Item 1116 - Speech by Nelson Mandela in Boipatong

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ZA COM MR-S-1116


Speech by Nelson Mandela in Boipatong


  • 1992-06-21 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare

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  • English

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I am here to express my deepest sympathy to the people of Boipatong and Slovo Park for one of the most brutal slaughter of human beings in the history of this country. Innocent and defenceless men, women and children- pregnant women and unsuspecting babies were not exempted from the bullets and spears of the faceless murderers who work closely with the regime and its security services.

Early in 1960-67 bodies of unarmed men, women and children were strewn over the veld in Sharpeville, with 400 people injured. I came back today to Boipatong where Sharpeville has been repeated with a ferocity that may completely put an end to negotiations.

Mr. De Klerk and his regime bear full responsibility for the violence in the country and in these townships in particular. According to the press Mr. De Klerk expressed shock over the slaughter. Strange that he should be shocked and now suddenly express anger. Why is he shocked now? While these latest killings are horrific, really is that there are a number of massacres that have taken place, where deaths run into double figures. For example Sebokeng July 1990, where 32 people died in broad daylight, Swaniesville, Krugersdorp; 27 died. Sam Ntuli's funeral; 18 died.

Heads of State throughout the world express their sympathy to the families in ease of disaster. Mr. De Klerk has been strangely silent on this matter, when black deaths are involved. We welcome his sympathy message, but it blues with crocodile tears.

He and his cabinet colleagues have been making provocative statements that could only worsen the situation. In Tokyo Mr. De Klerk condemned mass action and said that he had contingency plans to deal with such actions. Mr. Hernus Kriel made it clear that people who marched would not be protected against attackers.

We have said on many occasions before, that the regime has the capacity to stop the violence, but have not used that capacity to stop it. For years in the Transvaal the carrying in public of dangerous weapons was a criminal offence. He legalised them after the unbanning of the Que. By then thousands of our people had been killed or injured with these same weapons. Why would a head of government pass laws to give capacity to murderers to slaughter innocent people?

In May 1991 at a meeting between The Que and the regime it was agreed that hostels would be phased out and transformed into family units. It was further agreed that in the meantime fences would be erected to prevent armed hostel dwellers coming out, and armed residents attacking hostels. This has not been done.

In 1990 Human Rights lawyer, Peter Harris warned Mr. De Klerk, Gen. v.d. Merwe, and Gen. Erasmus in two letters of impending attacks in Sebokeng by members of a well known black organization. Yet armed people were allowed to enter the townships and to massacre innocent residents.

About October 1990 at a meeting with Mr. De Klerk and Vlok I drew attention to the fact that residents in Zoukiziziwe had been evicted from their homes by members of the same black organization, supported by the SAP, and their homes and property taken. The homes and property were now being used by those who attacked them. De Klerk said he would investigate. Nearly 2 years later the situation remains the same. I have been given no information on what the investigations revealed.

I repeat that just as the Nazis in Germany killed people not because they were a threat to the security of state, but because they were Jews, the NP regime is killing our people surely because they are black. They are killing our people in an effort to stop The Que getting into power.

Mr. De Klerk showed his insensitivity and contempt for the feelings of blacks by what he did and said on 16.6.92. June 16 is the sacred day when we mourn the killing of our youth 26 years ago. He chose that same day to go to Ulundi to launch an attack on the democratic movement.

With his involvement and that of his party in the violence he had he had the temerity to visit an area where people's feelings have been flawed because their beloved ones were massacred with the same weapons of death that he had legalised.

That was a clear provocation. But we must still ask the question why did De Klerk now choose to visit these killing fields when he never cared to do so before? You are all free to make your guesses. But one thing is certain. The NP has already started its election campaign among blacks. May it be that he chose to shed crocodile tears, and to visit this bereaved town in order to win votes? If so he badly miscalculated.

