Item 447 - Notes for President Nelson Mandela meeting with Western Cape and Branch Executives

Identity area

Reference code



Notes for President Nelson Mandela meeting with Western Cape and Branch Executives


  • 1996-12-08 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

Context area

Name of creator

(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

Biographical history

Archival history

Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

ANC Website

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area


Changes made: "Dullar Omar" changed to "Dullah Omar"



It is always a great pleasure to speak to comrades from the ANC. I meet and speak to many kinds of people every week: 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.

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.

Transformation under way

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 program of transformation.

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

Electoral democracy is established at every level. We have created a democratic and progressive constitution, now certified by the Constitutional Court. Our elected representatives in the national assembly and provincial legislatures are vigorously protecting and promoting the people's interests.

As well as building a new sense of nationhood, building a new society is also about creating the material and social conditions for a single nation. The huge inequalities in our society undermine a common sense of nationhood.

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

The lives of millions of people have begun to change through our initial programs bringing access to clean water; nutrition at school; free health care; electricity and so on. Now that we have democratic local government, communities throughout South Africa are busy improving their own lives. 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

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 program is embraced, there we will find real development occurring. And that development must be led by the ANC and its allies.

If we are to change our society, then our branches and the branches of our alliance partners must lead in the development and upliftment of those they represent.

The ANC is a non-racial organisation

Our activities must always reflect on the non-racial character of the ANC. The ANC must be active in organising people in every community, without exception. Recruitment programmes must be tackled with equal vigour and commitment in every part of the province, whether it is in areas that were historically regarded as white, Coloured or African.

Only the ANC has the policies, the vision and the commitment to united this country, and the capacity to make a reality of the vision of a better life for all South Africans. Any South African, from whatever background or community, should be able to feel at home in the ANC and to identify with it as the organisation that cares for and protects their interests.

Challenges for the ANC

This is the real challenge for the ANC in this province, to fully root itself in the lives and experience of the people. In the local elections a large part of the Coloured community did not take part. It seems they felt alienated from all political parties, including the ANC. It seemed too that many who voted NP, and even some who voted for us, did so without enthusiasm and without being convinced that their specific experiences and anxieties were being addressed.

This is a great challenge for all of us in the ANC. It means that there is a real potential for growth if we are prepared to get fully involved in the community.

We must address the particular fears around affirmative action, teaching, poverty, housing, and unemployment. We must know how to distinguish between the racist terms in which some politicians try to exploit these fears, and the real underlying feelings of anxiety as well as the feeling that the ANC is not yet truly a home for the Coloured community.

Een van die beste voorbeelde van hoe ons gevaal het om ten volle betrokke te wees by kritiese probleme in die gemeenskap, is dat ons aanvanklik onkant betrap is met die geweldige opwelling van gemeenskapswoede teen misdaad.

Die ANC het nie van die begin af die nodige sterk politieke leideing gegee aan die anti-misdaad sentiment die en dit het daartoe aanleiding gegee dat sekere groepe wat teen die ANC en die Nasionale Regering is, die legitieme woede oor misdaad vir hul eie oogmerke uitgebuit het.

Ek is egter bly dat die ANC sedertdien 'n meer aktiewe rol begin speel het. Veral die rol wat kameraad Dullah Omar in die verband speel moet erkenning kry. Maar daar is nog baie werk wat gedoen moet word as ons leierskap will gee, en elkeen van ons sal in ons gemeenskappe, op straat, indie anti-misdaad forums en op gemeentskapspolisieringsvlak betrokke moet raak.

Ons sal die probleme slegs kan aanspreek indien ons werklik van dag tot dag sigbaar en aktief betrokke is om die probleme van die kleurlingemeenskap aan te spreek. Ons kan nie net 'n maand of twee voordat 'n verkiesing plaasvind begin om aktief te raak nie.

Program for the future

At our last NEC meeting, we endorsed important proposals for action plans for the coming year. Amongst other things, we decided that we must work to broaden the scope of Masakhane, and so revitalise this campaign. Payment for services and of rent is indeed very important. But Masakhane more than that - it is about the active participation of our people in the reconstruction and development of our country.

And so we are planning Masakhane weekends early next year. At the community level throughout the country, we shall mobilize 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

councilors, to introduce the practice of participatory budgeting at the local level, involving communities in organising local budgets and setting priorities.

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 it is precisely around such concrete programs that the organisation is renewed and sustained.

Lessons from local government

One of the most important matters we need to grapple with is why turn out was so low in the local elections. Although we improved our position in relation to other parties in this province, we also fell far short of getting all our supporters to the polls, even some of our strong supporters.

The only way a sustained interest in elections will be forged is if communities are actively involved in development. And the only people who are going to ensure that this happens, are you, our comrades in the ANC. It is through the strengthening of our own branches that people driven development can occur.

It is disturbing to hear about the disqualifications of ANC local government councillors in a number of areas throughout the province. While we know that in some cases this is the result of NP attempts to weaken the ANC, it is imperative that all ANC councilors are vigilant in following the code of conduct, performing their duties properly, and not falling into arrears on any payments.

ANC branches must be the watchdog of the ANC in the local council. It is up to our branches to ensure that councilors fulfill their mandate and that communities participate in decision-making and development. In that way the branches will ensure that the ANC's mandate is fulfilled and that it is seen to be fulfilled.

Your success in performing these functions will determine how the ANC fares in elections, including the various local by-elections in the coming months.


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."

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.

Let 1997 be the year of mobilised, organised and strong ANC branches that lead development and transformation in each and every area of this province and indeed this country.

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 24/11/06 by Helen Joannides




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places