Item 543 - Speech by the President of the ANC, Nelson Mandela, to the 50th National Conference of the African National Congress

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Speech by the President of the ANC, Nelson Mandela, to the 50th National Conference of the African National Congress


  • 1997-12-16 (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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ANC Website

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50th National Conference of the ANC

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  • English

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The first three years have provided us with a multi-faceted domestic and international experience which also lays the basis of the agenda for the period ahead of us, both for the ANC and the rest of the progressive movement of our country.

The purpose of this Political Report is to reflect on these matters. Hopefully, it will also assist Conference as it formulates both our policy positions and the programme of action that will guide our activities in the period up to our next Conference at the end of the 20th Century.

What are these matters?

The Principal Issues

The first of these is that - the principal result of our revolution, the displacement of the apartheid political order by a democratic system, has become an established fact of South African society.

Secondly - the majority of our people have chosen the national liberation movement, led by the ANC, as the political force that should lead our country as it goes through its post-apartheid process of reconstruction and development.

Thirdly - the challenges of creating a people-centred society, of living up to the vision contained in the Freedom Charter, requires that all elements of South African society be subjected to genuine reconstruction and development.

Fourth - that process of reconstruction and development will also have to encompass the spiritual life of the nation, bearing on the moral renewal of individuals and institutions, as well as the ideas and practice of a new patriotism.

Fifth - the success of our process of reconstruction and development will, to a good extent, depend on the peoples of our region of Southern Africa and Africa as a whole themselves achieving the same goals that we pursue, of democracy, peace, prosperity and social progress, within the context of an African Renaissance.

Sixth - we have to succeed in our objectives in the context of an accelerated process of globalisation which is leading to a greater integration of the nations of the world, the limitation of the sovereignty of states and the enhancement of the disparities between the rich and the poor.

Seventh - we have to construct our system of international relations in a manner consistent with our domestic programme of reconstruction and development and our vision of a world of democracy, peace, prosperity and social progress for all.

Eighth - the objective of reconstruction and development cannot be achieved unless the ANC and the rest of the progressive movement of our country are strong and united around the realisation of clear policy objectives which actually result in reconstruction and development.

This Political Report will therefore focus on these matters as they have impacted on South African life in the last three years.

Stabilisation of democracy

Our democratic system is now three-and-half years old. Nothing has happened since our last Conference which threatened its survival.

In other words, there has been no open and serious counter-revolutionary offensive which sought to reverse this historic victory of our national liberation struggle.

Neither have any serious mistakes been made by the democratic movement itself, which would create the conditions for the rejection of the new order by the masses of our people.

Further, there has been no breakdown in the system of governance. Whatever the limitations and occasional mistakes, if any, we have ensured that all organs of state, including the national, provincial and local legislatures and executives, as well as the judicial system, continue to function.

Similarly, we have succeeded to maintain the unity and territorial integrity of the country, having guarded against any serious tendency towards balkanisation, such as would be reflected by an intense conflict around the question of provincial boundaries.

Since the first democratic elections of 1994, free and fair local government elections were held in 1995 and 1996, which produced local legislative and executive organs of government which were accepted as legitimate by the masses of the people.

Since then, a significant number of local bi-elections have been held, again in a manner consistent with our goal of ensuring an open and legitimate democratic process.

Last year, the national legislature, acting as a representative Constituent Assembly, and after interacting with millions of our citizens, adopted a Constitution which replace the 1993 Interim Constitution, which had been drafted and legislated into force by structures which had not been elected by the people as a whole.

During these last three years, the Constitutional Court and other echelons of the judiciary have also acted to discharge their responsibility as the guardian of the constitutional order, annulling decisions of both the legislature and the executive where these were in conflict with the Constitution.

In all instances, these authorities of state have respected the decisions of the courts, or relied on the courts for redress, thus contributing to the entrenchment of our democratic system.

We can also say the same thing about other independent organs of state, such as the Public Protector, the Auditor General and the Human Rights Commission.

These important successes do not, however, mean that the obligation to defend, advance and deepen democracy has disappeared and that anti-democratic forces of counter-revolution no longer exist in our society.

Indeed, one of the reasons why we have not seen these forces raise their ugly head more forcefully, has been the fact that our programme of reconstruction and development is at its early stages.

Consequently, because we have just begun, the process of fundamental social transformation has not yet impacted seriously on the apartheid paradigm which affects all aspects of our lives.

This process has therefore not yet tested the strength of the counter-offensive which would seek to maintain the privileges of the white minority.

However, the desire to maintain these privileges has been demonstrated consistently during the period since our last Conference.

This is exemplified, for instance, by the determined effort to define the process of national reconciliation, which our movement has sought to encourage in the national interest, in a manner that would result in the protection of the positions of those who were privileged by the apartheid system.

Accordingly, during the last three years, the opponents of fundamental change have sought to separate the goal of national reconciliation from the critical objective of social transformation.

In many instances, they have sought to set these one against the other, with a view to the elevation of the first of these aims to a position of hegemony, with national reconciliation defined as being characterised by such measures as would compensate the white minority for the loss of its monopoly of political power by guaranteeing its privileged positions in the socio-economic sphere.

In the detail, we have seen this reflected in the assertion that our programme of affirmative action to address the racial disparities we inherited from the apartheid system, is permissible and can be pursued, provided that it is carried out within such bounds as would be acceptable to those who occupy positions of privilege.

