Item 1491 - Address to Police Officers at Nylstroom

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ZA COM MR-S-1491


Address to Police Officers at Nylstroom


  • 1993-01-16 (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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Photocopy of handwritten notes for speech.

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In the period we are all going into we have to consider moving away from our past. We must change our approach.

In such a situation all people become concerned about their future- each person asks: what is going to happen to me, to my wife and children and the national group to which I belong?

Every country needs a police force which protects it, its values, its institutions.

In this situation both the Government of the country and the political parties representing the democratic movement must change their approach.

The men and women who lead the country’s government have been produced by apartheid, one of the most cruel forms of racial oppression this country has seen. The South African Police in particular is controlled by one national group- the white minority who regard the liberation movement as an enemy, and whose members must be persecuted.

The liberation movement, on the other hand, is influenced by the tradition of resistance to oppression, to domination by a white minority; a condition which at times leads us to regard all white, and all white policemen as brutal human beings without sympathy and without feelings when it comes to dealings with blacks.

We come from an environment which sees the police force as hostile. You come from an environment where Govt uses you to defend the interests of the ruling party. No doubt many of you joined the force to serve the State and the people. But the ruling party made itself synonymous with the State.

Now we are moving to an era where all of us want to be part of the State, where the police force can now protect the people. The best way of achieving this is that those who are in the police force, and those who are outside that force should work harmoniously together to bring about democratic change.

There is no doubt that the ANC is going to be the major party in Govt. We want to avoid the mistakes of the past. We do not want the police to be the defenders of the ANC, NP or CP. That does not mean that you should be neutral to party politics. The police force should be neutral to party politics but they should be defenders of democracy.

Obviously there are going to be changes not only in Govt, but in the police force as well. Whatever changes are made, the police themselves will be involved.

We take exactly the same approach in regard to the Interim Government of National Unity. (explain)

I appeal to you to become part of that process of change- in particular change of the police force. In that way you will make sure that the ANC will address your concerns.

There will be no wild retrenchment in which police will be thrown into the streets.

General Bantu Holomisa works closely with the democratic movement and what he has done, since coming to power is revealing of the policy of the country’s democratic movement. (expand)
Role of ANC in Sport

Compliment Minister Kriel for giving me the opportunity to speak to you and, even more important, to listen to and answer your questions.
Loss of life of policemen trying to do their work, can’t say to ordinary people it is wrong. Must change that approach.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation. Accessioned on 2012-06-26 by Kelsey Duinkerken




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