its responsibility of defending white privilege.
All we need to do to understand the correctness of this thesis, is to study the positions the National Party has adopted inside and outside parliament, during the last three years, with regard both to our policy positions and to our movement itself.
Again, as we have already indicated, with regard to the first of these, this Party has put up the most determined opposition to all the legislative and White Paper initiatives we have taken to effect the non-racial transformation of our country.
This has included reliance on instruments of last resort, such as the obstruction of the passage of transformative legislation by appealing to the Constitutional Court. The withdrawal of the National Party from the Government of National Unity in 1996 constituted its own statement that it could not coexist, within the same government, with a political formation towards which it harboured feelings of implacable enmity.
The story it told of its inability to influence government policy was entirely fictional.
As a result, the more honest among its members, who occupied executive positions and were driven by the desire to protect the interests of both the Afrikaners and the rest of the population, did not support the decision to pull out of the GNU.
Forgetting its earlier assertion that within the GNU it was powerless, the National Party nevertheless presented a contrary argument towards the end of this year with regard to one of the Education Bills. In this instance, it argued that it wanted this Bill to be phrased in a form consistent with what it had negotiated while it served within the GNU.
But so strong was its antipathy towards our movement that, in pulling out of the GNU, it was ready to sacrifice its most far-sighted and open-minded members and leaders, to reinforce the tendency towards the consolidation of the National Party around the most reactionary positions it could take within our non-racial democracy.
Its determination to abide by its old strategic position is also reflected in the manner in which it has treated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
We refer here not only to the refusal of its leaders to take responsibility for their share in the commission of gross human rights violations. We draw attention to its absolute refusal to disclose the counter-insurgency machinery of repression it had put in place in its effort to protect the apartheid system, the National Security Management System.
We have made presentations to the TRC to indicate that this machinery was never dismantled, and therefore remains available to this day to those in our country who were part of the apartheid security forces and are still interested in engaging in anti-democratic activity.
The question has not been answered as to why the National Party has gone to the lengths it has to ensure that the truth is not known about the System and those who were integrated within it. Over the last three years, the National Party has continued to wage a struggle to hold on to its support among the white population in the first place, but also among the Coloureds and Indians.
To ensure that it insulates these sections of our population from our influence, it has continued to rely on its traditional resort to the use of fear. As before, it has continued to frighten the national minorities against the ANC by threatening them with both a “swart gevaar” (black danger) and a “rooi gevaar” (red danger).
The use of the instruments of fear is most prominent in the political positions taken by its leaders in the Western Cape. Daily, this leadership propagates the entirely false notion that our policies are aimed at promoting the interests of the Africans against those of both the whites and the Coloureds.
Accordingly, they argue, the national government is actually denying the provincial government its legitimate share of national revenues, deliberately to worsen the standard of living of both the Colours and the whites.
With its recent decision to exclude the ANC from the Western Cape provincial government, the National Party has taken its deeply held positions to their logical conclusion. Naturally, as a representative of the same white interests which the National Party represents, the Democratic Party has elected to join forces with the NP in the Western Cape.
This occurs precisely at the moment when it is striving at the national level, in the after-math of its municipal by-election victories against the NP, dishonestly to present itself as an opponent of the very same National Party with which it is entering into coalition in the Western Cape.
As the country knows, the Democratic Party has sought to present itself as the most effective parliamentary opposition to the ANC.
Knowing that it has no possibility to attract the masses of the disadvantaged of our country, the Democratic Party, which has no policy differences with the NP, has sought to position itself as an implacable enemy of the ANC, and on this basis, to try to convince the supporters of the National Party to switch their allegiance to itself. It therefore has no choice but itself to adopt reactionary positions aimed at protecting the privileges of the constituency it is struggling to secure for itself.
Accordingly, the NP and the DP are engaged in a desperate struggle to out-compete each other in a race which they believe will be won by whoever convinces the white minority that they are the most reliable and best defenders of white privilege.
Where this competition becomes counter-productive to the fundamental objectives of these two parties of white privilege, they show no hesitation to combine efforts as they are about the do as the government of the Western Cape.
Similarly, and not surprisingly, they both believe that their fortunes lie not so much in policies they can propagate, but in their success in projecting themselves as tireless fighters for the defeat of the ANC.
We say not surprisingly, because, in reality over the last three years, neither of these parties has produced any credible policies with which they can challenge the vision for the renewal of our country contained in our Reconstruction and Development Programme.
Indeed, we must expect that even in the forthcoming campaign for the 1999 elections, these parties will base their offensive not on any policy alternatives but on vilification of the ANC.
For its part, the Freedom Front has remained imprisoned in its narrow nationalist pursuit of so-called “Afrikaner self-determination”.
However, the Freedom Front has also recognised the fact that it can only advance its cause by reaching agreement with the ANC.
Because the correct solution of the national question in our country remains at the centre of the mission of our movement, we have continued and will maintain our dialogue with the Freedom Front to address the legitimate cultural, language and other concerns of those among the Afrikaner people who have these concerns.
The latest political grouping to join the miserable platoon of opponents of our movement is the United Democratic Movement of Bantu Holomisa and Roelf Meyer, former bed-fellows as functionaries of the apartheid system and its security forces.
Once more, this grouping predicates its success not on any challenge to our policies. It hopes and prays for significant dissatisfaction among our supporters, occasioned by any failure on our part to implement these policies.
More vigorously than the Democratic Party, it also seeks to convince some supporters of the National Party that the UDM offers a more credible non-racial political home than the NP.
Inevitably, it will draw into its ranks some of the most backward and corrupt elements in our society which have no interest whatsoever in promoting the interests of the people. Thus, the presence of leaders of criminal gangs at its founding conference was no accident.
We must also expect that some from this group will seek to promote its interests by resort to criminal violence against the people, especially members and supporters of the ANC and the rest of the democratic movement.
At the same time, efforts will be made to infiltrate agents of the UDM into the structures of our movement to try to destroy us from within and to gather information which will be used to try to discredit the movement.
Furthermore, elements of the Third Force will not hesitate to link up with members of the UDM to further a common counter-revolutionary agenda.
Ultimately, the objectives of the United Democratic Movement and the National Party, in particular, converge around the one objective critical to both – the destruction of the ANC. As it happens, the leaders of both groups owe their political origins to a common apartheid home.
It is inevitable that, in the course, they will coalesce into one formation.
We serve in the national and KwaZulu-Natal governments with the Inkatha Freedom Party. These governments are working well without any serious tensions, regardless of the differences that exist between us and the IFP, on various questions.
Further, our two organisations are involved in a joint effort to consolidate peace in the country and to encourage a culture of tolerance and non-violent political competition among our respective members and supporters.
More fundamentally, our two organisations have a responsibility to co-operate to ensure the achievement of the objectives contained in the Reconstruction and Development Programme, which they have jointly striven to attain over the last three years, as the government of our country.
We also need to recall that many members of the IFP grew up in the ANC and many of the people the IFP leads were educated in the politics of the African National Congress. Furthermore we share the same constituency, especially the rural and urban poor.
All this argues for the need for both the ANC and the IFP not to allow whatever issues they disagree about, to stand in the way of their Cupertino to achieve the genuine emancipation of all our people.
The challenge continues to confront both AZAPO and the PAC to abandon the illusion that, as organisations, they can be significant factors in the continuing struggle for the genuine liberation of the people.
The decision finally to play a constructive role in this struggle rests which the members of these organisations.
The prophets of doom have re-emerged in our country. In 1994, these predicted that the transition to democracy would be attended by a lot of bloodshed.
Disappointed in their expectations by what actually happened, they nevertheless never abandoned their resolve to spread despair. The pivot of their offensive is that the history of Africa is a history of failure and disaster.
Accordingly, they adhere to the openly racist position that a South Africa led by the African National Congress and no longer under white minority rule, will, inevitably sink into failure and disaster.
And so they go about their business to high-light and elevate anything that is negative. Neither do they hesitate to tell lies or to invent stories so long as this advances their purposes.
They also work in a determined manner to ensure that the truth is never told about the important advances that have been and are being made to improve the standard of living and the quality of life of all South Africans.
Their task is to spread messages about an impending economic collapse, escalating corruption in the public service, rampant and uncontrollable crime, a massive loss of skills through white emigration and mass demoralisation among the people either because they are white and therefore threatened by the ANC and its policies which favour black people, or because they are black and consequently forgotten because the ANC is too busy protecting white privilege.
A massive propaganda campaign has been conducted on the issue of crime, in many instances without any regard and respect for the truth. We will ourselves discuss this matter because of our own serious concern radically to bring down the levels of crime. However, what is necessary is that anybody genuinely committed to this goal should make an objective study of this problem and avoid the serious distortions which result from this exploitation of this issue for partisan political purposes.
Such a study for example will show that for Johannesburg murder, attempted murder and culpable homicide taken together, have been declining steadily since 1994. Facts and figures actually disprove the notion that there has been a rapid escalation of these crimes and confirm that we inherited the high levels of these crimes from the apartheid system.
This study would also show that these crimes occur in the black and the white lower income-group areas. Murder in the wealthier and therefore white areas of Johannesburg accounts for around 10 per cent of the total for the city as a whole.