Thus, whenever we have sought real progress through affirmative action, the spokespersons of the advantaged have not hesitated to try foul, citing all manner of evil - such as racism, violation of the constitution, nepotism, dictatorship, inducing a brain drain and frightening the foreign investor.

When he had to dealt with this very same question of racial equality, the then President of the United States, Lyndon Johnson, had this to say:

"We seek not just freedom but opportunity - not just legal equity but human ability - not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result."

In truth, the debate on these issues in our own country has not reached the level of honesty and sophistication achieved in the United States more than three decades ago, when, at Howard University in June 1965, President Johnson uttered the words we have just cited, motivated by the adoption in this own country of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Further, even a cursory study of the positions adopted by the mainly white parties is the national legislature during the last three years, the National Party, the Democratic Party and the Freedom Front will show that they and the media which represents the same social base, have been most vigorous in their opposition, whenever legislative and executive measures have been introduced, seeking the end the racial disparities which continue to characterise our society.

Equally, we have experienced serious resistance to the transformation of the public service, with representatives of the old order using all means in their power to ensure that they remain in dominant positions.

Some among these owe no loyalty to the new constitutional and political order nor to the government of the day, and have no intention to implement our government's programmes aimed at reconstruction and development.

At the same time, the former ruling establishment has refused to cooperate with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, especially with regard to telling the truth about the National Security Management System it had established as a comprehensive and last ditch mechanism to protect the criminal apartheid system, including the informers, agents and operatives who were such an important part of this system.

The reason for this is that the defenders of apartheid privilege continue to sustain a conviction that an opportunity will emerge in future, when they can activate this counter-insurgency machinery, to impose an agenda on South African society which would limit the possibilities of the democratic order to such an extent that it would not be able to create a society of equality, that would be rid of the legacy of apartheid.

During the period under review, the counter-revolution has also sought to regroup to create the possibility for itself to act decisively to compromise the democratic system at whatever moment it considered opportune.

Accordingly, various elements of the former ruling group have been working to establish a network which would launch or intensify a campaign of destablisation, some of whose features would be:

the weakening of the ANC and its allies;

the use of crime to render the country ungovernable;

the subversion of the economy; and

the erosion of the confidence of both our people and the rest of the world in our capacity both to govern and to achieve our goals of reconstruction and development.

This counter-revolutionary network, which is already active and bases itself on those in the public administration and others in other sectors of our society who have not accepted the reality of majority rule, is capable of carrying out very disruptive actions. It measures its own success by the extent to which it manages to weaken the democratic order.

Consistent with the objectives we have just mentioned, it has engaged in practical activities since our last Conference which include:

the encouragement and commission of crime;

the weakening and incapacitation of the state machinery, including the theft of public assets, arms and ammunition being among these;

the hiding of sensitive and important information from legal organs of state; and

the building of alternative structures, including intelligence machineries as well as armed formations.

Evidence also exists that elements of this counter-revolutionary conspiracy have established or are maintaining a variety of international contacts.

Some of these are neo-fascist groupings. Others are old contracts established during the years of the international isolation of apartheid South Africa.

And yet others belong among establishment forces which, for one reason or another, are afraid of and are opposed to the fundamental transformation of our society.

Despite all this, it would be correct to say that the overwhelming majority of both our own people and the peoples of the world remain committed to the defence of the democratic system in our country and would be ready to act in pursuit of this goal whenever the need arose for them to express that commitment in action.

Our experience of democracy over the last three years also points to the fact that we still have to address adequately a number of problems that are relevant to the very character of this democracy.

One of these is the translation into practice of the concept expressed in the Freedom Charter in the words - "The People shall Govern" - and more recently, in the concept of a people-driven process of change.

The difficulty around this issue has sometimes been explained as the contradiction between representative democracy and participatory democracy.

Where the people have freely elected representatives to govern and have the right and possibility to change such representatives, what need is there for these elected representatives to seek a popular mandate for every decision they have to make!

But if they do not seek such mandates, how do we avoid the development of an elite, alienated from the people, that, during its five years in office, will implement policies which, in reality, do not represent the will of the people!

In our circumstances, this is related to the two questions of the possibility of representatives elected on a party list system to represent distinct geographic constituencies and the issue of the possibility of such representatives to abandon their parties and "cross the floor" or form their own parties.

All these are matters that require further discussion to which this Conference must attend, informed by the twin realities of our commitment to the deepening of democracy, predicated on the empowerment of the citizen to impact on governance, and our sensitivity to the realities of our situation, which calls for dynamic stability interacting with the imperative for change.

At another level, we have to consider these matters in the context of the impact of the continuing technological revolution on communication and information, which results in the enhancement of the ability of the citizens and non-governmental organisations to intervene in the process of governance on an informed basis, independent of information provided and opinions propagated by political parties and state institutions.

As a movement, we would not consider this development as a threat to either the professional politician or the public service manager. Rather, it enhances the possibility for the realisation of the demand that "the people shall govern".

Nevertheless, the force of inertia would suggest that the most likely response of both the politician and the public servant would be to defend their positions as the mediators, the prism through which the interpretation of reality and the posing of policy options to the citizen, must necessarily traverse.

Put crudely, precisely at the point when the process of social development confers "sovereign" powers of decision-making to the citizen, and because of this, the politician and the public servant will or may be driven to argue that "the man in the street" is incapable of governing himself without the intervention of the professionals.

