Item 1219 - Notes For the Northern Transvaal People's Forum, July 1994

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ZA COM MR-S-1219


Notes For the Northern Transvaal People's Forum, July 1994


  • 1994-07-13 (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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First People's Forum, Northern Transvaal (Limpopo)

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  • English

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1. It is difficult to find words to express my happiness at being in the Northern Transvaal Province. I thank you most profoundly for the warm welcome you have given our delegation.
2. This is a joyous moment for us because we are among the people, where we belong. This is an important occasion for us, because you voted us into office and it is our duty to come and report to you, the people. We are keen to get your views, to understand your conditions, to get proposals from you about how we should conduct government affairs. The time of apartheid politicians who evade and avoid the people is over. The ANC belongs to the people. And we will come back to you over and over again for advise and even for criticism. We are your servants.
3. This is the first in a series of People's Forums that we will be holding throughout the country. Forums in which the African National Congress wishes to congratulate the people for your victory over apartheid; to thank you for putting the people's movement in power and to report on progress that we are making in the Government of National Unity.
4. It is obvious why we came to the Northern - Transvaal first. Is it simply because this province is in the extreme north of the country? Of course not. Is it because we have some political parties here who hold extreme views? Of course not. Is it because Northern Transvaal is sometimes extremely hot? Of course not.
5. The reason is that Northern Transvaal performed extremely well in the elections. That is why we asked our Headquarters to make Northern Transvaal our first port of call. Because 92% of the people here said yes to freedom, to a better life for all, to the ANC which represents these ideals.
6. On behalf of the ANC I thank the people of the Northern Transvaal warmly for this: the pensioners who persevered in the long queues; the youth who mobilised under difficult conditions; the traditional leaders who stood by the people's movement; the women, farm- and factory-workers, students, civil servants, professionals, religious leaders and many others. To all these patriots we say: Thank You.
7. Through our efforts, we have created the basis for the implementation of programmes to better the lives of all South Africans. Yes, we must celebrate. But now is the time to roll up our sleeves and tackle the problems.
8. On Thursday 18 August it will be a hundred days since the inauguration of the President. I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the people of South Africa for managing the transition so well. The Premier, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, his cabinet and legislature as well as the people of the Northern Transvaal have performed splendidly in this regard. You wisely decided to accommodate the Freedom Front in your government, a party which, before the elections was seen by many as one of our worst enemies. I should say that at national level we are making great progress with the Freedom Front in dealing with major national questions. General Constand Viljoen has been very constructive. We have also had discussions with Ferdie Hartzenberg of the CP, and we are making progress in dealing with the apprehensions they have about democracy.
9. Reconciliation is central to the programmes we have set ourselves. We should at all times undermine attempts of those who seek to drown the country in blood. By denying them this space, we have created the necessary environment for reconstruction and development; for investments and a growing economy.
10. What also needs to be commended is the patience of the people - to give the government time to start implementing its programmes. But this cannot be taken for granted. Delivery should start, however modest it maybe. We are also worried about problems in the work-places where reports of discrimination are still rife.
11. Progress has already been made in the implementation of the RDP. This programme has now been adopted as the unanimous platform of the whole of the Government of National Unity. It is a programme of the people of South Africa. Its main objective is to ensure that people enjoy all the rights in the constitution, to improve their lives for the better, to ensure economic growth and more investments.
12. When we opened parliament in May, we announced certain projects to help kick-start the RDP. What progress has been made in this regard?
12.1. Free health careā€¦
* Massive response because people needed this.
* Some problems such as overcrowding and drugs, but ministry addressing this.
* More important is new allocations that would be given to the building of clinics especially in rural areas and informal settlements.
12.2. Electrification scheme:
* Proceeding apace.
* We understand that in a number of rural areas, there have also been many connections made in the homes of farm-workers. This needs to be intensified, at the same time as we bring electricity to all the rural homes.
12.3. Feeding in primary schools:
* Plans finalised, and to start by 1st September.
* However delayed by lack of community organisation and infrastructure, which is an important lesson to note.
12.4. Urban and rural renewal:
* Projects to start in townships in a number of cities - with emphasis on areas affected by violence, also ensure geographic spread.
* In rural areas: projects on resettlement, water projects, and so on. Northern Transvaal will receive emphasis in this regard. Minister Jay Naidoo and Minister Kader Asmal who is in charge of Water Affairs have informed me that many projects will be launched in the Northern Transvaal. All in all, we want to start water and sanitation projects in the Northern Transvaal and KwaZulu/Natal serving about 1,7-million people. In the Northern Transvaal in particular, water provision schemes will immediately be launched in: Nebo, Kutama/Sinthumule, Makhado and Bushbuckridge.
13. I have been receiving reports from Ministries and there is encouraging progress in almost all areas - capable people doing their work well. This applies also to the Provinces who are also taking their own initiatives. The Northern Transvaal Province is no exception in this regard. We are aware, that an area like this, which has been left underdeveloped by the apartheid regime, should receive special attention: health education, attracting investors to set up their operations here, etc. This Province has lots of potential but it is hampered by lack of investments. Tourism can help exploit and preserve the natural beauty and the unusual ecology; it can be a vehicle for job-creation and fostering people's participation. In addition, there is no doubt that the agricultural potential of the Province is great.
14. We should also admit that most of the current RDP projects were planned from the centre. Now we will ensure more community involvement. We have also set out stringent mechanisms of accountability and proper business plans for each project, so as to obviate waste and corruption.
15. There is also an urgent need to restructure the public service and reorient it to serve the people and the objectives of the RDP.
16. The reports we are receiving indicate that there has not been proper planning on the continued operation of the ANC as an organisation outside parliament and government. At national level, we are attending to this issue, including the redeployment of cadres to do full-time ANC work. We need a strong ANC to help implement the RDP, to ensure that we win the next election with an even larger majority. We are also working on programmes to deploy MP's in constituencies through ANC sub regions, so that they are at all times in touch with the people.
17. In whatever we do today, we must ensure that all our organisations seize firmly the challenges of victory. We are no longer an opposition alliance - all of us, the ANC, SACP, COSATU, Civics, CONTRALESA, student, youth, women and teacher bodies, and many others. We need to take it upon ourselves to speed up the implementation of the RDP. We should of course complain and criticise where the government goes wrong. But we should not forget that our main task in this phase is to ensure that we mobilise people to reconstruct and develop our country.
18. We expect that structures of the alliance and the MDM here in the Northern Transvaal have by now got together to strategise on how we win next year's local government elections with an even bigger majority. This is the most crucial challenge that we face. Without democratic local government structures in both urban and rural areas, it will not be possible to implement the RDP.
13 July 1994

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 21/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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