Accordingly and first and foremost, the murder and related figures reflect the desperate socio-economic condition of the communities with a high incidence of these crimes which can only be brought down significantly as these conditions of life of the people in these areas improve in a meaningful and sustained manner.
Calls for the restoration of the death penalty are, in reality, calls to hang those who are black and poor and who, in the main, commit murder among themselves. Those who make this demand seek to deny the fact that it is the dehumanising poverty imposed on the people by the apartheid system which generates this crime.
This study will also show that the murders which occur in the relatively prosperous white areas, as well as instances of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, have virtually no connection with robbery and theft in all their forms, including car highjacking, where these occur in these white areas.
Again, the propaganda put out of a rapid escalation of murders in these areas as a result of the escalation of the crime of robbery is not borne out by the facts. The image projected that merely to walk in the streets in these white areas is to invite death and that this has been the case since 1994, is entirely false.
We can also make similar observations about these matters as they affect the Cape Town Metropole.
More recently, we have also been subjected to a tremendous barrage of propaganda and threats of vigilance action occasioned by the murder of white farmers. Again, the truth about this matter is studiously and systematically suppressed for political reasons.
In the period January 1 to November 24 this year, 51 crimes occurred on the Free State farms. During the commission of these crimes, 14 murders occurred, with only 3 known instances in which the motive was murder. Arrests have been made for 11 of these murders.
To illustrate the seriousness with which the Police Service has treated these crimes, the success rate achieved in terms of arrests and convictions amounts to around 85 per cent. The propaganda that the Government and Police are doing nothing is again entirely without substance.
But in the battle to serve narrow partision interests, our opponents do not hesitate to sacrifice the truth.
As part of this same campaign, horror books are being published about what will happen “when Mandela goes”, to advance this agenda of gloom and doom on which the enemies of real progress and social transformation rely to create the conditions for the defeat of the ANC, so that they are better able to ensure that no progress and no transformation occur.
All this emphasises the point that for us, the challenge remains to discharge our responsibilities to the people to continue to lead our country as it traverses its historically decisive period of reconstruction and development.
In this context, we must refer to the issue of what has, in the general vocabulary, come to be known as “delivery”. Our opponents make the false accusation, based on a refusal by the mass media to tell the truth, that since our election into government in 1994, we have “failed to deliver”.
The reality that the masses of our people’s experience is that:
the formerly oppressed are now governing themselves; the homeless are being housed; those without access to modern power are gaining access to electricity; millions are no longer condemned to travel long distances to fetch unhealthy, unprocessed water for personal and domestic use; the formerly oppressed are gaining access to free and adequate medical services; many among the very poor, including children and the elderly, who had formerly been excluded now have access to welfare benefits; people who had been forcibly removed from their land are regaining their land; and greater numbers of people are gaining access to education at all levels.
As the capacity of the state administration improves and we manage to generate more resources, while maintaining fiscal discipline, so will we do more to address the people’s needs, consistent with our commitment to provide a better life for all.
This leads us to the consideration of the third theme among the subjects of this Political Report. This is the need for the fundamental transformation of all sectors of our society.
Reconstruction and Development
Perhaps one of the most dramatic and important lessons we have learnt in the last three years is that all elements of our society reflect and are characterised by the three hundred years of the colonial and apartheid domination of our country.
Our movement, the leadership that is gathered here, in whose hands rests much of the future of our country for many years, needs to understand this in a deep and comprehensive way, that the country we have inherited is essentially structured in a manner which denies us the possibility to achieve the goal of creating a new people-centred society.
Accordingly, the realisation of this objective, from which we will not depart, requires that we work to transform our country, fundamentally. The accomplishment of this task requires that we should all be made in the metal of revolutionaries.
The one component of South African society we have found easiest to change has been the legislative instructions at all three levels, as already discussed in this Report. This we did through the holding of democratic elections.
Having been elected into government, one of the first things that was very clear to us is that we cannot effectively use our access to political power to effect a fundamental transformation of our society by relying on the old apartheid state machinery.
One of the central tasks of the democratic revolution is the abolition of the apartheid state and its replacement by a democratic state. A complicating factor is that we must accomplish this task at the same time as we continue to use the existing state machinery to implement our programmes.
This emphasises the urgency of achieving decisive movement forward with regard to the creation of the democratic state. Work has been going on within the movement to elaborate the necessary theoretical framework relating to the nature and the role of such a state.
This is important because we must avoid an ad hoc approach to this critical question, bearing in mind that many of the questions we have to address about the state are not unique to our country, but occupy the attention of many others in all parts of the world.
We must move with greater speed to complete this theoretical work so that we can tackle our work of building the new democratic state more energetically and systematically.
Many of the problems we have experienced over the last three years with regard to the implementation of our programmes have arisen from the fact that we had to rely on the old apartheid state machinery.
These problems range from faster delivery of social services, through crime prevention and combating, to the management of public finances and the collection of state revenues.
However, this is not to say that everybody from the old is bad.
Indeed, many are carrying out sterling work to serve the people.
These, both black and white, are working hard within the public service and the security organs to promote the objectives contained both in our constitution and in new legislation and the programmes of our government.
This also extends to other people outside of the state system, again both black and white, who have not hesitated both to co-operate with the new government and to assist in ensuring that we have an effective system of democratic governance.
But the point remains true that the state institutions of the past and some of the people who served in those institutions cannot be expected to constitute an effective and loyal part of the new.
As we elaborate our positions on the nature and role of the democratic state, the following are some of the issues we will have to address:
identification of the national and class forces the democratic state represents; the democratic state and the management of the contradictions inherent in our society; the developmental role of the state and the reorientation of the civil servants; legalised force and the democratic state; the participation of the masses and civil society in the process of governance; the continuing scientific and technological revolution in information and communication and its impact on the relationship between the individual and the state; the state and capital; and, the state, national sovereignty and globalisation.
But once more, we must emphasise that the fact that we continue to focus on the complex work of defining the nature and role of the democratic state, must not result in a delay in attending to the critical issue of the creation of the democratic state.
As we discuss this matter at this Conference, we must also deal with the reality that the creation of the democratic state is part of our continuing struggle. The process of the creation of this state will meet the determined resistance of some within our country, especially those who stand to lose something from the abolition of the apartheid state.
The trade unions, and in particular the public sector unions, will be an important player in this process. An especial challenge will face the progressive public sector unions which will have to balance their obligations to the revolutionary transformation of our country and their necessary and legitimate commitment to the exclusive interests of their members.
Since we came into government, one of the matters that has become clear is that one of the principal instruments of government that we had inherited, the national budget, was inherently structured in such a way that it was impossible for the democratic government speedily to bring about the social changes to which we are committed.
An enormous and heroic effort has gone into the struggle to reprioritise the budget so that the democratic order could address various tasks, including:
releasing funds for social upliftment and development by reducing recurrent spending, including servicing the public debt, in favour of capital expenditure and therefore the expansion of the infrastructure so as to improve the quality of life of the people; deracialising the patterns of public spending; ensuring that the state does not appropriate such a proportion of the gross national product and in such a manner as would impact negatively on the possibility for us to achieve high and sustainable rates of economic growth and development and, collecting the revenues legally due to this national Revenue Fund, to finance the transformation and other commitments to which our government and society are obligated.
Among other things, this has necessitated that we take the important decision to reduce the budget deficit to more manageable levels.
In the short term this results in a shrinkage of the resources available to government to finance the variety of programmes to which we are committed in terms of the perspectives spelt out in our Reconstruction and Development Programme.
Indeed, the opposition that has been expressed from within the broad democratic movement to our “GEAR” programme announced by government in the middle of the past year, is, in reality, focused on this particular element of our economic policy.
We will return to this matter later in this Report.
Another important element of our policy is the deracialisation of the economy to ensure that, among other things, in its ownership and management, this economy increasingly reflects the racial composition of our society.
There are, of course, other challenges that we face with regard to the economy. These include:
its modernisation with regard to technology, managerial skill and productivity; increasing its international competitiveness especially with regard to our non-gold and manufactured exports; reducing the relative importance of raw materials and agricultural products in the composition of both the GNP and our export product-mix; integrating the Southern African economies and strengthening South-South economic relations; and fully integrating ours into the world economy and exploiting the possibilities created by the emergence of the information society; and setting our economy on a high and sustainable growth path which would result in the elimination of poverty and unemployment and the continuous upliftment of the standard of living and quality of life of all our people.
Let us, however, return to the matter integral to the achievement of these objectives – the deracialisation of the South African economy.
While some very limited progress has been made in this area, it is clear that a major and determined effort will have to be made by both the public and the private sectors to realise this objective.
In particular, we will have to focus on three areas, namely:
further elaboration of policy options to address this issue more effectively and expeditiously; evolution and firm implementation of programmes affecting both the government and parastatals to bring about sustained change: and, engaging the private sector itself to take on this matter, informed by the understanding that the perpetuation of the apartheid patterns of economic ownership and control constitutes a recipe for an enormous social and political explosion in future.
The important point is that we must integrate this in our strategy that the deracialisation of ownership of productive property, and the facilitation of the participation of black people in this process, is an essential part of our perspectives.
