Item 1120 - Address by Deputy President CDE N.R Mandela at East London ANC Rally

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ZA COM MR-S-1120


Address by Deputy President CDE N.R Mandela at East London ANC Rally


  • 1990-04-01 (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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Comrades and Compatriots

We bring you greetings from the ANC, our ally the South African Communist Party and the entire leadership of our movement. We salute the many heroes and heroines who have sacrificed so much and laid down their lives for freedom.

We are here today, out of prison and unbanned as a result of your selfless struggle and commitment. In the darkness of apartheid prisons, we found strength, comfort and hope in your dedication to freedom, peace and justice. Your heroic struggles has fundamentally changed the face of South Africa.

Our goal of building a democratic, non-racial South Africa enjoys the support of the whole world. We stand at the threshold of liberation. Your struggle has made this possible. The obstacles in our way should not discourage us. We must spare neither strength nor effort in pursuit of our cherished goal. The struggle must continue. In taking the struggle forward, we must know our strengths and weaknesses. We must clearly see the obstacles. We must fully know and understand the tasks before us.

As far as negotiations are concerned, we have noted President de Klerk's sincerity. We also say that this must not lead us to ignore the harsh realities of apartheid. We are duty bound to the struggle and to the people to identify the obstacles to peace. The state of emergency is still in force. State violence continues against our people in many parts of the country: in Sebokeng, Venda, Ikageng where seven activists have been brutally murdered by apartheid forces. Apartheid death squads and vigilantes are still running rampant throughout our country. Political prisoners are still in apartheid jails.

These conditions do not create a climate conducive to negotiations. There is no free political activity in the face of violence against the people and their democratic formations. It is premature to end or suspend the armed struggle. We cannot ask our people to stop their self-defence against apartheid violence. The conditions that have made the armed struggle necessary are still in place.

Now de Klerk has said he is an advocate of peace in Namibia. But we must ask whether the state as whole is an advocate of peace in South Africa? We must say clearly that the only way to advocate peace in South Africa is by creating a suitable climate for negotiations, it is by meeting the demands in the Harare Declaration and ending state violence against our peaceful defiance campaign and protests.

Only yesterday, the government has once again imposed a general ban on meetings - both indoor and outdoor. This is a counter-productive step. It must be made clear that the ban on gatherings will not stern the tide of resistance. If anything, increasing repression can only increase the crisis facing the apartheid government.

The ANC is committed to peace. We have made our commitment clear to the regime and to the world through the Harare Declaration. This declaration offers the only genuine route to negotiations and peace. We call on the government of Mr de Klerk to demonstrate its commitment to peace by meeting our reasonable demands. We must put an end to apartheid, it is fast plunging our country into chaos and waste.

It is because of our commitment to peace that we have agreed to meet with Mr de Klerk and his government to thrash out ways of removing the remaining obstacles to negotiations. It is also for this reason that we call for the anti-apartheid struggle to be intensified. We call also on the international community to apply all possible pressure for the dismantling of apartheid and the creation of a climate for free political activity. The changes through negotiations and other forms of struggle must involve the ordinary masses of our people. Every man and woman must shape the future non-racial, democratic South Africa.

Our people totally reject the Bantustans - they desire to be re-incorporated into South Africa. They want to be part and parcel of the forces that shape the future of our country. This rejection and desire has been translated into active mass struggles directed at the pillars of this system. In the Transkei and Ciskei, the corrupt and repressive organs of apartheid have been removed by the popular struggles.

What we need to do now is to translate this popular support into strong organization at all levels as part and parcel of the democratic forces and to ensure disciplined struggle on the ground. Without strong organization, ensuring active participation by all of our people, disciplined struggle is impossible.

We must build the ANC at every level of our lives. It is more urgent than ever before to build strong civic, youth, women and teacher organizations. We must take the task of organising every home, street and village more earnestly. The demand and struggle for incorporation must involve the broadest consultation and participation of our people. This is why the ANC together with the MDM support the holding of referenda on the dismantling of the Bantustans.

Those people who were or are part of the Bantustan structures but are attempting to break away from it must be encouraged and welcomed into our ranks. They must not be judged just by how often they have talks with the leadership of the ANC, but how they struggle together with the people on the ground to eliminate apartheid.

We are marching through a most difficult, complex period on our peoples' road to freedom. It is also a period of great promise.

During the time when we had to conduct our struggle under total illegality, it was the support of our people, the discipline of our underground networks and MK that helped carry us through to the present period. Even at this time, many good comrades failed to adequately master the correct ways of working amongst the people. In many instances one or other clandestine network or grouping resorted to legitimising their own outlook however well intentioned and however sincerely held, by claiming the authority of the African National Congress.

Today we need even more the same discipline and
dedication. I have always maintained that I am a loyal and disciplined member of the ANC. When I make this claim I make it not from the point of view of my personal outlook and position. I make it because that is the bedrock on which the organisation rests.

In this complex and promising period we require discipline and dedication not only from the individual members of the ANC but from the entire mass of the oppressed people. We cannot ask our people through their united mass action to display such extraordinary level of discipline if we, the members of the ANC, individually and collectively, do not become the living examples of what we expect from our people.

In this organisation, the ANC, we have one president and that is 0 R Tambo; we have one leadership body and that is the National Executive Committee situated in Lusaka All members of our organisation are required to respect and adhere to the guidance that comes to us from the president and the NEC. That is the first and basic requirement of our discipline and our unity of purpose.

Anyone who has an agenda of their own and conducts their activates in ways which are not compatible with the guidance of the president and the NEC is a threat to our discipline cohesion and organisation. Such people are dangerous to our cause and we should be on guard against the tendencies they represent. You the people, are the guardians of our discipline, cohesion and steadfastness. I call on you to measure all of us in the ANC irrespective of the positions we hold, to test what we say against what our president and the NEC say. And wherever we fail this test to bring us back to the correct paths of struggle.

The challenge ahead can only be successfully taken up with all the flexibility that the current situation requires if we march together as a single and indivisible force.

In conclusion the unbanning of the ANC and SACP has created the potential to take our struggle to greater heights. We must carry out the following tasks:
- Build the ANC at all levels
- Build strong organization of youth, civic, labour, women, culture, sports, etc.
- Campaign for a democratic and non-racial elections
- Campaign to end the violence against the people in Natal and other areas.
- Build the trade union movement in the Bantustans.
- Build a strong teacher organisation and the parent teacher and student associations. (PTSA's)
- The community must exert pressure on the authorities to address the grievances of the teachers as an urgent step to ensure education takes place at school.

We must build the structures that will end the causing of suspicion and violence amongst our people. Structures that uphold the highest levels of discipline and democratic practice. We must be on the look out for agent provocateurs who are bent on causing problems in our organisations and communities.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 14/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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