Item 1214 - Statement of ANC President Nelson Mandela on Constitutional Negotiations and Elections

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ZA COM MR-S-1214


Statement of ANC President Nelson Mandela on Constitutional Negotiations and Elections


  • 1994-02-16 (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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  • English

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South Africa is today at the crossroads. The way forward requires vision and balanced leadership which transcends narrow political interests.

Great progress has been made towards the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994. Already, parties which have committed themselves to agreements arising out of multi-party negotiations are out in the hustings competing for votes in what has become the most exciting political mobilisation that our country has ever seen. Such is true democracy.

Yet there are others, steeped in the politics of the past - the politics of racism, ethnic chauvinism and violence - who seek to drown the process in blood. This shall not and cannot be allowed to continue.
It is necessary that all South Africans unite in a common endeavour to deal with this danger. We cannot allow the birth of our society as a united, non-racial and democratic nation to be held to ransom by captives of the apartheid past.
Now is the time for all our people - black and white, whatever our language or ethnic origins - to speak with one voice. The product of the negotiations process must reach its culmination with the election on 27 April of a new democratic government based on the will of all the people.

In this regard, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ANC has reviewed the current situation and reaffirmed the following National Executive Committee decisions:
Firstly, that the elections on 27 April, 1994 cannot under any circumstances be postponed.
Secondly, that the integrity and sovereignty of South Africa, as defined in the
interim constitution, cannot be tempered with.
And thirdly, that measures need to be taken to address the fears of those who feel left out of the process, either as a result of misconceptions about what it entails or deliberate misinformation by those not interested in a genuine resolution of our problems.

In order to address these issues, the NWC reaffirmed decisions of the National Executive Committee with regard to the following matters which have recently been under negotiations:

1. Inclusion in the Interim Constitution of a Constitutional Principle on self-
determination, based on the negotiations conducted with the AVF and others; as well as provisions for a mechanism and process for the consideration of the issue of a volkstaat.

2. Provision for voters to cast 2 votes: one each for national and provincial representatives.

3. Amendment to the Interim Constitution to address the following provincial matters
3.1. a constitutional provision for provincial finances based on agreements reached in negotiations with the Freedom Alliance;
3.2. a constitutional provision allowing provinces, in drafting provincial constitutions, to determine their own legislative and executive structures;
3.3. in order to grant greater security to the newly-elected democratic provincial governments, amend provisions of the interim constitution to ensure that powers presently granted are not substantially diminished when the Constitutional Assembly drafts the new constitution; and
3.4. that the democratically-elected provincial legislatures will decide on names for their provinces, and that, in the interim constitution, the province of Natal can be renamed KwaZulu/Natal.

Pursuant to these decisions, the ANC will recommend to other parties and the Transitional Executive Council that, in a matter of days:
• the multi-party forum should convene to discuss these proposed amendments;
• if the multi-party forum so decides, parliament should convene to adopt amendments agreed upon; and
• the date for registration of parties should be extended by a few days.

We wish to reiterate that these measures should only be implemented if they do not result in the postponement of the 27 April elections.

The ANC reaffirms its readiness to confer with His Majesty King Zwelethini on issues of concern to the monarch and other traditional leaders.

We are firmly of the view that these proposals remove all the remaining obstacles for the parties which have not yet done so, to register and become part of the process. We do however recognise their right not to take part in the democratic elections. But no one has the right to disrupt the elections. No one should be allowed to do so.

We wish to issue a solemn reminder to those who think that they can use force to disrupt the democratic process that the people of this country have both the capacity and the will to use their power to defeat these attempts. We call on our people to exercise maximum vigilance and ready themselves for any such attempts.

History and future generations would judge the current South African leadership harshly if we failed to take all the necessary measures to resolve South Africa's problems peacefully and through dialogue.

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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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