Item 1215 - Draft Statement by ANC President Nelson Mandela at the Endorsement Dinner

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ZA COM MR-S-1215


Draft Statement by ANC President Nelson Mandela at the Endorsement Dinner


  • 1994-03-14 (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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Mr Master of Ceremonies,
Distinguished guests,
Members of the National Executive of the African National Congress,
Ladies and Gentlement,
Comrades and Friends

Tonight is a very special evening, and we express our deep appreciation to all of you for joining us.

We are a little over 40 days away from the watershed elections of 27 April. Decades of struggle, of sacrifice, of hope and despair have been spent battling to achieve that most fundamental of rights for all individuals - to elect a government of their choice, freely and fairly.

Millions of South Africans, the wretched of this rich land of ours, have kept hope alive convinced that this day will dawn.
What is being asked of all political leaders is so fundamental, and so simple: submit your policies to public scrutiny, and let the people decide through that most basic of rights, a secret vote freely cast, who they want to govern them for the next five years.

Yet it is precisely this judgement that many of our fellow South Africans fear most. For many, their position has been obtained through privilege and patronage; entrenched through abuse of power and deceit.

This election is significant for many reasons. It must restore dignity to those denied it; it must mark an end to racial intolerance; it must build a better life for all, bringing basic necessities to millions - clean running water, health care, electricity and a roof over one's head.

To do all this, we must end the violence that is tearing our communities apart. This country cries out for peace, for tolerance, for a new beginning. It is time for the finger-pointing to stop. The ANC will take responsibility to end the violence, irrespective of the perpetrators. For we say there is such thing as an IFP, SAP or ANC murder or rape; there is only the crime of murder or rape, which should be investigated as a criminal activity and the perpetrators punished to the full extent of the law.

We know the problems we inherit, and together we must find the solutions. We all know our past. And while we do not want to dwell on it, it is necessary to know where we come from, for those who do not acknowledge the past cannot be trusted with the future.

And what we have achieved has been built on solid foundations; on the vision and dedication of outstanding men and women, many of whom have not survived to see this great moment - close colleagues like my dearest friend, Oliver Tambo.

Election fever is sweeping this country. As we have witnessed in Bophuthatswana, people are determined that they will not be deprived of their right to vote. The answer to the spoilers lies in building an unstoppable forward movement to the elections and after.

All those who bluster on about civil war were given a glimpse of the abyss which they are trying to plunge us into.

In Mafikeng alone forty seven persons were killed, the majority of them gunned down by the commandoes of the White ultra-right without provocation. We extend our condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones in the course of these events. Our sympathy goes out also to the bereaved families of the ultra- rightists, whose misguided actions ended in tragedy.

It reflects a scenario the ANC is doing everything possible to prevent. But to succeed we need decisive action and the backing of all who want peace and prosperity now and in the future.

For this problem is not one that will simply disappear after the elections. A political solution is the only answer, and a new government needs to be strong, able to act decisively to bring jobs, new investment, peace and security.

We have placed job creation, the restoration of peace and stability, and the thorough democratisation of South African
society at the top of our agenda. The most valuable investment our country can make in the future is in its wonderful people, expanding their opportunities for education and training.

Greater opportunities will enhance the climate for economic growth, which in turn will create greater stability, and stability is the indispensable condition for the thriving of democracy.

And so tonight I make a special appeal to you all: we need to look forward, not backwards. We are humbled by the visible confidence vested in us. We cannot let people down. We need the energy and unity of purpose that comes from the conviction and hope of a better tomorrow. Our task is to provide a positive outlet for that energy, to let it work to build our

We cannot do that alone. We need all of you with us, supporting us, guiding us. There are unique moments in time, both for individuals and countries. This is South Africa's moment. We need to actively welcome the window of opportunity being presented, for it will not come again.

The whole world is watching our progress, willing us on. As a young man I decided to study the law with a view to using what little talent I had in the service of justice and the cause of my people. Over the years, whatever the hardship, I have tried to fulfil my obligations.

Tonight, I stand before you and pledge that I will do all in my power to bring peace and prosperity to our country. I ask you to join me in tackling the tasks that lie ahead. They are daunting indeed, but together we can get South Africa working, bring light into the lives of our children and all know the peace and security we yearn for.

We count on your support and endorsement of the ANC and its manifesto if you share these goals.

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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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