Further, we must deal with this matter in the context of the wider, and critical struggle of our era, to secure an acceptance and actualisation of the proposition that while capital might be owned privately, yet there must be an institutionalised system of social accountability for the owners of capital.
In this context, it may very well be that the success of our strategy for black economic empowerment will address not only the objective of the creation of a non-racial South Africa.
It might also be relevant to the creation of the system according to which the owners of capital would, willingly, understand and accept the idea that business success can no longer be measured solely by reference to profit.
According to this thesis, to which we must subscribe, success must also be measured with reference to a system of social accountability for capital which reflects its impact both on human existence and the quality of that existence.
In a lecture given earlier this year, Swedish Government minister, Pierre Schorri said:
“The winners (of globalisation) are a global elite – companies, countries and people, accumulating enormous powers and riches.”
“The trend is probably strongest within business: today five companies control more than 50 percent of the global market in branches such as the automotive industry, aerospace, electricity and electronics. Five corporations control more than 40 percent of the global market in oil, personal computers and the media.”
“The same concentration of wealth and power is taking place among nations. The UNDP’s latest report demonstrates how 15 countries are growing explosively fast, and very much benefiting from globalisation. But the facts and figures also show how more than a 100 countries have become poorer than they were 10 to 15 years ago.”
Add to this the decisive impact that the movement of large quantities of short-term capital has had on especially the economies of developing countries, and the conclusion becomes inescapable that a totally unregulated global market, cannot be in the interest even of world-wide sustainable economic growth and development.
Remarkably, the prominent financial capitalist George Sores, has expressed similar concerns, proceeding from a different base.
In an article entitled “The Capitalist Threat” (The Atlantic Monthly: February 1997), he writes as follows:
“By taking the conditions of supply and demand as given and checking government intervention the ultimate evil laissez-faire ideology has effectively banished income of wealth redistribution. Wealth does accumulate in the hands of its owners, and if there is no mechanism for redistribution, the inequities can become intolerable. The laissez-faire argument against income redistribution invokes the doctrine of the survival of the fittest. There is something wrong with making the survival of the fittest a guiding principle of civilised society. Co-operation is as much a part of the (economic) system as competition, and the slogan “survival of the fittest” distorts this fact. There is something contradictory in banishing the state from the economy while at the same time enshrining it as the ultimate source of authority in international relations. Guided by the principle of the survival of the fittest, states are increasingly preoccupied with their competitiveness and unwilling to make any sacrifices for the common good. Our global society lacks the institutions and mechanisms necessary for its preservation, but there is no political will to bring them into existence. I blame the prevailing attitude, which holds that the unhampered pursuit of self-interest will bring about an eventual international equilibrium. I believe this confidence is misplaced.”
The kernel of Soros’ argument is that the situation cannot be sustained in which the future of humanity is surrendered to a so called free market, with government denied the right to intervene in the ordering of economies.
In remarks to the Economic Club of New York, on September 12, 1996, David Rockefeller, member of one of the leading capitalist families of the United States, also expressed his concern about these matters.
Here is some of what he said:
“We (leaders of the business and financial community) must accept the fact that we have responsibilities that are broader than simply running our businesses in an efficient, profitable and ethical manner. We have entered a “New Age” in which our society is in the process of fundamentally transforming the way we live, how we govern ourselves and how we do business. It is in our interest that business play an active role in that transformation process, by reviving his collective sense of corporate social responsibility, a practice that seems to have fallen out of favour in the more competitive, more pressured, some would say “more ruthless” business environment of the latter years of this century.”
Mr Rockefeller continues:
“At the very time government’s role in economic affairs, as urged by all of us, is being scaled back both here and abroad, business appears unwilling to “step up” its commitment to anything but corporate profits … in my opinion, the joy of positive achievement in business should transcend the profit motive. Accomplishing goals that are important for society as well as ourselves, building something that has permanence and value beyond personal or strictly corporate objectives should be at least as important as the imperative of the bottom line. I believe that business leaders must make decisions that positively affect, not only their balance sheets and income statements, but also the needs of their workers and the broader community.”
For his part, George Soros argues that it is necessary that the necessary regulatory mechanisms be established, in part to address the accelerating uneven distribution of wealth and income which accompanies the process of globalisation, within the context of the pursuit of the common good.
We make a similar point when we say that the critical issues raised by the fact that the fate of the world economy is increasingly being decided by a few dozen corporate boards, driven solely by the profit motive and bound by no system of social accountability, require urgent attention and the establishment of the “institutions and mechanisms” to ensure the achievement of a better life for all, which both David Rockefeller and George Soros call for.
According to the UNDP’s “Human Development Report 1977”, the corporate spies of General Motors as well as those of Ford Motor Company exceed our Gross Domestic Product.
This report also says “of the world’s 100 largest economies, 30 are mega- corporations. The 350 largest corporations now account for 40% of global trade…”
We cite all these figures to make the point that the challenge of transformation requires that we address also this important question of capital and society and refuse to be seduced by the false arguments of the free marketeers who would have human society surrender to the economic processes about which such eminent business people as David Rockefeller and George Soros have sounded the alarm.
The fast sphere of social life to which we would like to refer, as an example of what we must do to achieve the reconstruction and development of our country, is the area of human resources development.
It is a matter of common cause among the overwhelming majority of our people that the production of educated and skilled people, is one of the central elements which would enable us to achieve the sustained reconstruction and development which is the very raison d’etre of the democratic revolution.
In the end what we have to produce in this important area is:
a system of education in the schools which directs the young towards competence and excellence in mathematics, the natural and computer sciences, engineering, management and accountancy; high skills levels among the working people, especially in those areas required for modern economic activity; the necessary pool of educators capable of helping us to achieve the two objectives; generally expanding the cadre of intellectuals in all academic disciplines, with special emphasis on the black component; and increasing the national research effort both quantitatively and qualitatively, with the necessary balance between pure and applied research.
To achieve all this will require that the country makes a serious and determined effort focused on institutional transformation and the integration of the work being done in the schools, colleges, technicons, universities, institutes, science councils and the private sector.
Yet those who are committed to the maintenance of white privilege are still engaged in manoeuvres designed to block the deracialisation of our educational institutions, thus directly contributing to delaying the fundamental work that must be done to modernise our entire system of human resource development.
As a movement, we also have a responsibility to influence our intelligentsia in all its echelons, especially its progressive detachments, to understand their place and role during the current phase of the democratic revolution.
On many occasions during the last three years, these detachments, among whom we include the students especially in the institutions of higher education, have seemed alienated from the continuing democratic struggle and driven both by a self-serving anarchist activism, focused on appropriating resources and advantage for themselves at all costs, or struck by a numbed paralysis, characterised by a refusal to participate in the process of setting the country’s agenda for change.
Thus they have served either to strengthen the positions of conservative management and ideology in the educational institutions or to leave the flied clear for almost exclusive occupation by the white liberals and their black cohorts.
In reality, the progressive sections of our intelligentsia should be in the front-line of the struggle for the reconstruction and development of our country.
Among other things, they should be carrying out important work to inform especially the masses of the black people about the objective reality within which we have to implement our transformation programmes.
Equally, they should be engaging the white minority to explain the decisive importance of the fundamental non-racial and non-sexist renewal of our society to stability, progress and the success of the democratic settlement.
Similarly and critically, they should be at the centre of the offensive to lay down the policy foundation on which the new South Africa will be built, involved in the struggle to remove the obstacles obstructing the successful and efficient implementation of our programmes and engaged in the process of empowering the masses of our people to participate in the process of governance.
More generally, we must ensure the growth and development of a modern and properly prepared intelligentsia to guarantee the success of our historic objective of the fundamental social transformation of our country and its reconstruction and development.
These are only some of the challenges of transformation that confront us. What they underline is the fact that any notion that the revolution ended with the elections of 1994 is both false and dangerous.
Further than this, these challenges also speak to the point that our movement, the ANC, will require a leadership of such high calibre as will be able to respond correctly to the “new age” into which democratic South Africa was born.
A Moral Renewal
In this article to which we have already referred, George Soros argues that in an earlier epoch, “people were guided by a set of moral principles that found expression in behaviour outside the scope of the market mechanism.”
He then proceeds to make the observation that “as the market has extended its sway, the fiction that people act on the basis of a given set of non-market values had become increasingly more difficult to maintain. Advertising, marketing, even packaging, aim at shaping people’s preferences rather than, as laissez-faire theory holds, merely responding to them”.
He then makes this important observation about modern society:
“Unsure of what they stand for, people increasingly rely on money as the criterion of value. What is more expensive is considered better. The value of a work of art can be judged by the prices it fetches. People deserve respect and admiration because they are rich. What used to be a medium of exchange has usurped the place of fundamental values, reversing the relationship postulated by economic theory. What used to be professions have turned into businesses. The cult of success has replaced a belief in principles. Society has lost its anchor.”
None of us can deny that this describes our own society, in which many are driven by the “unhampered pursuit of self-interest” and among whom what used to be a medium of exchange (money), has forcefully taken the place of fundamental values.
