Item 1529 - Speech by Former President Nelson Mandela to the ANC National General Council Meeting

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ZA COM MR-S-1529


Speech by Former President Nelson Mandela to the ANC National General Council Meeting


  • 2000-07-12 (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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ANC General Council meeting, 11-15 July 2000

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  • English

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We in the African National Congress are heirs of brave African men and women that fought for National Liberation for over three generations. The post Second World War leaders Dr Xuma, Dr Moroka, Chief Albert Luthuli and Oliver Tambo made the ANC, the vanguard of the struggle in defeating the apartheid regime in 1994.
We in the ANC did not do this alone. We were with the South African Indian Congress under the able leadership of Drs Yusuf Dadoo and Monty Naicker, and with the Coloured People's Congress led by Rahman, and the Congress of Democrats led by Bram Fischer. The UDF and the hundreds of its affiliated organizations, the trade union movement, the Communist Party, the Churches, the women and other freedom loving people.
The ANC is worthy of praise for tenaciously striving by various means for so long, culminating in the Freedom Charter
in 1955, the first democratic elections of 1994 and the second election in 1999 in both of which the people of South Africa
entrusted their future to us. The vast majority of the people of South Africa voted for the ANC because of its record of
struggle since 1912.
Thabo Mbeki, Cyril Ramaphosa, Joe Slovo and other leaders piloted through the Constituent Assembly a constitution of
which we together with many of the nations of the world are proud. The ANC government has made considerable advances in relation to housing, health, education and social services.
The ANC's successes have not been as a result of the efforts of any particular individual but rather due to the concerted
effort of the ANC's collective leadership. Our national executive, democratically elected, consists of women and men of all
colours, from various provinces, speaking many languages, of different religious beliefs, different levels of education,
different occupations and mainly from disadvantaged backgrounds. The same applies to the ANC's elected representatives in Parliament in the Provincial Legislatures and in Local Government. They are each in his or her way the leading figures in our organization and government.
The unity of purpose of those who served the ANC has created a legacy amongst us of collective leadership. Let us remember that despite oppression, despite hangings, bannings, imprisonments and exile, our Liberation Movement remained united like no other in the world. Oliver Tambo, Alfred Nzo, Thabo Mbeki, Joe Slovo, Chris Hani and many others acting as a collective leadership in exile and despite great difficulties keeping in touch with those in South Africa, including us behind bars on Robben Island and elsewhere, held fast.
The prophecies of our opponents that race, tribalism, ideological and other differences would drive us in different directions did not come to pass. The collective leadership enjoyed the loyalty and respect of practically all who have embraced the struggle for liberation. Similarly elements in the opposition parties suffer from similar delusions. They nit-pick on various alleged contradictions in statements made by ANC leaders, praise some and condemn others with the hope of creating dissent. We assure them that their efforts will not bear the fruit they desire.
The need for collective leadership is as necessary now as it has been in the past.
We need the commitment of leaders at all levels in order to achieve the better life for all that we promised our people. We need not be ashamed in admitting that poverty is still with us. It is not enough to say that we have inherited it, it is more important to take steps as a matter of the utmost urgency to put an end to it. We do not need careerists or opportunists in the various levels of government. I agree fully with President Thabo Mbeki in his condemnation of such people. We must encourage those who consider themselves as members of minority groups to join us in our efforts to transform our society by putting to an end the vast differences between the poor vast majority and the very small but very rich minority. We should urge those who criticize us to take positive steps to solve our problems, support our courts and administration of justice, our security forces, the structures established for the avoidance of conflict and show some optimism in relation to the future of our country rather than being prophets of doom, that adversely affect would be investors in our economic future. It is not necessary for me to chalk up our successes. They are well known even to those who make odious comparisons
between us and some of our neighbours and other African countries that are experiencing grave political and economical difficulties.
I withdrew from my leadership positions in the African National Congress and the government. As I said upon my release
from prison I am and will remain a loyal and disciplined member of the African National Congress. I have confidence in our
President, our collective leadership and the good judgment of the vast majority of our members and indeed the vast majority of the people of South Africa.
I have full confidence in our collective leadership. But, this does not mean that there may not be differences of opinion and even disappointments amongst us. If there are they must be debated fully but let everyone accept the decision of the majority and work hard to implement it. As for criticism from outside our ranks let us be tolerant though often we are not told what they would have done if they were in our position.
Our letters of confidence and the good judgment of the vast majority of the people in South Africa they know that despite our failures real or imagined nobody could have done better than us in the comparatively short period that we have been in power. Nor has any workable plans shown how to do better in the future. I have spoken about collective leadership.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation. Accessioned on 03/03/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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