Obviously, the matter we are raising is relevant not only to ourselves, but is a vexed question which impacts on the functioning of all democracies throughout the world.

Returning to our own reality we must make the point that our experience of the last three years points to the importance of non-governmental organisations (NGO's), community-based organisations (CBOs) and grassroots-based political formations in ensuring popular participation in governance.

The effective and admirable way in which many of these structures have functioned has served to emphasise the point that, in many instances, the public service, however efficient it may be, may not be the best instrument to mobilise for popular involvement and participation.

However, we must also draw attention to the fact that many of our non-governmental organisations are not in fact NGO's, both because they have no popular base and the actuality that they rely on the domestic and foreign governments, rather than the people, for their material sustenance.

As we continue the struggle to ensure a people-driven process of social transformation, we will have to consider the reliability of such NGO's as a vehicle to achieve this objective.

The success achieved by many CBO's based on the contribution of "sweat equity" by very poor communities, points to the need for us seriously to consider the matter of the nature of the so-called organs of civil society.

Another matter relevant to the aim of entrenching and deepening democracy is the unresolved question of the role of the traditional leaders, especially in the context of the establishment of a democratic system of local government and the impact of traditional African societies on the formation of the new South Africa.

The departure of the National Party from the Government of National Unity in 1996 also brought to the fore the contradiction that derives from the need for the various political formations in our country to act together to promote a national consensus in the context of, and as opposed, to the felt imperative of especially the minority parties to act on their own account, in order to maintain their individual identity in the eyes of the electorate.

Institutionally, this found expression in the concept of a "government of national unity" reflected in the composition of the executives and the leadership of the legislative structures at all three levels of government.

The reality of the last three years is that the white parties have essentially decided against the pursuit of a national agenda. Rather, they have chosen to propagate a reactionary, dangerous and opportunist position which argues that:

a normal and stable democracy has been achieved;

the apartheid system is a thing of the past;

their legitimate responsibility is to oppose us as the majority party, this to present themselves as elements of a shadow government which has no responsibility both for our past and our presents; and consequently, that

they have a democratic obligation merely to discredit the ruling party, so that they may gain power after the next elections.

The delegates will readily recognise the fallacy of these arguments. They will draw on their own practical experiences, which will have demonstrated to all of us how much this approach, driven by partisan interests, undermines the effort to consolidate a stable non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous democracy in our country.

As we have said, the issue of how to address commonly defined national objectives in a united manner, while protecting the identities and public appeal of the separate political parties and formations, remains a matter which only the future will be able to resolve.

We have failed to achieve this result during the last three years.

The answer to this and other undecided questions must form part of the policies we elaborate at this Conference, to ensure that the important victory of the liberation movement to establish a democratic order, serves as a basis for the defence and advancement of our revolutionary gains.

We would also like to report that during the last three years, we allocated a particular responsibility to the Presidency, and therefore the necessary capacity, to ensure that the entirety of our Government focuses of the questions of the emancipation of women, youth development, the rights of the child and the empowerment and development of the disabled.

We took this decision because we are convinced that forward movement in these areas is central to the very nature of our democracy and is not a mere matter of partisan political programmes.

It has been a fundamental feature of our policy for many years that ours could not be a genuine democracy unless the complete emancipation of women was an inherent part of any process of democratisation.

It is critical that this commitment should find expression in actual programmes that address the gender question in a way which enables us to measure progress actually achieved.

We are therefore pleased that, in the last three years, we have succeeded to establish the Commission for Gender Equality and the Office on the Status of Women in the Presidency, as well as adopt as Government, the Beijing Platform of Action dedicated to the goal of the emancipation of women.

Similarly responding to the other matters we have mentioned as being fundamental to the very nature of our democracy, we have:

established the National Youth Commission within the Presidency, which has now elaborated a national Programme for Youth Development;

established an Office on the Status of the Disabled, again within the Presidency, and adopted the first ever White Paper spelling out an integrated policy for the upliftment of the disabled; and,

*ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and constituted a permanent Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Rights of the Child, headed by the Presidency.

These matters will continue to receive the focused attention of the Government as part of the defining feature of the people-centred democracy we are committed to create.

We will return to some of the issues raised in this Section under other Sections of this Political Report.

ANC in Government

We now turn to the second major subject of this Report, viz the fact that the people have chosen our movement as the government of South Africa.

As the Conference is aware, the confidence our people have in the ANC, demonstrated throughout our years of struggle and the 1994 elections, was confirmed in the local government elections held in 1995 and 1996.

It would also be true to say that our own direct contact wit the masses of the people throughout the country, during the last three years, has continued to indicate that this popular confidence has not been dented.

It is however also true that we are still faced wit the challenge of increasing our support among all three national minorities.

It is clear that the majority within these national minorities continue to believe that the ANC represents the interests of the African majority and that their own perceived interests stand opposed to those of the African majority.

This is a direct hangover from the apartheid years during which the policies of the racist ruling group discriminated against this majority, in favour of the national minorities, especially the whites.

It is as a result of this racist practice that the view has emerged that where apartheid benefited the national minorities, a non-racial democracy would disadvantage them

Such imagined disadvantage would range from economic and employment opportunities to language and cultural rights.

The Conference is aware that the National Party, in particular, has continued to exploit this apartheid legacy to present itself as the political representative of the national minorities.