For a long time our country suffered under an illegitimate system of governance and therefore a regime of laws and organs of state which enjoyed no moral authority in the eyes of the majority of the people, including the oppressor population itself.
This meant that society was thus bereft of the beneficial impact of a state accepted by all the people which, while enforcing a particular social order, simultaneously upholds and perpetuates an accepted system of social norms, covering private and public behaviour, which endow it with the authority that guarantees the consent of the governed.
In this situation, our “society lost its anchor”. The wall of fundamental moral values which deters the individual from committing wrong acts collapsed. The state itself exemplified the collapse of morality in the conduct of human affairs and could not but reach the citizen to follow suit.
In these circumstances, it was inevitable that a philosophy represented by such notions as “each one for himself” and the devil take the hindmost”, “the survival of the fittest” and “the unhampered pursuit of self-interest” would take hold.
The evolution of the capitalist system in our country put on the highest pedestal the promotion of the material interest of the white minority. In contradistinction, it treated the black person as having no value outside of his or her role as an instrument for the advancement of these interests.
The drove home the point to both black and white that “people deserve respect and admiration because they are rich” – regardless of how they acquire, maintain and expand those riches.
If we have learnt nothing else during these past three years, we have grown to appreciate the extent of the corrosion of the moral fibre of our society.
It is out of the great human tragedy which marked the period of colonial and apartheid domination in our country, superimposed on and integrated within the universal impact of the modern market mechanism, of which George Soros speaks, that we have inherited what we see on the surface of human activity in our country, including:
the corruption of public servants by the private sector; the low love level of tax morality; white collar crime and the subversion of business ethics; venality, theft and fraud within the public sector; corruption in the criminal justice system; the uninhibited commitment to unbridled self-gratification which underlies such crimes as rape and child abuse; disrespect for human life and the inviolability of the individual person and the easy resort to the use of force in the ordering of inter-personal relations; the acceptance of robbery and theft as a means of personal enrichments and advancement; mendacity in the conduct of public affairs; contempt for the law and the state; and the virtual collapse among the Africans of a system of social behaviour informed by the precepts of humanism which, historically, have informed African culture.
It is possible that as a revolutionary movement and over the last three years, we have not fully understood the centrality and decisive importance of the moral renewal of our country to the success of our objective of creating a people-centred, humane and caring society.
Later in this Report, we will reflect on this matter as it has affected our own organisation and the broad democratic movement.
During the last three years, to address the population at large and restore to the public mind and our national life the concept of the pursuit of the common good, we have initiated some campaigns or sought to popularise particular concepts. In this instance, among others, I refer to:
the Masakhane campaign, intended to mobilise the people to participate in the process of their own upliftment; “Don’t do Crime”, directed at creating a national atmosphere hostile to the commission of crime; “Arrive Alive”, launched to reduce the unacceptably high level of road accidents and deaths: the call to a New Patriotism, intended to weld our country into a cohesive force for its reconstruction and development; and the advance towards an African Renaissance, which would integrate our processes of fundamental change within the all-African process of all round rebirth and renewal.
At best, we can only describe the results of these and similar, more localised campaigns, as mixed. This points to the critical need for the entirety of our movement consistently and correctly to engage the challenge of the moral renewal of our society.
In this context, and to ensure that we prepare ourselves for a protracted struggle, we must understand the extraordinary complexity of the task of achieving the spiritual as opposed to the material rebirth of our society.
The enormity of this challenge has also been highlighted by the proceedings as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Among other things, these have illustrated:
the dept of dehumanisation of the apartheid security forces; the unwillingness of white society in general, including white politicians, business, the judiciary, the media and the church, to explain its involvement in the maintenance and perpetuation of the apartheid system and therefore its lack of readiness to make its own voluntary contribution to the creation of a truly non-racial and non-sexist democracy; the determination of the old apartheid establishment to maintain its capacity to resort to extra-constitutional means to regain its lots positions of dominance; and, the difficulty of sensitising the white minority to the simmering anger of the black majority, and the latter, to the persisting fear of the future among the former.
As part of our own contribution to the difficult and complex process of the renewal of our society, which includes telling the truth about the acts of inhumanity that occurred during the course of our struggle, we have co-operated and continue to co-operate fully, with the TRC.
In our presentations to the Commission, we have not held anything back with regard to any activities carried out by the structures of our movement as well as cadres, members and supporters who acted within the context of the programmes of the movement. Accordingly our leadership took a deliberated decision to apply for amnesty openly to assume collective and individual responsibility for the legitimate actions undertaken, and even the mistakes committed, by ANC cadres in the course of our struggle.
On the other hand, the leaders of the apartheid system, who perpetrated a vile crime against humanity, have treated both the TRC and the country as a whole with utter contempt.
By their actions they have made the point very clear that they neither regret the evil they visited on our country nor are they willing to commit themselves to a political culture informed by respect for human dignity.
Driven by their old arrogance which derived from attachment to ideas of racial superiority and their capacity to impose their will on the people through resort to terrorism, they have not hesitated to seek to discredit the TRC.
One of their latest gambits is to work for the further persecution of very same leaders of our movement whom they imprisoned, tortured and drove into exile, by challenging the decision of the TRC to grant these leaders amnesty.
Life therefore poses the question whether these architects and spawns of apartheid can make any contribution of any kind to the moral renewal which our country so desperately needs.
What this says is that we will have to travel a difficult road before we can truly unite the majority of our people, without regard to race, colour and gender, around a common patriotism, one of whose critical elements must be the establishment of a caring society.
To achieve this objective will also require significant and sustained progress in changing the material conditions of life of all our people for the better, continuously reducing the racial gender and geographic disparities, impacting positively on the hearts and minds of our people to elevate their sense of community as opposed to the selfishly individual and increasing our capacity to catch, charge, convict and imprison the law-breakers.
But beyond this, it will be important that all influential forces in our country, including political parties, religious, business, trade union, women, youth, student, professional cultural, media and other organisations and various personalities, such as the traditional and other leaders and creative workers, including sports people, should join in a common offensive to create a new moral base that will inform the rebirth of our nation.
This will not happen spontaneously.
For it to come about, requires that we, who are the vanguard of the movement for the birth of a new South Africa, should understand and discharge our responsibility in a manner consistent with our appreciation of the fact that the better future will not make itself.
It will be realised because we, as a truly revolutionary movement, recognise and act on the critical importance of the moral renewal of our society, as a central and inalienable part of the reconstruction and development of our country.
This means that we must work seriously and consistently genuinely to inspire our people with the New Patriotism for which we have already called.
But as we have said earlier none of the objectives we have so far spoken of in this Political Report can be achieved fully, outside of the context of an African Renaissance.
An African Renaissance
We must therefore discuss the central and complex question of our relations with the rest of our Continent and our view of what needs to happen within this part of the world to which our destiny is tied.
The peoples of Africa share a common destiny. Each country is constrained in its ability to achieve peace, stability, sustained development and a better life for the people, except in the context of the attainment of these objectives in other sister African countries as well.
Accordingly, it is objectively in our interest to encourage the realisation of these goals on our Continent, at the same time as we pursue their attainment in our own country.
We speak of a continent which, while it led in the very evolution of human life and was a leading centre of learning, technology and the arts in ancient times, has experienced various traumatic epochs, each one of which has pushed her peoples deeper into poverty and backwardness.
We refer here to the three periods of:
slavery, which robbed the continent of millions of her healthiest and most productive inhabitants; imperialism and colonialism, which resulted in the rape of raw materials, the destruction of traditional agriculture and domestic food security, and the integration of Africa into the world economy as a subservient participant and, neo-colonialism, which perpetuated this economic system, while creating the possibility for the emergence of new national elites in the independent states, themselves destined to join the dominant imperialist forces in oppressing and exploiting the masses of the people.
During this latter period, our continent has experienced:
unstable political systems in which one-party states and military rule have occupied pride of place, leading to conflict, civil wars, genocide and the emergence of millions of displaced and refugee populations; the formation of predatory elites that have thrived on the basis of the looting of national wealth and the entrenchment of corruption; the growth of the international debt burden to the extent that, in some countries, combined with unfavourable terms of trade, it makes negative growth in national income inevitable: and, actual declines in the standard of living and quality of life for hundreds of millions of Africans.
It is quite clear that for us, as a movement, basing ourselves on our own ideological and political orientation, which visualises the creation of a people-centred society, all this describes a situation we could never accept both for ourselves and for our sister African peoples
It is in this context that we have put forward the perspective of an African Renaissance.
The word “renaissance” means rebirth, renewal, springing up anew. Therefore, when we speak of an African Renaissance, we speak of the rebirth and renewal of our continent.
This idea is not new to the struggles of the peoples of our continent for genuine emancipation. It has been propagated by other activists for liberation before, drawn from many countries.
But it has been suggested that when this perspective was advanced in earlier periods, the conditions did not exist for its realisation.
Accordingly, what is new about it today is that the conditions exist for the process to begin, or to be enhanced, throughout the continent, leading to the transformation of the idea from a dream dreamt by visionaries to a practical programme of action for revolutionaries.
