Item 1141 - Speech by President Nelson Mandela to the Portugeuse Community

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ZA COM MR-S-1141


Speech by President Nelson Mandela to the Portugeuse Community


  • 1991-07-12 (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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Speech to Portugese Community

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  • English

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Sinyoraz I Sinyoris Boa Noit

Ladies and Gentlemen
It is an honour for the African National Congress, represented here by myself and members of our National Executive Committee, to be here with you all this evening.

The relationship between Portugal and South Africa is a very long one it dates back to as early as the 1552 when Portuguese ships were wrecked on the shores of this country leaving survivors who trekked north and some were integrated with the people of our country. We hope that the true history of our country will emerge and reflect these facts. Today I have come to speak to fellow South Africans and also the largest expatriate community in our country.

Let me say at the outset that we are facing a crucial period in our history, a time when many changes will occur and a time when changes will not be welcomed by all the people in this country.

We have lived through a time when the apartheid laws have created false conditions of privilege for certain sections of our community and a culture of privilege for certain sections of our community and a culture of fear of the future has thus been inculcated. Read letter. The African National Congress regards every person living in this country as a valuable contributor to stabilisation and to the transformation from a divided country to a united non racial and democratic country.

I would like in passing to refer to the situation that occurred in Angola, Mozambique. And also on the situation which occurred just post the of Zimbabwe. The expatriate communities in all these countries left the countries very abruptly and lost their land and their investments and today, many are returning to these countries. We reiterate that we believe that every South African, no matter what origin, has to contribute to the transformation of this country we would like to see the Portuguese community participating fully in this process as well.

The African National Congress is committed to a government which will be elected by a majority of the people of this country, we believe that the political party which is elected in a free and fair election, based on a one person one vote perspective, must and should govern the country. We do understand that this instantly conjures images of domination of white people by the black majority, but we want to say here to you tonight, the African National Congress is the proponent of a non racial society and believes that the government of a future South Africa must be a non racial government.

In 1955 the ANC adopted the Freedom Charter as its document of principles and at that time we asserted that the land shall belong to all who live in it, we have fought for the principles embodied in the Freedom Charter and we hold by them. However, the Freedom Charter has been a living document and the ANC has developed its policies over the years to meet the demands of the majority and to acclimatise those to the conditions pertaining in the country.

Our economic policies are geared towards ensuring that we all enjoy maximum prosperity and in this regard we have learned from the situation in southern Africa. The ANC is advocating a polity of a mixed economy, thus giving the people and the government a say in the growth rate and the benefits that can be achieved from a balanced economy. Apartheid did give rise to an imbalance in the benefits derived from the wealth of our country, it did allow a small minority to achieve skills and to monopolise the wealth of our country. We are saying that everyone can be a beneficiary under a well ordered economic policy. The ANC is not advocating that the monopoly of the market economy cannot rest with a few major multinationals. Expand.

The ANC is also the proponent of a bill of rights which will guarantee the basic human rights of every individual, the right to education, housing and health and equality before the law. Again these ideals were embodied in the Freedom Charter and we believe that peace and prosperity can be achieved if we build a country together that respects the rights of all people.

The violence in our country since the unbanning of the ANC in February 1990 has been the major concern of our organisation and we have embarked on extensive bilateral and multilateral talks with all the parties involved in the violence. We do wish to state here that we believe a very well organised campaign of destabilisation has been in place since June 1990. This campaign has been conducted from elements within the government and from organisations to the right of the government, who have not been able to accept the inevitability of the change from apartheid rule to majority rule. We have lost many lives in this country and our concern is to end the violence and to work for peace. We have called for a Constituent Assembly, where all the political parties can contest for seats in a general election, and where those who are elected can sit together and build the constitution of the future South Africa jointly.

We have also called for a patriotic front conference of all the liberation movements in this country so that we could develop a common approach to the process we all regard as the most productive end to apartheid. These are all steps we regard as being pertinent to a peaceful transition.

I would also wish to address the relationship the ANC has with the South African Communist Party. During our many years of illegality and exile, the SACP has been our ally and has fought against the atrocities of apartheid with us. We wish to remind you all of the allied invasion of Nazi Germany, when the western powers welcomed the Soviet Union as an ally, the ANC, COSATU and the SACP have formed a tripartite alliance to battle apartheid.

Ladies and gentlemen we welcome any questions you may wish to pose to myself and other members of the NEC of our organisation and I sincerely hope that this will be the beginning of a relationship of dialogue and consultation between the African National Congress and the Portuguese community.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 18/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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