In this regard and characteristically, it raises the spectre of a "swart gevaar" to frighten these sections of our population to its ranks unashamedly using the apartheid years of racist policies as justification for the argument that the national minorities should entrust their future to the party of apartheid.

As we can expect, among the Coloureds an Indians, the view that the non-racial democracy constitutes as threat would be most prevalent among the working class and the lower middle class, who would be the first to feel the pressure of African competition in the context of a deracialised labour market.

It is among these sectors of the population that we find the greatest fear of the impact of our policy of affirmative action.

This has required especially of the principal political forces that we agree on a common, multi-party agenda of transformation that these forces would advance and defend, in the interests of the medium and long term future of our democratic, united, non-racial and non-sexist country.

Accordingly, each on of these forces would, as part of this agreement, promote this agenda even when its particular constituency felt that such an agenda did not serve its immediate interests.

Clearly, the promotion of the concept of united national action, designed to bring together all political parties so that we can ensure the greatest unity around the fundamental issues facing our society, must therefore, also take into account the desire of thee parties not to seen as lackeys of the ANC.

During these past three years, it has been a basic tenet of our approach that despite our people's achievement in stabilising the democratic settlement, we are still involved in a delicate process of nursing the new-born baby into a state of adulthood.

It is therefore clear that we continue to be faced with the major challenge to sustain our political work among the national minorities focusing on the two issues of:

educating them both about our policies and the country's constitutional framework, which requires of government that it pursues non-discriminatory policies and provides for the protection and promotion of language, cultural and religious rights; and;

urging them to be active participants in, and not passive objects of the process of determining the future of our country, including the "resolution" of the national question.

It has also become clear during the past three years that elements among the former ruling group, especially among the Afrikaners, suffers from a sense of disempowerment and marginalisation from the centres of political power.

Put in other words, these elements find it difficult to redefine their role in the setting of a non-racial democracy. They continue to be imprisoned by notions of white supremacy and of supposed Afrikaner interests that are separate and opposed to the interest of the rest of the population.

To advance their interests, they use every opportunity to present their "disempowerment and marginalisation" as being the disempowerment and marginalisation of the Afrikaner population as a whole.

Thus they seek to mobilise especially the Afrikaner population against the non-racial democracy, to force the democratic order to introduce a system of government net based on majority, rule, but on an entrenched process of co-determination with those who would, in one way or another, be selected as the political representatives of the Afrikaners.

What this points to is the need for us to increase our political work among the whites in general and the Afrikaner population in particular. This work should draw in all sectors of our broad movement, including the progressive trade union movement.

It is generally true that in the last three years, inadvertently and unconsciously, we have tended to surrender these sections of our people to the white political parties, on the basis that it was unlikely that we could persuade them to join our electoral support base.

Once again, we must emphasise the point that one of the national responsibilities of our movement is to mobilise all sectors of our population actively to participate in the process of determining the future of our country, without necessarily expecting that they should become active supporters of the ANC.

Efforts have also been made during the last three years to use the traditional leaders against our movement, especially in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

All this emphasises the need for us to agree on a clear and consistent policy with regard to the institution of traditional leadership and to popularise this policy among the population in general.

Our work in this regard will be greatly assisted by the positions agreed at our Policy Conference held at the beginning of last month.

We must also make the point that our work in this area has not been assisted by the positions and activities of some sections within the broad democratic movement which, in reality, have sought the destruction of the institution of traditional leadership, on the basis that this institution was incompatible with a democratic political system.

These ahistorical positions, detached from reality and contemptuous of the views of our rural masses, have nothing to do with the defence and advancement of the democratic revolution. They constitute an infantile radicalism of which the broad democratic movement must rid itself.

They help to create the possibility for the forces of reaction in the countryside to undermine the confidence of the rural masses in our movement.

In its turn, this enhances the ability of reaction to encourage the consolidation of conditions conducive to the expansion of its own influence, for purposes opposed to such genuine transformation of our country as would serve the interests of these rural masses, among others.

We must bear this in mind that it is precisely these masses who demonstrated the greatest loyalty to our movement in the national, provincial and local government elections.

We must also refer to sections on the non-governmental sector which seek to assert that the distinguishing feature of a genuine organisation of civil society is to be a critical "watchdog" over our movement, both inside and outside of government.

Pretending to represent an independent and popular view, supposedly obviously legitimised by the fact that they are described as non-governmental organisations, these NGO's also work to corrode the influence of the movement.

Strangely, some of the argument for this so-called "watchdog" role was advanced from within the ranks of the broad democratic movement, at the time when we all arrived at the decision that with the unbanning of the ANC and other democratic organisations, it was necessary to close down the UDF.

Thus we ended up with the situation in which certain elements, which were assumed to be part of our movement, set themselves up as critics of the same movement, precisely at the moment when we would have to confront the challenge of the fundamental transformation of our country and therefore, necessarily, the determined opposition of the forces of reaction.

They lack the issue-driven mass base that is the defining feature of any real NGO and are therefore unable to raise funds from the people themselves.

This has also created the possibility for some of these NGO's to act as instruments of foreign governments and institutions that fund them to promote the interests of these external forces.