What, then, are these conditions! These are:
the completion of the continental process of the liquidation of the colonial system, realised as a result of the liberation of South Africa; the recognition of the bankruptcy of neo-colonialism by the masses of the people throughout the continent, including the majority of the middle strata; the weakening of the struggle among the major powers for the domination of the continent, as a consequence of the end of the Cold War; and the acceleration of the process of globalisation.
Among other thins the emergence of these conditions means that:
popular political centres for fundamental transformation exist in various parts of the continent, especially in those countries that had to wage protracted struggles against colonialism and white minority domination, as well as those where there has been a genuinely popular struggle against neo-colonialism; the major powers feel a reduced need for them to put their own clients in positions of power, to achieve their strategic goal of carving our spheres of influence in the context of an ideological struggle between capitalism and socialism; and, markets can no longer be secured by the political seizure of countries or the use of extra-economic means, obliging multi-national corporations, regardless of nationality, to compete for market shares even on our continent.
There are, of course, other enabling factors that help to reinforce the tendency towards the fundamental renewal of the continent, which require further examination.
However, the principal aims of the African Renaissance are, in may respects, obvious. They include:
the establishment of democratic political systems to ensure the accomplishment of the goal that “the people shall govern”; ensuring that these systems take into account African specifics so that, while being truly democratic and protective of human rights, they are nevertheless designed in ways which really ensure that political means can be used to address the competing interests of different social groups in each country; establishing the institutions and procedures which would enable the continent collectively to deal with questions of democracy, peace and stability; achieving sustainable economic development which results in the continuous improvement of the standards of living and the quality of life of the masses of the people; qualitatively changing Africa’s place in the world economy, so that it is free of the yoke of the international debt burden and no longer a supplier of raw materials and an importer of food and manufactured goods; a rediscovery of Africa’s creative past to recapture the peoples’ cultures, encourage artistic creativity and restore popular involvement in both accessing and advancing science and technology; advancing in practical ways, the objective of African Unity; and, strengthening the genuine independence of African countries and the continent in our relations with the major powers, and enhancing our collective role in the determination of the global system of governance in all fields, including politics, the economy, security, information and intellectual property, the environment and science and technology.
These goals can only be achieved through a genuinely popular and protracted struggle involving not only governments and political parties, but the people themselves in all their formations.
Such a popular movement for the fundamental renewal of Africa would also have to take into account the multi-faceted reality that:
it would be engaged in an extremely complex struggle which would be opposed by forces of reaction from both within and without the continent; it would achieve both forward movement and suffer occasional setbacks; the continental offensive can only be sustained if the active populations of all countries are confident that none of the countries of the continent, regardless of the extent of their contribution to the Renaissance, seeks to impose itself or the rest as a new imperialist power; and, the forces for change have to be built up and consolidated within each country, without ignoring or underestimating this imperative and the potential for an increasingly co-ordinated trans-national offensive for the mutually beneficial renewal of the continent.
From all this, it is clear that the achievement of the historically vital African Renaissance requires that the people of our continent should adopt a realistic programme of action that will actually move Africa towards its real rebirth.
Accordingly, ways have to be found to ensure that:
the OAU reorients itself so that in its work, it focuses on the strategic objective of the African Renaissance; political organisations and governments in all African countries are mobilised to act in furtherance of this objective; the masses in all African countries and their organisations are similarly mobilised and drawn into action; attention is paid to the intelligentsia, the professionals, trade unions, business people, the religious and traditional leaders, cultural workers, the youth and women, the media, and so on, to bring them into the popular struggle for Africa’s rebirth; links are built across Africa’s borders among all social sectors to increase the levels of co-operation and integration; steps are taken to ensure that both Africa and the rest of the world define the new (21st) century as “the African Century”, in furtherance of the objective of the mobilisation of the peoples of the world to support the offensive for the African Renaissance; and, work is done to persuade the rest of the world, including such important, institutions as the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, NAFTA, the EU, ASEAN, MECOSUR and others, to the point of view that we share the strategic view with them that it is obligatory that we all support the vision of an African Renaissance and that they should lend support to this process, guided by what the peoples of Africa themselves want.
A major and historic challenge faces our movement to play its role further to elaborate the vision of African Renaissance and to ensure that our country makes its due contribution to the rebirth of our continent.
Our experience over the last three years of work on our own continent confirms the urgent need to make progress towards this rebirth.
The peoples of our continent have continued to rejoice in the emergence of a democratic South Africa for which they had fought. They expect of liberated South Africa that we will make a significant contribution to the common African struggle for peace and development.
Accordingly, we have been and are involved in these processes through the OAU the Commonwealth and on a bilateral basis. This has involved such countries as Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, Sudan, Morocco, Lesotho and Swaziland.
Furthermore, during this period, economic relations between ourselves and the rest of our continent have grown rapidly, confirming the importance of these relations to our own economic growth and development.
Significant progress has also been made towards closer regional co-operation within the SADC. In the period ahead of us, even faster progress should be achieved in this regard.
It is however also clear that more work will have to be done to strengthen the relations and the process of interaction among the political parties and formations both within our region and further afield on the continent to strengthen our collective capacity to address the common challenge that face us.
Our relations with the sister African peoples have developed very well during the last three years, informed by the principles of solidarity and mutually beneficial co-operation.
Nevertheless we will have to work harder to give further concrete meaning to these all-round relations at the bilateral level and in the context of the SADC and the OAU.
This, too, will make an important contribution to the renewal of our continent, a matter made more pressing by the rapid advance of the process of globalisation.
Challenge of Globalisation
During the past three years, our country has been called upon to make its own contributions to address various issues on the international agenda.
As a result of this, we played an important role in the renegotiating of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the adoption of the Treaty providing for the prohibition of anti-personnel land mines.
At the same time, we were elected President of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and one of the Vice-Presidents of the UN General Assembly. We serve in the senior committees of the World Trade Organisation while we also co-chair the UN Aids Programme.
From next year we will be called upon to lead the Non-Aligned Movement and host the Commonwealth Heads of Government the year after.
We mention all these to indicate the increasingly important role we are expected to play within the global community.
It is therefore important that we discuss the process of globalisation, understand it correctly, assess its impact on us and begin to define our response to this defining social phenomenon.
The driving force of the process of globalisation is the economy and the advances in science and technology. Today’s world economy is characterised by the emergence of a global market represented by the movement of capital, goods and services to all parts of the world, unrestrained by national boundaries or differences in political systems.
The continuing technological revolution in information and communication is further expediting the development of this global market and entrenching it as a permanent feature of human existence.
Earlier in this Report, we referred to the impact this process of globalisation is having with regard to the concentration and centralisation of capital in fewer and fewer private hands, the concentration of wealth in a few countries and the widening of the gap in wealth and income within and between countries.
Let us return to the lecture delivered by the Swedish minister, Pierre Schorri, Here is some of what he had to say;
“Globalisation, in all its aspects, is a process with a Janus face: one side is bright and beautiful and the other unwanted and ugly.. Globalisation is not driven by solidarity and compassion. And it often causes the opposite – division and injustice. We do not need to look far to see how the gaps are widening, between – and within – countries… How big the gap is becoming, the UNDP report demonstrated with this image: if you want to balance the richest and poorest people on this globe, you would end up with 358 people in the one bowl of the scale and 45 percent of the world’s population in the other… Something has gone wrong, very much wrong. Total global income has increased six fold since 1960. But more than half of the world’s population – three billion people – have to support themselves on less than 2 dollars a day.”
For the purpose of this Report, we would like to make some remarks on a few additional and important issues.
One of these is that the process of globalisation is an inherent mode of existence of capital. It is therefore neither the invention of some reactionary cabal that sits somewhere in the world nor can it be stopped.
Neither can the attendant information and communication revolution be stopped, nor would this be desirable.
The second of these is that the process of globalisation inevitably impacts on the sovereignty of states, with states losing some of their sovereignty to an evolving system of international governance.
The very mobility of capital and the globalisation of the capital and other markets, make it impossible for countries, for instance, to decide national economic policy without regard to the likely, response of these markets.
Our own experience in the last three years and those of other countries, such as Mexico and others in Asia, confirm the correctness of this observation.
But, of course, the impact of this reduction of sovereignty is not evenly spread among the countries of the world but varies according to the economic strength of the various countries.
The third of these remarks is that contrary to the ideological claims that are made in favour of the “free market”, the reality is that the process of the intervention in and the regulation of the world market is growing space. This is represented most prominently by the WTO, whose decisions are binding on countries. The developments gripping the member states of the European Union as they prepare for the introduction of the European Monetary Union point precisely to the growing importance of political interventions to regulate the functioning of the economy.
The last of our remarks relates to the fact that as consciousness grows about the inter-dependence of the nations on our planet, so do all major decisions that derive from the system of governance become subject to international review and become dependent for their success on approval and support by an international constituency.
There are many lessons we should draw from these and other factors that accompany the process of globalisation.
One of these is that we should abandon the idealist doctrine of exceptionalism, according to which many within the ranks of the democratic movement wish to treat South Africa as a unique entity, which can exist outside the context of and contrary to the tendencies which characterise the evolution of human society.