An officer in his presence gave an order to shoot people without any provocation. It is not likely that an officer would give such an order in his presence without getting his permission. We are back to the Sharpeville days and the gap/ gulf between the oppressed and the oppressor has overnight become unbridgeable. Mr. De Klerk owes loyalty not to the people of South Africa, but to the NP. He wants to keep it in power forever by brute force. He sees that as his duty. We have our own duty to do. We are committed to the principle of democracy as understood throughout the world; and we are giving to assert that principle through peaceful mass action.

Mr. De Klerk addressed a press conference at the end of his visit. He talked about his regime taking tough action, clearly against the democratic movement. He sounded incoherent, presumably because of the rough time he experienced. I hope when he recovers from his shock, he will weigh the issues soberly. The introduction of anti-democratic measures will result in a defiance campaign of major dimensions in this country. We will resist such measures to the bitter end.

As we brace ourselves for whatever lies ahead we must call for the strictest discipline in our ranks. Do not allow yourselves to be provoked into violence. Be careful of provocateurs. We have won many freedom battles precisely because of that discipline. The horizon, that discipline because the life blood of the democratic movement.

What is our response to this challenge? The negotiation process is clearly in disarray. I am calling an emergency meeting of the NEC of the ANC on the 23.6.92 to examine options. I can no longer explain to our people why we keep on talking to men who are conducting a war against us, men of corruption who kill innocent people.

There is a bilateral meeting between The Que and the NP scheduled for next Tuesday. I have instructed the S.G. to cancel that meeting. The voice of our people is calling out strong and clear. Their demand is: no
more contact with the regime will be guided in this regard by the NEC and other democratic formations.

We call on all our people to observe a day of mourning, to stay in their homes and to close business.

We call on to close KwaMadala Hostel which has become a haven for those who spread death, destruction and fear.

We urge Mr. De Klerk and his Min. of Police to stop inciting violent attacks on The Que because of mass action. Nothing they can do will stop mass action other than slaughter of innocent people.

We urge the SAP to clean the Force of those elements who murder in order to save the NP. We make a special appeal to black members of the SAP not to be party to killing their own kilt and kin. The freedom we are fighting for is for them as well. Only under a fully democratic government will they rise to the highest positions in their professions.

We also urge the whites to join the ANC in its effort to win the struggle for a non racial democracy in our country. The sectarian policies of the NP.

Members of Inkatha should not allow themselves to be pawns of the NP in its crusade to destroy the democratic movement. There is enough room for you in the struggle for the immediate transfer of power to the people.

All covert police houses and operations in The Vaal must be exposed. The structure of SAP in this region is rotten through and through and this violence must be stopped. The whole of that structure is totally dismaulled on every officer transferred from this area. One of the most controversial figures in the SAP is Capt. Craig Kotze who is tarnishing whatever reputation and credibility the SAP might still have. He is a propaganda agent of the NP in police uniform.

We urge business to take a clear stand in this bouffant. They must commit themselves clearly to the demand for the immediate installation of democracy as far as the int. community is concerned.

I am going to request the secretary general of the UN to call a special session of the Security Council on the massacres committed by Mr. De Klerk and his regime. I will address that session.

We call on the anti- apartheid movement to intensify the struggle against apartheid South Africa, and to pressurize their respective governments not to hurry to hold sanctions against SA. De Klerk should not be rewarded for waging violence against unarmed people.

It is a disturbing fact that the community is so quiet about the ongoing massacres. Our people are making serious allegations about the co-operation between Western governments and Mr. De Klerk. Why would he pose as a reformer and democrat, and at the same time allow indiscriminate murder of innocent people.

In conclusion, I want to announce that the ANC is proposing the establishment of a Disaster Fund for all the victims of this violence throughout the country. Such a fund is to be administrated by the ICRE. In this regard the ANC has made an initial donation of R100, 000. We urge De Klerk and the NP to join us in this effort. We hope they will contribute more than the R8 250, 000 they gave to IFP. We appeal to black and white business and to all organizations, religious, sports to give freely to this worthy initiative.

Close your ranks and do not weaken the democratic forces by quarrelling among yourselves. Those people, no matter who they are, who create tensions, are not freedom fighters. They have no visions and they do not love you. We must speak with one voice.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 13/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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