For example, a "Review of the U.S. Aid Program in South Africa" dated November 5, 1996 and prepared by two members of the staff of the US House of Representatives, Lester Munson and Phillip Christenson, has this to say on this matter:

"AID's program is not so much support for the Mandela government as support for AID's undisclosed political activities within the South African domestic political arena involving the most difficult, controversial issues in South Africa. By funding advocacy groups to monitor and lobby for changes in government policies and even setting up trust funds to pay for legal challenges in court against the new government's action or inaction, AID is in some respects making President Mandela's task more difficult."

Later the Review states:

"Two-thirds of AID's funding.... is used to fund AID-dependent NGO's... The Old "struggle NGO's" have been redesignated by AID as "civil service organisations" (or "CSOs"). AID now funds CSOs to "monitor

Reconstruction and Development

Perhaps one of the most dramatic and important lessons we have learnt in the last three years is that all elements of our society reflect and are characterised by the three hundred years of the colonial and apartheid domination of our country.

Our movement, the leadership that is gathered here, in whose hands rests much of the future of our country for many years, needs to understand this in a deep and comprehensive way, that the country we have inherited is essentially structured in a manner which denies us the possibility to achieve the goal of creating a new people-centred society.

Accordingly, the realisation of this objective, from which we will not depart, requires that we work to transform our country, fundamentally. The accomplishment of this task requires that we should all be made in the metal of revolutionaries.

The one component of South African society we have found easiest to change has been the legislative instructions at all three levels, as already discussed in this Report. This we did through the holding of democratic elections.

Having been elected into government, one of the first things that was very clear to us is that we cannot effectively use our access to political power to effect a fundamental transformation of our society by relying on the old apartheid state machinery.

One of the central tasks of the democratic revolution is the abolition of the apartheid state and its replacement by a democratic state. A complicating factor is that we must accomplish this task at the same time as we continue to use the existing state machinery to implement our programmes.

This emphasises the urgency of achieving decisive movement forward with regard to the creation of the democratic state. Work has been going on within the movement to elaborate the necessary theoretical framework relating to the nature and the role of such a state.

This is important because we must avoid an ad hoc approach to this critical question, bearing in mind that many of the questions we have to address about the state are not unique to our country, but occupy the attention of many others in all parts of the world.

We must move with greater speed to complete this theoretical work so that we can tackle our work of building the new democratic state more energetically and systematically.

Many of the problems we have experienced over the last three years with regard to the implementation of our programmes have arisen from the fact that we had to rely on the old apartheid state machinery.

These problems range from faster delivery of social services, through crime prevention and combating, to the management of public finances and the collection of state revenues.

However, this is not to say that everybody from the old is bad.

Indeed, many are carrying out sterling work to serve the people.

These, both black and white, are working hard within the public service and the security organs to promote the objectives contained both in our constitution and in new legislation and the programmes of our government.

This also extends to other people outside of the state system, again both black and white, who have not hesitated both to cooperate with the new government and to assist in ensuring that we have an effective system of democratic governance.

But the point remains true that the state institutions of the past and some of the people who served in those institutions cannot be expected to constitute an effective and loyal part of the new.

As we elaborate our positions on the nature and role of the democratic state, the following are some of the issues we will have to address:

identification of the national and class forces the democratic state represents;

the democratic state and the management of the contradictions inherent in our society;

the developmental role of the state and the reorientation of the civil servants;

legalised force and the democratic state;

the participation of the masses and civil society in the process of governance;

the continuing scientific and technological revolution in information and communication and its impact on the relationship between the individual and the state;

the state and capital; and, the state, national sovereignty and globalisation.

But once more, we must emphasise that the fact that we continue to focus on the complex work of defining the nature and role of the democratic state, must not result in a delay in attending to the critical issue of the creation of the democratic state.

As we discuss this matter at this Conference, we must also deal with the reality that the creation of the democratic state is part of our continuing struggle. The process of the creation of this state will meet the determined resistance of some within our country, especially those who stand to lose something from the abolition of the apartheid state.

The trade unions, and in particular the public sector unions, will be an important player in this process. An especial challenge will face the progressive public sector unions which will have to balance their obligations to the revolutionary transformation of our country and their necessary and legitimate commitment to the exclusive interests of their members.

Since we came into government, one of the matters that has become clear is that one of the principal instruments of government that we had inherited, the national budget, was inherently structured in such a way that it was impossible for the democratic government speedily to bring about the social changes to which we are committed.

An enormous and heroic effort has gone into the struggle to reprioritise the budget so that the democratic order could address various tasks, including:

releasing funds for social upliftment and development by reducing recurrent spending, including servicing the public debt, in favour of capital expenditure and therefore the expansion of the infrastructure so as to improve the quality of life of the people;

deracialising the patterns of public spending;

ensuring that the state does not appropriate such a proportion of the gross national product and in such a manner as would impact negatively on the possibility for us to achieve high and sustainable rates of economic growth and development and,

collecting the revenues legally due to this national Revenue Fund, to finance the transformation and other commitments to which our government and society are obligated.

Among other things, this has necessitated that we take the important decision to reduce the budget deficit to more manageable levels.

In the short term this results in a shrinkage of the resources available to government to finance the variety of programmes to which we are committed in terms of the perspectives spelt out in our Reconstruction and Development Programme.

Indeed, the opposition that has been expressed from within the broad democratic movement to our "GEAR" programme announced by government in the middle of the past year, is, in reality, focused on this particular element of our economic policy.

We will return to this matter later in this Report.

Another important element of our policy is the deracialisation of the economy to ensure that, among other things, in its ownership and management, this economy increasingly reflects the racial composition of our society.