In reality, what we have to do is ensure that our country integrates itself within a world community that is evolving under the impact of a process of globalisation as well as determine the ways by which we can impact on this process to advance the interests of our broad masses.
To try subtract ourselves from these processes would spell disaster.
The second of these lessons is that we must fight to compensate the loss of sovereignty especially by the countries of the Third World by strengthening our collective and institutionalised capacity to influence the decisions that will emerge from the system of international governance.
This requires that we engage in struggle:
for the democratisation of the international institutions of governance; for cohesion among the countries of the Third World in order effectively to use their collective strength to bargain with the major powers; for the insertion into the world agenda of the concerns already expressed in this Report, about the growing disparity between the rich and the poor and the unacceptability of the exclusion of the goal of a better life for all in the functioning of the global market; and, therefore for the establishment of the “institutions and mechanisms” spoken of by George Soros which would enable the international community to address these agenda items.
It must be clear from all this that, as a movement, we confront a major challenge to make our own contribution to the birth of the new world order, which perhaps contrary to all logic that derives from the balance of power, must focus on addressing the needs and concerns of the powerless, in particular.
The pursuit of this difficult but important objective emphasises the need for us, as a movement and a country, to construct our own system of international relations not in a haphazard manner, but in a way that will help us successfully to address all the concerns we have expressed in this Report.
Our International Relations
Our relations with the rest of the world have developed very well over the last three years. We have been able to break out of the comprehensive international isolation imposed on our country as a result of the pursuit by the previous regime of the apartheid crime against humanity.
During this period, we have also succeeded to resolve such difficult problems in our international affairs as our relations with the People’s Republic of China, the “Armscor case” in the United States of America and the arrears we owed as a country to the United Nations.
We have also played our part in helping to resolve some of the problems that have afflicted our continent, including those in such countries as Lesotho, Mozambique and the former Zaire.
We can say this without fear of contradiction that we have assumed our rightful place as a sovereign state within all spheres on international activity, including politics and diplomacy, the economy, peace and security, science, technology and knowledges and crime prevention and combating.
Our foreign policy is informed by the objectives we have set ourselves of reconstruction and development. We are aware of the fact that these cannot be fully achieved unless we position ourselves correctly within the international community of nations.
Similarly, the realisation of these objectives domestically requires that we try to promote them internationally, without seeking to compromise the sovereignty of any state or people.
Furthermore, we pursue our foreign policy in the context of a dynamic global order which is influenced by many forces and factors, including the process of globalisation which we have already discussed.
Accordingly, for us to achieve our objectives, it is necessary that we act according to a properly thought-out strategic framework and a time frame, but also with sufficient flexibility to enable us to respond correctly to the ever-changing world environment,
This strategic framework has already begun to emerge out of our activities of the last three years. Let us now deal with its main elements.
One of these is the further enhancement of the process of regional co-operation and integration affecting the SADC countries. this is critical to the all-round success of all our countries, whose interdependence emphasises the point that as countries of this region, we truly share a common destiny.
Much of the institutional framework relevant to this process is already in place. Further, the will to promote our co-operation exists through the region. However, it is important that additional measures are adopted to promote this co-operation more energetically and comprehensively.
Clearly, our position as Current Chairperson of SADC imposes a special obligation on us to encourage this approach. This will necessitate that all the relevant organs of state elaborate new proposals to meet this challenge, including the conclusion of the negotiations on the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).
We have already dealt with the issue of the African Renaissance which will impact fundamentally on our Africa policy.
Another important pillar of our foreign policy is the building of strong, all-round South-South relations. Great possibilities exist further to promote development among the countries of the South through greater interaction among themselves, affecting all spheres of human activity.
This will require of us that we pay detailed attention to this matter, to identify the specific areas of co-operation and jointly with the major countries of Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, in the first instance, to agree on common programmes of action focused on these specific areas of co-operation.
It is also vitally important that we work towards the situation in which the countries of the South do indeed speak with one voice on the principal international questions. This is especially important in the light of the process of globalisation which we have already discussed, which process is led and dominated by the countries of the North.
The bargaining power which the developing countries need, will be greatly enhanced if they are able to present a united front as they seek to make an impact on the process of globalisation to address the needs of our countries and people.
Clearly, the forthcoming Summit Meeting of Heads of State and Government of Non-Aligned Countries will play an important role in advancing this perspective of greater South-South co-operation and cohesion. It will therefore again be necessary that all the relevant organs of government should with immediate effect, take the necessary measures to ensure that this Summit Meeting lives up to its expectations.
The fact that we are hosting this Summit, combined with our current presidency of UNCTAD and our hosting next year of “Africa Telecoms”, underline our own responsibilities to the countries of the South. We must do everything to ensure that we do not disappoint the expectations of these sister countries and peoples.
Yet another important element of our foreign relations is the strengthening of our links with the countries of the North, among which we include Russia and Japan, still our most important international economic partners with regard to trade, investment and technology transfers.
These countries have also extended significant amounts of development assistance to us to help us immediately to address the needs of our people while we strengthen our own domestic capacity to meet these needs.
Consistent with the importance we attach to our relations with the countries of the North, we have among other things, established Bi-National Commissions with some of them, to ensure the co-ordinated development of these relations.
We must continue to develop these relations, given the fact that the countries of the North will continue to be our important economic partners and given the reality that we have to interact with these countries as part of the process of addressing the key International issues of the day, including the challenges of globalisation.
It is also clear that we will need the fullest co-operation of the developed countries of the North to achieve our objective of an African Renaissance.
Certainly, we have to persuade them that this Renaissance is in their interest and that, as they pursue their legitimate interests in Africa, they should simultaneously contribute positively to the creation of the conditions that will lead to Africa’s rebirth.
The Scandinavian countries played a critical and special role in our struggle for liberation. To this day, the ordinary peoples of these countries continue to feel a strong sense of solidarity with our own people.
This last element we would like to mention with regard to our international relations is the need for us to pay particular attention to the Multi-lateral governmental organisations.
As we have already indicated, it is clear that simultaneously as the process of globalisation grows apace, so does the system of international governance also grow stronger. We have no doubt that this tendency will strengthen rather than weaken.
Already many instruments and institutions exist expressive of this expanding system of international governance. Increasingly as the information society gets more entrenched the non-governmental sector is also increasingly making its impact on this system.
Of critical importance to the future of this system, is its democratisation. This would enable the developing countries to put on the world agenda the issues of concern to our peoples and to participate more effectively in fashioning the new world order.
It would also enable us to impact on the existing organisations, to help change their structures and their ethos to ensure that they address a more equitable agenda based, critically, on ensuring a better life for all the peoples of the world, and not merely those who already occupy positions of privilege.
An important weakness in our international work that has emerged over the last three years is the fact that as a political movement we have failed to sustain the level of contact and interaction with other political formations which we had developed in the past.
The programme of action in the development of our international relations that we have spoken of also requires that we, as a political movement, should also interact with our counterparts elsewhere in the world, to advance the perspectives we have ourselves worked out that bear on the fundamental transformation of our own country.
In this context we must take important decisions about the relations we should establish or maintain with existing international organisations of political parties.
Of particular importance, in this regard, is the Socialist International, in which we have had observer status for many years and which has been consistently inviting us to join as a full member, joining many other parties in our region and continent who are members of this organisation.
As we consider this matter, we must also bear in mind the fact that we also maintain good relations with political parties of other ideological persuasions and should recognise the importance of these parties to the success of our reconstruction and development perspectives both democratically and internationally.
However we resolve this matter, it is critically important that we act with greater vigour to strengthen our relations with other political parties and movements in all parts of the world, to help advance the goals shared by all right thinking people throughout the world.
What this and other challenges within our own country require is a strong, united and properly oriented ANC, operating as part and in the vanguard of a similarly strong, united and properly oriented progressive movement.
We must therefore now deal with the central question of the state of organisation of our own movement and other related matters which stand at the centre of our capacity to carry out the tasks contained in the Report, our Strategy and Tactics document and the decisions we will take during this Conference.
The Progressive Movement
The achievement of everything we have said in this Report depends on our ability to remain loyal to the purposes that have kept our movement together and actively involved in the struggle for national liberation for eight-and-a-half decades.
Remarkably, it would seem that our very victory over white minority rule has created the basis for some among us to take advantage of the new political opportunities the people’s triumph has created, to work for the weakening and destruction of this very movement, the ANC.
Our movement not only won us our historic success, but also on its shoulders the only possibility our country has to realise its reconstruction and development, and our people, a better life.
We say this because a number of negative features within the ANC and the broad democratic movement have emerged during the last three years. We have an inescapable responsibility to attend to these matters frankly and decisively in defence of both our movement and our revolution.
One of these negative features is the emergence of careerism within our ranks. Many among our members see their membership of the ANC as a means to advance their personal ambitions to attain positions of power and access to resources for their own individual gratification.
Accordingly, they work to manipulate the movement to create the conditions for their success.
During the last three years, this has created such problems as division within the movement, conflicts based on differences among individuals, the encouragement of rank indiscipline leading to the undermining of our organisational integrity, conflict within communities and the demoralisation of some of the best cadres of our organisation.
