Item 1318 - Speakers Notes for President Nelson Mandela meeting with KwaZulu/Natal Branch Executives

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ZA COM MR-S-1318


Speakers Notes for President Nelson Mandela meeting with KwaZulu/Natal Branch Executives


  • 1996-11-14 (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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Meeting with KwaZulu/Natal Branch Executives

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  • English

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1. It is always a great pleasure to speak to comrades from the ANC. Every week, I give so many speeches, whether to business people, foreign visitors to our country, or our own parliament. But the times I most enjoy are those that I get to spend with the people whom I regard as the engine of the ANC.

2. You comrades who work in our branches are the driving force of the movement. It is through your efforts that we will see real transformation in South Africa.

The National Democratic Revolution

1. If we are to complete the transition from an apartheid state to a national democratic state, then we must remain committed and dedicated to our programme of transformation.

2. Revolution is not measured by disruption or blood in the streets. It is not made by fiery speeches. It is a fundamental transformation of society to ensure justice, a better quality of life, and equity.

3. When we were elected to work for a Better Life for All, we were given the task of establishing legitimate government that is democratic and can effectively address the needs of the majority; we were given the task of building a united nation; and we were charged with implementing a programme of reconstruction and development.

4. Halfway through the ANC's first term in government we can be proud of our achievements.

5. Electoral democracy has been established at every level. We have created a democratic and progressive constitution, and our elected representatives in the national assembly are vigorously protecting and promoting the interests of the people.

6. Nation-building and non-racial reconciliation have secured peace and stability. Political violence in KwaZulu/Natal has been brought to a minimum thanks to our firm action. A new and united nation is taking shape in all spheres of life.

Building our nation

1. The national dimension of struggle is not just building a new sense of nationhood - as crucial as this is. it is also about building the material and social conditions for a single nation.

2. The huge inequalities between townships and suburbs; black and white; the poor and the rich; men and women; urban and rural areas - all these inequalities hamper the building of a common sense of nationhood.

3. This is why the RDP's vision of rural and urban development is so central to the historic nation-building mission of the ANC.

4. The lives of millions of people have begun to change through our initial programmes bringing access to clean water; nutrition at school; free health care; electricity and so on.

5. Away from the national limelight, communities throughout South Africa are beehives of activity. Streets are being tarred, refuse collection improved, schools are being renovated, clinics are being built and upgraded. Housing construction, inevitably slow to start, is coming on stream.

Branch organisation is a key to progress

1. We are not always moving as fast as we would like, but we are making progress. And where there has been the most progress, it is because of the active involvement of communities in development. Where the basic principle of the RDP as a people driven development programme is embraced, there we will find real development occurring. And that development must be led by the ANC and its allies.

2. If we are to transform the state, then our branches and the branches of our alliance partners must lead in the development and upliftment of those they represent. The ANC must be visible in the projects in Cato Manor, in Weenen, in KwaMashu, and in the deep rural areas of this province.

3. The democratic state we are forging relies on the participation of communities in the transformation of their lives. It is through solid and organised branches that communities can make a difference to their lives.

Programme for the future

1. In last week's NEC meeting, we endorsed important proposals for action plans for the coming year. In particular, we have decided that we must work to broaden the scope of Masakhane. Payment for services and of rents is indeed very important. But Masakhane is not simply a payment campaign. It is about the active participation of our people in the reconstruction and development of our country.

2. And so we are planning Masakhane weekends early next year. At the community level throughout the country, we shall mobilise people to become involved in development work - school renovations, community clean ups, anti-crime drives and so forth. We plan to deploy ANC MPs and MPLs in the process. We also plan, through our local councillors, to introduce the practice of participatory budgeting at the local level, involving communities in organising local budgets and setting priorities.

3. All of this will only be possible if we have functioning ANC branch structures on the ground. We also know, from our years of struggle, that is it is precisely around such concrete programmes that organisation is renewed and sustained.

Peace and the fight against crime

1. The campaign for peace and the fight against crime must be amongst the programmes in which our branches are involved.

2. Political violence has caused great suffering in KwaZulu/Natal over the years. Tens of thousands of men, women and children have lost their lives, many killed by their own brothers and sisters.

3. Whatever interpretation we may have, whatever the role of the Third Force, the ANC was also involved in the conflict. We deeply regret the deaths that have occurred. It should be the highest priority of ANC branches to do contribute to entrenching the peace that has been achieved in KwaZulu Natal.

4. We know that the overwhelming majority in the province has all along been for peace, wanting nothing more than to get on with their lives and contribute to national development and the reduction of poverty in the province. It is indeed under conditions of peace that men and women of talent emerge.

5. For the same reasons the fight against crime must be high on the agenda of our branches, to ensure that every one enjoys the security that is their right, at home, in the streets and at work. Branches have a duty to build co-operation between communities and the police. In doing so they will contribute to a climate for growth and development that will promote the achievement of our fundamental aim of improving the lives of the majority.

Lessons from local government

1. One of the most important considerations that we need to grapple with regarding local elections, is the low turn-out at the polls of even our entrenched supporters. We have to question why the turnout was so low when our message was that local government is critical for democracy, delivery and community upliftment. The reality is that the only way a sustained interest in elections will be forged is if communities are organised to be involved in development.

2. The only people who are going to ensure that communities are actively participating in decision-making and development are you, our comrades in the ANC. It is through the strengthening of our own branches that people driven development can occur.

3. At the local level it is our branches that must give meaning to development, that must give meaning to the notion of peace. We need to be the visible leaders of initiatives that will lead to progress and sustained development in our communities.

4. Unless we lead, through example, we will allow backward forces to hijack processes and set this province back in terms of uplifting our communities and not allow us to reach our stated objectives of transformation and redistribution.


1. The mission of the ANC and the broader movement remains that of transforming our country and giving concrete meaning to our election slogan - "A Better Life For All."

2. We have emerged from a great past, from important traditions. It is these traditions of strong grassroots organisation that will move us forward in this province. It is the tradition of organising collectively that will consolidate our National Democratic Revolution.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 26/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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