There are, of course, other challenges that we face with regard to the economy. These include:

its modernisation with regard to technology, managerial skill and productivity;

increasing its international competitiveness especially with regard to our non-gold and manufactured exports;

reducing the relative importance of raw materials and agricultural products in the composition of both the GNP and our export product-mix;

integrating the Southern African economies and strengthening South-South economic relations; and

fully integrating ours into the world economy and exploiting the possibilities created by the emergence of the information society; and

setting our economy on a high and sustainable growth path which would result in the elimination of poverty and unemployment and the continuous upliftment of the standard of living and quality of life of all our people.

Let us, however, return to the matter integral to the achievement of these objectives - the deracialisation of the South African economy.

While some very limited progress has been made in this area, it is clear that a major and determined effort will have to be made by both the public and the private sectors to realise this objective.

In particular, we will have to focus on three areas, namely:

further elaboration of policy options to address this issue more effectively and expeditiously;

evolution and firm implementation of programmes affecting both the government and parastatals to bring about sustained change: and,

engaging the private sector itself to take on this matter, informed by the understanding that the perpetuation of the apartheid patterns of economic ownership and control constitutes a recipe for an enormous social and political explosion in future.

The important point is that we must integrate this in our strategy that the deracialisation of ownership of productive property, and the facilitation of the participation of black people in this process, is an essential part of our perspectives.

Further, we must deal with this matter in the context of the wider, and critical struggle of our era, to secure an acceptance and actualisation of the proposition that while capital might be owned privately, yet there must be an institutionalised system of social accountability for the owners of capital.

In this context, it may very well be that the success of our strategy for black economic empowerment will address not only the objective of the creation of a non-racial South Africa.

It might also be relevant to the creation of the system according to which the owners of capital would, willingly, understand and accept the idea that business success can no longer be measured solely by reference to profit.

According to this thesis, to which we must subscribe, success must also be measured with reference to a system of social accountability for capital which reflects its impact both on human existence and the quality of that existence.

In a lecture given earlier this year, Swedish Government minister, Pierre Schorri said:

"The winners (of globalisation) are a global elite - companies, countries and people, accumulating enormous powers and riches."

"The trend is probably strongest within business: today five companies control more than 50 percent of the global market in branches such as the automotive industry, aerospace, electricity and electronics. Five corporations control more than 40 percent of the global market in oil, personal computers and the media."

"The same concentration of wealth and power is taking place among nations. The UNDP's latest report demonstrates how 15 countries are growing explosively fast, and very much benefiting from globalisation. But the facts and figures also show how more than a 100 countries have become poorer than they were 10 to 15 years ago."

Add to this the decisive impact that the movement of large quantities of short-term capital has had on especially the economies of developing countries, and the conclusion becomes inescapable that a totally unregulated global market, cannot be in the interest even of world-wide sustainable economic growth and development.

Remarkably, the prominent financial capitalist George Soros, has expressed similar concerns, proceeding from a different base.

In an article entitled "The Capitalist Threat" (The Atlantic Monthly: February 1997), he writes as follows:

"By taking the conditions of supply and demand as given and checking government intervention the ultimate evil laissez-faire ideology has effectively banished income of wealth redistribution. Wealth does accumulate in the hands of its owners, and if there is no mechanism for redistribution, the inequities can become intolerable. The laissez-faire argument against income redistribution invokes the doctrine of the survival of the fittest. There is something wrong with making the survival of the fittest a guiding principle of civilised society. Cooperation is as much a part of the (economic) system as competition, and the slogan "survival of the fittest" distorts this fact. There is something contradictory in banishing the state from the economy while at the same time enshrining it as the ultimate source of authority in international relations. Guided by the principle of the survival of the fittest, states are increasingly preoccupied with their competitiveness and unwilling to make any sacrifices for the common good. Our global society lacks the institutions and mechanisms necessary for its preservation, but there is no political will to bring them into existence. I blame the prevailing attitude, which holds that the unhampered pursuit of self-interest will bring about an eventual international equilibrium. I believe this confidence is misplaced."

The kernel of Soros' argument is that the situation cannot be sustained in which the future of humanity is surrendered to a so called free market, with government denied the right to intervene in the ordering of economies.

In remarks to the Economic Club of New York, on September 12, 1996, David Rockefeller, member of one of the leading capitalist families of the United States, also expressed his concern about these matters.

Here is some of what he said:

"We (leaders of the business and financial community) must accept the fact that we have responsibilities that are broader than simply running our businesses in an efficient, profitable and ethical manner. We have entered a "New Age" in which our society is in the process of fundamentally transforming the way we live, how we govern ourselves and how we do business. It is in our interest that business play an active role in that transformation process, by reviving his collective sense of corporate social responsibility, a practice that seems to have fallen out of favour in the more competitive, more pressured, some would say "more ruthless" business environment of the latter years of this century."

Mr. Rockefeller continues:

"At the very time government's role in economic affairs, as urged by all of us, is being scaled back both here and abroad, business appears unwilling to "step up" its commitment to anything but corporate profits ... in my opinion, the joy of positive achievement in business should transcend the profit motive. Accomplishing goals that are important for society as well as ourselves, building something that has permanence and value beyond personal or strictly corporate objectives should be at least as important as the imperative of the bottom line. I believe that business leaders must make decisions that positively affect, not only their balance sheets and income statements, but also the needs of their workers and the broader community."