Inevitably, this has also created the possibility for the opponents of our movement and our revolutionary perspectives to intensify their own offensive to promote their objectives which are opposed to our goal of creating a better life for all.
In reality, during the last three years, we have found it difficult to deal with such careerists in a decisive manner. We, ourselves, have therefore allowed the space to emerge for these opportunists to pursue their counter-revolutionary goals, to the detriment of our movement and struggle.
During this period, we have also been faced with various instances of corruption involving our own members, including those who occupy positions of authority by virtue of the victory of the democratic revolution.
These have sought either to steal public resources or to export financial tributes from the people in return for services to which the people are entitled and which those in authority are legally and morally obliged to provide.
This is not surprising in the light of what we have already said in this Report about the entrenchment of corruption in our society in general and the consequent desperate desire to accumulate wealth in the shortest possible period of time.
And yet, what should characterise the people we draw into our ranks should be precisely this, that there are those among our people, who are appalled by this corruption and are motivated to create the kind of society that would be dedicated to rooting out this disease.
Clearly, we have to take all necessary measures to purge ourselves of such members and organise ourselves in a way that will make it difficult for corrupt elements to gain entry into our movement.
We have also seen the emergence of elitism among some of our members. Notions have surfaced of entitlement to decision-making positions, which have led to a break in the sustained interaction between some of our leaders, on one hand, and our organisation and people, on the other.
Clearly, one of the critical problems we have to contend with is that necessarily, we have acquired many members who have no experience of struggle.
Thus they see our movement for national liberation as a mere political party which participates in elections at the conclusion of which it places its members in remunerated positions of authority.
Many among these think the 1994 elections marked the end of the struggle and have very little understanding of the challenges of fundamental social transformation, some of which this Report has sought to identify.
What we have said is not intended to argue against the recruitment of new members. Rather, it emphasises the central importance of the proper preparation of as many of our members as possible to become genuine cadres of a movement for national liberation that is still engaged in struggle to accomplish its historic mission.
It is therefore important that we pay the closest possible attention to the continuous political education of our members, to ensure that they become real members of our organisation, and not mere card-carriers.
This process of preparation of these members must also include ensuring that they actually engage in practical work to promote the cause for which we stand, as well as conduct themselves in ways which do not bring disrepute to the movement.
We also need to assist the Youth League to ensure that it brings up the youth in the traditions of the movement and in a manner that will enable these young people to assume their positions of leadership when the time comes, being clear about their own responsibilities to society.
Our experience of the last three years tells us that for us to carry out these tasks successfully, will require that we attend to the question of the better deployment of especially our most experienced cadres as well as ensuring that our Headquarters and our Police and Organising Departments, in particular, are properly staffed.
We must also drill this into the consciousness of all our members and structures that all of us have a responsibility to raise the funds that we need to continue our work.
With regard to the matter of the better deployment of our cadres, we must ensure that we achieve the proper balance among the various demands on our pool of cadres, which includes the local provincial and national legislatures and governments, the ANC structures at all these levels, the public service and the economy.
Our starting points as we tackle the task of further strengthening the ANC must be based on the recognition of the fact that the fundamental social transformation of our country cannot happen without the people who understand and are committed to bringing this transformation about.
In other words, to discharge this revolutionary tasks ahead of us, we need battalions of revolutionaries who are as ready to serve the people as have been the generations of cadres that preceded them.
Nevertheless, in spite of everything we have said, it is also true that over the last three years, our organisation in its various echelons, has conducted itself well, succeeding to maintain a level of cohesion and the necessary sense of direction to enable us to keep the revolution on course.
The ANC also has an important and continuing responsibility to lead the Revolutionary Alliances and the rest of the democratic movement.
During the last three years, we have not succeeded as well as we should have to carry out this task. Consequently, both the Alliance and the democratic movement as a whole have been characterised both by a tendency towards division and a reaffirmation of its cohesion.
Part of this derived from the fact that the Alliance and the rest of the movement had to deal with the entirely new situation of the defeat of the apartheid regime and our assumption of political power.
It has proved difficult for all sectors within our political camp properly to define their role in this phase of our struggle for the defence and consolidation of our revolutionary gains and the reconstruction and development of our country.
Equally, we have not as yet evolved a stable and satisfactory system of interaction among the various echelons of the movement, to ensure, for instance, that initiatives taken at the level of governance are properly canvassed within the movement as a whole, or that actions undertaken by the trade union movement are similarly discussed.
Efforts have been made during the last three years to address all these new problems. However, it is true that we have as yet not found the lasting solutions we need. Conference must therefore discuss these matters with all the seriousness they deserve.
We will now make some remarks about some of the issues that must impact on that discussion without, in any way, seeking to present an exhaustive analysis.
For a number of decades and certainly during the period of its illegality, the SACP operated in a manner that facilitated the coincidence of theory and practice with regard to the acceptance by the entire national democratic movement of the fundament notion of the ANC’s leadership of this movement, which includes the SACP.
This also entailed various elements such as the acceptance of the independence of these two organisations, recognition of the fact that each has a legitimate right and obligation to define its own historic mission and acceptance of an obligation to resort to processes internal to the alliance to resolve such disputes as might arise between its members.
Various instances have arisen during the last three years when there has been a departure from these positions, leading to the emergence of some tension between the two organisations and within the democratic movement as a whole
With regard to this relationship, we must accept that new answers must be found to the new questions that life has posed and will continue to pose. Accordingly, there is no need to take fright when differences emerge, especially as we must be aware that complex as the questions are, so will be the answers.
One of these complex questions derives from the fact that as much as we, the SACP is a political formation which has a responsibility to itself to mobilise for its own popular support and to establish its own identity in the public mind, with its own vision and political programme.
How this relates to the issues of the SACP’s membership of the Progressive Alliance and the ANC’s leadership of this Alliance are precisely the difficult questions that have to be answered.
The SACP itself continues to grapple with the issue of its own historic mission, given the collapse of socialism in the European countries and the changes taking place in China and Cuba.
Obviously, this is not merely a theoretical issue. It impacts directly on what the SACP does from day to day to advance the political perspective unique to itself as a political party.
Where questions remain to be answered as to what socialism is, and what steps, would be taken to bring it about, so long will the difficulty remain of defining the relationship between ourselves and the SACP in the current period.
Nevertheless, this continues to be true that the forces which, for decades, constituted our broad movement for national liberation, including the trade unions, have not as yet completed their work given the reality that our country continues to be defined by its past of racial fragmentation and domination.
Over the decades, including the last three years the, SACP has proved itself to be our steadfast ally in the struggle to end white minority domination and its legacy, and to create a genuinely non-racial society.
It is on the basis of this common commitment that we, the ANC, look forward to the further strengthening of our relations with the SACP to promote this common objective of the national democratic movement.
Throughout our history, the progressive trade union movement has been part of our movement for national liberation this had to be so because the black working class was also oppressed as part of the black people, with its class interests refracted through the prism of national oppression, as was the case in all other colonies.
In time, its political interests were articulated and represented by the ANC as the leader of the liberation movement.
Again for many decades, many of the leaders of the progressive trade union movement were drawn from the ANC and the SACP, enabling this combination to act as the political representative of both the organised and unorganised black and progressive workers.
During the years of illegality for both these political formations, and as the progressive trade union movement recovered from the period of extreme repression, it had no possibility fully to access some elements of this tradition and the organised representatives of that experience.
One of the consequences of this was that, for the first time since the days of the ICU, the progressive trade union movement evolved its own political leadership as opposed to accepting a political leadership drawn from political formations representative of the views and aspirations of the members of the unions.
It is one of the great strengths of our broad movement that many of these leaders were subsequently drawn into the ranks of the ANC because this leader of our liberation movement championed a cause which found a ready response among workers who, daily and directly, experienced the effect of national oppression.
Regardless of this, some of these leaders have never been able to find a home within the political organisations of the national democratic movement. Effectively, they have therefore treated the trade union movement as an alternative political formation through which they would pursue both their trade union and political aspirations.
The particular historical circumstance of the formation of a political leadership corps, representative of a particular section of our society, has manifested itself in the last three years at various moments and in various ways, with COSATU doing more than represent the mere trade union interests of its members.
Some of what we must have learnt over the last three years is that our victory over the apartheid regime created the possibility for some among the trade union political leadership to assert this leadership role, separate and apart from and in some instances, in contradiction with the rest of the political leadership of our broad democratic movement.
Necessarily the questions arise in our own country, as they have done in other countries before – what are the unique political interests of that section of the working class which is organised into unions, which result in the adoption of a complex of political demands and the birth of a unique trade union political leadership, respectively separate and different from the demands and the leadership of political formations which would normally represent these workers in the sphere of political.
Workers correctly combine in trade unions around the question of their direct material interests. Thus, the grassroots level of leadership of any trade union is composed of shop stewards, whose daily activity focuses on wages, conditions of work and interaction on the shop-floor, without regard to the political allegiances of either the workers or his management.
Naturally, this particular focus is correctly reproduced at higher levels of any trade union.
Accordingly, such political leadership as the unions evolve, will in good measure be distinguished as a distinct echelon by its exclusive dedication to the advancement of these material interests, which process is rendered political by the extension of the historic mandate of a trade union leadership beyond the shop-floor, to the political sphere, in all its elements.
