Item 1213 - Speech by Nelson Mandela at ANC Rally in Steenberg

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ZA COM MR-S-1213


Speech by Nelson Mandela at ANC Rally in Steenberg


  • 1994-02-13 (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 Rally

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  • English

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Thank you Allan for the kind words. I am very, very glad to be here in the Steenberg - Retreat area. I always look forward to coming down to the Cape, as you know it was my home for 27 years, although I never was able to appreciate the city's beauty.
In 72 days- on 27 APRIL all South Africans will have the opportunity to elect the government of their choice.
For the first time we all will stand tall and proud as equal citizens in our country.
These elections will be about our common desire for freedom, for peace and a better life for all South Africans.
On that day we will have to make a choice.
It will be a choice of whether we want 5 more years of the same thing - of despair and no opportunity.
Or a new beginning, a future of hope, democracy and opportunity.
It will be choice between having an ANC government with the will to govern and a plan to get our country growing with jobs and opportunities.
Or the continued economic mess of the present, unemployment, corruption and wastage.
It is a choice of having an ANC government which understands the needs of the future because it know the neglect and division of the past.
On 27 April you in Retreat, Steenberg and Grassy Park can make the difference.
You can say loudly and clearly we want a government that puts people first.
We want a government that respects peoples' rights.
We want a government that listens to the people.
We want a government that will unite the country and build a better life for all.
We do not want a government who would like us to believe that the past does not exist. We do not want a government that will ignore the backlogs of the past.
There are some parties that believe that if they change their flag and their colours that they can be trusted.
Let them know that we are not fooled.
The Western Cape has a proud tradition of struggle and resistance; of fighting for the rights of all people.
We need only think of Dr Abdurrahman, Cissie Gool, Alex la Guma, George Peak, Benny Kies, Basil February, Dulcie September, Neville Alexander, Liz Abrahams, Reg September, James April, John Erentzen, Cheryl Carolous, and Ashley Kriel, to see that the coloured community has stood firmly over the years for justice and peace and equality.
For years the coloured community has been treated by the National Party Government as second class citizens with inferior housing, education health care and social benefits.
You have fought to bring justice. You have suffered to bring equality and opportunities for all. You have died to bring our freedom nearer.
When you stood up against apartheid; when you fought for better education for your children; when you fought to protect the houses built by your grandfathers and property owned for many generations in families against the Group Areas Act, they removed you by force to the Cape Flats and other areas. They divided us and sub divided us.
During 1976 and 1980, when our children demanded a better education system, they were shot at, teargassed and beaten in the streets of Athlone - here in Spine Road nearby as well as in Bonteheuwel, Mannenberg and Mitchells Plain.
Many families were left childless.
You have been with the ANC fighting to end this unjust system.
But you have survived. They have not broken your spirit and they have not succeeded in dividing us.
As I drove through the area I could see the scars of 48 years of National Party rule. I see neglect; our children have no parks to play in, there are very few trees; our houses and schools have very few facilities; many of our areas are unsafe.
But I also saw the graffiti of the walls of many houses which reads 'NOW IS THE TIME'!!!
It is a message that calls for change; it calls on us to build a better life; to work together so that the future of our children is secure and safe.
A future where no-one is left out, and no-one gets left behind. A future where all our children can reach the fullest of their God- given abilities, where our grandmothers and grandfathers can grow old in dignity and assured of pensions. A future where our school-leavers have jobs and training.
The Western Cape has enormous potential. And the ANC is committed to developing the Western Cape.
Let me tell you what we plan to do. While everyone throws up their hands in despair and point fingers, we in the ANC want to roll up our sleeves and do the job.
Yes we are ready to tackle the problems in the Western Cape and we have a plan to do it. We know the mess created by Apartheid over the years will not be easy to put right.
But we know you can- make the difference. The ANC has a record of working together with all South Africans.
We know the coloured community did not let us down in the hour of need.
You were there to fight for better schools;
You were there in Kliptown when we drew up the Freedom Charter.
You were there when we fought for lower rents and better services.
You were there when we formed the UDF, the United Democratic Front, to fight the Tricameral system.
You have a place in the ANC .Together we can make a difference and build a better life for all .
Our Manifesto (raise it so that every one can see it) is our plan to get our country growing.
It has one goal - To build a better life for all. And by working together we can achieve this.
We will create jobs and better incomes. We intend starting with a public works programme that will provide work for 2.5 million over ten years - building roads, schools, clinics, recreation centres and housing where they are needed.
We will encourage small business by changing licensing laws, training and access to loans.
In creating jobs we will protect the rights of workers and end discrimination.
Education will be a priority. Already R23 billion is spent but it is not used to the benefit of all. We want the proper conditions for education, proper facilities and a sufficient supply of text books.
We plan:
• to introduce a single education system that provides ten years of compulsory, free schooling.
• to double the number of text books and to provide more classrooms as well as repairing and modernizing new facilities.
• to provide national bursary and loan schemes.
• to give special assistance to women.
• to develop the existing system of pre-school educare.
Finally, we will improve our teacher training schemes and their conditions of employment.
Too little has been done with regard to housing.
More can be done and more will be done with an ANC government.
There are 7 million homeless people in our country.
We intend to do everything possible to address this problem and will work with banks, financial institutions, the unions and employers, on programmes to build houses.
We calculate that within 5 years the ANC government can:
-build one million homes.
-provide running water and flush toilets to over 1 million families
-electrify 2.5 million rural and urban homes.
Our country continues to be plagued with crime and poverty, because at present we have a government which does not really care about the majority of the people.
It reminds me of a story that I was once told: The person said that the Nationalist Government is a person with two arms; one long and one short. One long arm to take away as much as possible from the people (such as taxes), and a short arm that gives back as little as possible to the people. And when it does it usually gives to those who stand nearest. We know who they are.
We stand for a caring government. One that listens to the people and one that ensures that we have hope; where our grandmothers and grandfathers can grow in dignity, our disable can be assured of assistance and our children of unconditional security.
We want to eliminate discrimination. No more second class status. We should not only talk of equality, we must do something.
Opportunities must be opened to all who have been discriminated against as coloureds, Africans and Indians; as women and the disabled.
Despite years of hardship and humiliation, you have survived. They have not broken the spirit of resistance of our people.
They have not succeeded in dividing us.
The ANC is your home.
We can change things for the better in the Western Cape.
On the 27 April you can vote for change. You can vote for a better life for all.
In conclusion let me say that:
In 1986, when I suggested to the government that the time had come for us to resolve South Africa's problems through negotiations, I was confident that my endeavour to bring peace and democracy through dialogue would finally bear fruit.
Today we are almost there. This is tribute, above all, to the efforts and sacrifices of millions of South Africans, to you who have suffered, been discriminated against and been treated as second class citizens.
The ANC's vision of a South Africa in which people live in peace and with equal opportunities, is an ideal which sustained me during my 27 years in prison. It is an ideal for which I was prepared to sacrifice my life. An ideal which together we can realise on 27 April 1994.
I live in the hope that those years and the sacrifices of my compatriots were not in vain. I am confident that over the coming years, we will work together to build a united country that respects religion, puts people first, and creates a better life for all.
Our children and grandchildren should never know the violence and the suffering, the shame and the pain which many of us endured. They should enjoy their childhood secure in family life, and grow up with equal opportunities to live life to the full.
I call on you to join us in building reconciliation, peace and a better life for all.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 20/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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