For his part, George Soros argues that it is necessary that the necessary regulatory mechanisms be established, in part to address the accelerating uneven distribution of wealth and income which accompanies the process of globalisation, within the context of the pursuit of the common good.

We make a similar point when we say that the critical issues raised by the fact that the fate of the world economy is increasingly being decided by a few dozen corporate boards, driven solely by the profit motive and bound by no system of social accountability, require urgent attention and the establishment of the "institutions and mechanisms" to ensure the achievement of a better life for all, which both David Rockefeller and George Soros call for.

According to the UNDP's "Human Development Report 1977", the corporate spies of General Motors as well as those of Ford Motor Company exceed our Gross Domestic Product.

This report also says "of the world's 100 largest economies, 30 are mega corporations. The 350 largest corporations now account for 40% of global trade..."

We cite all these figures to make the point that the challenge of transformation requires that we address also this important question of capital and society and refuse to be seduced by the false arguments of the free marketeers who would have human society surrender to the economic processes about which such eminent business people as David Rockefeller and George Soros have sounded the alarm.

The fast sphere of social life to which we would like to refer, as an example of what we must do to achieve the reconstruction and development of our country, is the area of human resources development.

It is a matter of common cause among the overwhelming majority of our people that the production of educated and skilled people, is one of the central elements which would enable us to achieve the sustained reconstruction and development which is the very raison d'etre of the democratic revolution.

In the end what we have to produce in this important area is:

a system of education in the schools which directs the young towards competence and excellence in mathematics, the natural and computer sciences, engineering, management and accountancy;

high skills levels among the working people, especially in those areas required for modern economic activity;

the necessary pool of educators capable of helping us to achieve the two objectives;

generally expanding the cadre of intellectuals in all academic disciplines, with special emphasis on the black component; and

increasing the national research effort both quantitatively and qualitatively, with the necessary balance between pure and applied research.

To achieve all this will require that the country makes a serious and determined effort focused on institutional transformation and the integration of the work being done in the schools, colleges, technikons, universities, institutes, science councils and the private sector.

Yet those who are committed to the maintenance of white privilege are still engaged in manoeuvres designed to block the deracialisation of our educational institutions, thus directly contributing to delaying the fundamental work that must be done to modernise our entire system of human resource development.

As a movement, we also have a responsibility to influence our intelligentsia in all its echelons, especially its progressive detachments, to understand their place and role during the current phase of the democratic revolution.

On many occasions during the last three years, these detachments, among whom we include the students especially in the institutions of higher education, have seemed alienated from the continuing democratic struggle and driven both by a self-serving anarchist activism, focused on appropriating resources and advantage for themselves at all costs, or struck by a numbed paralysis, characterised by a refusal to participate in the process of setting the country's agenda for change.

Thus they have served either to strengthen the positions of conservative management and ideology in the educational institutions or to leave the flied clear for almost exclusive occupation by the white liberals and their black cohorts.

In reality, the progressive sections of our intelligentsia should be in the front-line of the struggle for the reconstruction and development of our country.

Among other things, they should be carrying out important work to inform especially the masses of the black people about the objective reality within which we have to implement our transformation programmes.

Equally, they should be engaging the white minority to explain the decisive importance of the fundamental non-racial and non-sexist renewal of our society to stability, progress and the success of the democratic settlement.

Similarly and critically, they should be at the centre of the offensive to lay down the policy foundation on which the new South Africa will be built, involved in the struggle to remove the obstacles obstructing the successful and efficient implementation of our programmes and engaged in the process of empowering the masses of our people to participate in the process of governance.

More generally, we must ensure the growth and development of a modern and properly prepared intelligentsia to guarantee the success of our historic objective of the fundamental social transformation of our country and its reconstruction and development.

These are only some of the challenges of transformation that confront us. What they underline is the fact that any notion that the revolution ended with the elections of 1994 is both false and dangerous.

Further than this, these challenges also speak to the point that our movement, the ANC, will require a leadership of such high calibre as will be able to respond correctly to the "new age" into which democratic South Africa was born.

A Moral Renewal

In this article to which we have already referred, George Soros argues that in an earlier epoch, "people were guided by a set of moral principles that found expression in behaviour outside the scope of the market mechanism."

He then proceeds to make the observation that "as the market has extended its sway, the fiction that people act on the basis of a given set of non-market values had become increasingly more difficult to maintain. Advertising, marketing, even packaging, aim at shaping people's preferences rather than, as laissez-faire theory holds, merely responding to them".

He then makes this important observation about modern society:

"Unsure of what they stand for, people increasingly rely on money as the criterion of value. What is more expensive is considered better. The value of a work of art can be judged by the prices it fetches. People deserve respect and admiration because they are rich. What used to be a medium of exchange has usurped the place of fundamental values, reversing the relationship postulated by economic theory. What used to be professions have turned into businesses. The cult of success has replaced a belief in principles. Society has lost its anchor."

None of us can deny that this describes our own society, in which many are driven by the "unhampered pursuit of self-interest" and among whom what used to be a medium of exchange (money), has forcefully taken the place of fundamental values.

For a long time our country suffered under an illegitimate system of governance and therefore a regime of laws and organs of state which enjoyed no moral authority in the eyes of the majority of the people, including the oppressor population itself.