The simplest of analyses will show how, in the last three years, the leadership of the trade unions has sought to play this political role, resulting in an inevitable and sometimes strident conflict and contest between itself and the rest of the leadership of the democratic movement.
But the question must be answered as to why, it certain instances, the positions and activity of this trade union political leadership result in an inevitable conflict with the leadership of the rest of the democratic movement.
If we deal only with the Revolutionary Alliance, we can say that the answer to this question derives from the reality that neither the ANC nor the SACP can act as the political representatives solely and merely of the progressive, organised and employed section of the working class, which sections of the working class the political leadership of the unions can justifiably and correctly claim to represent.
The ANC represents the people as a whole, and the African working masses in particular. The SACP would see itself as representing the working class in general, and the African workers in particular, whether organised and employed or not.
This encapsulates the objective basis for the differences among the different formations which constitute the Revolutionary Alliance and provides the general framework which enables us to understand and resolve some of the differences within this Alliance we have experienced over the last three years.
Objectively, the employed and organised workers in our country occupy a particular social position which is different from the social position occupied by the unemployed.
With regard to the latter, they are in a relatively privileged position.
Because of its place in social production and its organised strength, this section of the working class has the possibility and the duty to itself.
To fight to advance its own interests; to bargain for itself, in opposition to the demands of all other sectors of society, including the unemployed and the non-unionised; and, to battle for the hegemony of its interests, regardless of what the progressive political movements might consider as being “in the interest of the national democratic movement.”
From this it must follow that the unique intervention in the political sphere of any political leadership emanating exclusively from this employed and organised sector of our working class, will necessarily focus on the promotion of the interests of what, in relation to the unemployed and the employed but non-unionised, are those of the relatively privileged.
Conference must discuss the impact of this on the cohesion of the Revolutionary Alliance.
Consequently, we must deal with the complex question of the interconnection between the role of the interests of their members, and the role of these unions as an important component part of the progressive movement for the fundamental social transformation of our society.
Our experience over the last three years demonstrates that the two do not necessarily mean the same thing.
Further, this experience during the last three years also shows that negative tendencies have emerged with regard to the maintenance and consolidation of the rest of the mass democratic movement outside of our revolutionary alliance.
Part of the problem has emanated from the weakening of the links between the ANC and the organisations that are part of this mass movement, including those representing the youth and students, the NGO’s and CBO’s, sports people and cultural workers, the religious communities, traditional leaders and so on.
As indicated earlier in this Report, another important factor has been that many of these organisations have not succeeded to define their role during the current phase of our struggle. Many of these have therefore degenerated into nothing more than special interest groups, whose task is to access the limited pool of public resources to advance their own interests.
In pursuit of this goal, many have taken pride in assuming positions of militant opposition to the very government they put in power, solely for the purpose of advancing their own self-interest, completely detached from the overall and global objectives which the progressive movement as a whole must seek to achieve.
We must admit that much of what we are describing has occurred as a result of the weakness and inactivity of our own movement.
Accordingly, we will succeed to reverse these negative tendencies only to the extent that we overcome our own weaknesses and take very seriously our role as the leader of the democratic movement as a whole.
We must, once more, emphasise the decisive importance of the need to improve our communication with our members and supporters, with the broad democratic movement and with the people at large.
This is not a task, that can or will be discharged by the established mass media which, in the main, pursues an agenda predicated on sustained opposition to our movement.
We must therefore attend to the publication of our own media of communication, including such simple means as leaflets delivered door-to-door, direct communication with the people through organisational work carried out by each one of our members in their localities, and the creative exploitation of all other opportunities to get our message across to the people.
And again we would like to make the point that our task of the fundamental social transformation of our society cannot succeed without the daily and properly directed involvement of the activists of the democratic movement and the masses of the people as a whole.
These must consciously advance this process, defend our gains and repel the offensive of those who seek to preserve as much of the apartheid inheritance as possible.
In sum, our experience of the last three years tells us that the demobilisation of the formations of the broad democratic movement as well as the people themselves, spells defeat for our revolutionary offensive.
The correctness of this message has been demonstrated to us on all occasions in the last three years when we have initiated processes of real change. It will become even clearer in the period ahead of us as we further deepen the process of fundamental social transformation, as we must.
In about 16 months from now, the people of our country will be called upon once more to elect the national and provincial governments of their choice.
These elections, will, for us, represents an important part of our continuing struggle for genuine national and social emancipation. Clearly, they will present us with a harder contest than the one we had to engage in in 1994.
The majority of the opposition political formations will seek to combine their efforts to reduce the support we obtained in the 1994, 1995 and 1996 elections.
They will seek this result in order to create the situation in which not only are we weakened and themselves strengthened, but also in which we are unable to govern effectively without their consent.
This must ring alarm bells among us, because this means that the objective that will be pursued by the forces opposed to the radical non-racial and non-sexists renewal of our society will be to deny us the popular mandate to carry out such a programme.
We must also bear this in mind that these opposition forces, to whom a genuinely non-racial society poses a threat will not hesitate to use anything within their means to achieve their objectives.
These, the architects and contingent beneficiaries of the system of apartheid, shamelessly present themselves as the real representatives of democracy.
According to their lying propaganda, our movement, whose members and supporters sacrificed their lives to bring about democracy, are no more than corrupt latent or actual autocrats.
Accordingly, they advance the absurd notion that the strength of our movement is a threat to democracy. Thus do these, who fought against democracy, get frightened by the democratic process and its results, to the extent that they will not hesitate to subvert and compromise the democratic process itself – all in the interests of democracy, as they have and will continue to argue!
Their pathetic call, expressed in a cacophony of shrill voices, is – defeat the ANC at all costs!
But for us, the 1999 elections constitute a clarion call to action:
to defend and expand the frontiers of democracy; to renew the people’s mandate for social transformation and, to inflict a fresh defeat on the forces that represent the apartheid past of racial division and oppression, sexist oppression, systemic corruption and white minority privilege and domination.
To achieve these objectives, we must emerge from this Conference.
a united movement; with a clear understanding of the objectives and policies of our movement by the entire leadership present here; with a definite programme of action which all of us must implement; with an unequivocal commitment by this leadership to spare no effort to ensure the implementation of this programme; and, with a national leadership that enjoys our confidence and support as an organisation and is capable of leading our movement and country through the challenging period ahead of us.
We have just gone through an eventful three years of the new South Africa.
The levels of stability and apparent normality we have managed to achieve during these first years of democracy have helped to disguise both the giant steps forward we have taken towards transformation and the historic challenges we continue to face.
Already in the New Year, we will have to contend with such important issues as:
the report and the outcome of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; the Medium Term Expenditure Framework; the establishment of the Commission for the Promotion of Language, Cultural and Religious Rights; the intensification of the struggle against HIV/AIDS. the jobs Summit the challenge of black economic empowerment; the conclusion of our agreement with the European Union and the negotiations to replace the Lome Convention; the challenges of the African Renaissance; the follow-up to our bid for the 2004 Olympics; the hosting of the Non-Aligned Summit the African Games and Africa Telecommunications ’98. the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China; and, the restructuring of the United Nations.
There is much that lies ahead, which is both complex and exciting.
At the centre of it all lies the fundamental challenge for us to remain faithful to our revolutionary goals, to ensure that we have a movement structured in a manner that can ensure the realisation of these goals and a cadre that will ensure that we do indeed advance the ambitious but necessary goals we have set for ourselves.
History will never repeat for us this moment of time and opportunity when so many of us are granted the privilege to participate in the creation of a new world.
Positioned at the historic high tide of the process of the renewal of our society and the world, we, who are accustomed to act at the cutting point of change, must behave as the forward point of the spear of change, drawing courage from an eighty-five-year history which says to us that as much as we have never failed, so must it be that we organise ourselves for success.
It is most appropriate that it is at our 50th National Conference that we are able to make these remarks and that it is at this point that my generation, which did what it could, hands over the baton to our successors.
These leaders, whom you must elect democratically, hopefully uninfluenced by demagogy, selfish promotion and self-serving media advertising in favour of some among us, will continue a struggle which we, ourselves, inherited from a people hungry for genuine emancipation and ready to follow and support a leadership genuinely committed to serve the cause of the people.
Surely, these leaders must have the tested ability to lead our country and people through the uncharted waters of the historical period ahead of us.
No reason exists which would permit us as a movement and you, the delegates entrusted with the historic responsibility to take our movement into the next century and millennium, to gamble on this outcome, by placing at the head of our revolutionary march, a cadre of leaders which would be unable correctly to handle the complex issues of social development which today’s world has placed on the agenda of the evolution of human society, including our own.
Confident that you will discharge your responsibilities with the same revolutionary commitment and sense of responsibility to our country and people which all previous conferences of our movement have demonstrated throughout the eighty-five years of the life of the ANC, I am honoured to commend this Report to this, the 50th National Conference of the ANC and to surrender our common future into your hands.
The struggle continues!
Victory is certain!
Matle ke arona!Source: http://www.mandela.gov.za/mandela_speeches/1997/971216_ancd.htm