This meant that society was thus bereft of the beneficial impact of a state accepted by all the people which, while enforcing a particular social order, simultaneously upholds and perpetuates an accepted system of social norms, covering private and public behaviour, which endow it with the authority that guarantees the consent of the governed.

In this situation, our "society lost its anchor". The wall of fundamental moral values which deters the individual from committing wrong acts collapsed. The state itself exemplified the collapse of morality in the conduct of human affairs and could not but reach the citizen to follow suit.

In these circumstances, it was inevitable that a philosophy represented by such notions as "each one for himself" and the devil take the hindmost", "the survival of the fittest" and "the unhampered pursuit of self-interest" would take hold.

The evolution of the capitalist system in our country put on the highest pedestal the promotion of the material interest of the white minority. In contradistinction, it treated the black person as having no value outside of his or her role as an instrument for the advancement of these interests.

The drove home the point to both black and white that "people deserve respect and admiration because they are rich" - regardless of how they acquire, maintain and expand those riches.

If we have learnt nothing else during these past three years, we have grown to appreciate the extent of the corrosion of the moral fibre of our society.

It is out of the great human tragedy which marked the period of colonial and apartheid domination in our country, superimposed on and integrated within the universal impact of the modern market mechanism, of which George Soros speaks, that we have inherited what we see on the surface of human activity in our country, including:

the corruption of public servants by the private sector;

the low love level of tax morality;

white collar crime and the subversion of business ethics;

venality, theft and fraud within the public sector;

corruption in the criminal justice system;

the uninhibited commitment to unbridled self-gratification which underlies such crimes as rape and child abuse;

disrespect for human life and the inviolability of the individual person and the easy resort to the use of force in the ordering of inter-personal relations;

the acceptance of robbery and theft as a means of personal enrichments and advancement;

mendacity in the conduct of public affairs;

contempt for the law and the state; and

the virtual collapse among the Africans of a system of social behaviour informed by the precepts of humanism which, historically, have informed African culture.

It is possible that as a revolutionary movement and over the last three years, we have not fully understood the centrality and decisive importance of the moral renewal of our country to the success of our objective of creating a people-centred, humane and caring society.

Later in this Report, we will reflect on this matter as it has affected our own organisation and the broad democratic movement.

During the last three years, to address the population at large and restore to the public mind and our national life the concept of the pursuit of the common good, we have initiated some campaigns or sought to popularise particular concepts. In this instance, among others, I refer to:

the Masakhane campaign, intended to mobilise the people to participate in the process of their own upliftment;

"Don't do Crime", directed at creating a national atmosphere hostile to the commission of crime;

"Arrive Alive", launched to reduce the unacceptably high level of road accidents and deaths:

the call to a New Patriotism, intended to weld our country into a cohesive force for its reconstruction and development; and

the advance towards an African Renaissance, which would integrate our processes of fundamental change within the all-African process of all round rebirth and renewal.

At best, we can only describe the results of these and similar, more localised campaigns, as mixed. This points to the critical need for the entirety of our movement consistently and correctly to engage the challenge of the moral renewal of our society.

In this context, and to ensure that we prepare ourselves for a protracted struggle, we must understand the extraordinary complexity of the task of achieving the spiritual as opposed to the material rebirth of our society.

The enormity of this challenge has also been highlighted by the proceedings as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Among other things, these have illustrated:

the dept of dehumanisation of the apartheid security forces;

the unwillingness of white society in general, including white politicians, business, the judiciary, the media and the church, to explain its involvement in the maintenance and perpetuation of the apartheid system and therefore its lack of readiness to make its own voluntary contribution to the creation of a truly non-racial and non-sexist democracy;

the determination of the old apartheid establishment to maintain its capacity to resort to extra-constitutional means to regain its lots positions of dominance; and,

the difficulty of sensitising the white minority to the simmering anger of the black majority, and the latter, to the persisting fear of the future among the former.

As part of our own contribution to the difficult and complex process of the renewal of our society, which includes telling the truth about the acts of inhumanity that occurred during the course of our struggle, we have cooperated and continue to cooperate fully, with the TRC.

In our presentations to the Commission, we have not held anything back with regard to any activities carried out by the structures of our movement as well as cadres, members and supporters who acted within the context of the programmes of the movement. Accordingly our leadership took a deliberated decision to apply for amnesty openly to assume collective and individual responsibility for the legitimate actions undertaken, and even the mistakes committed, by ANC cadres in the course of our struggle.

On the other hand, the leaders of the apartheid system, who perpetrated a vile crime against humanity, have treated both the TRC and the country as a whole with utter contempt.

By their actions they have made the point very clear that they neither regret the evil they visited on our country nor are they willing to commit themselves to a political culture informed by respect for human dignity.

Driven by their old arrogance which derived from attachment to ideas of racial superiority and their capacity to impose their will on the people through resort to terrorism, they have not hesitated to seek to discredit the TRC.

One of their latest gambits is to work for the further persecution of very same leaders of our movement whom they imprisoned, tortured and drove into exile, by challenging the decision of the TRC to grant these leaders amnesty.

Life therefore poses the question whether these architects and spawns of apartheid can make any contribution of any kind to the moral renewal which our country so desperately needs.

What this says is that we will have to travel a difficult road before we can truly unite the majority of our people, without regard to race, colour and gender, around a common patriotism, one of whose critical elements must be the establishment of a caring society.

To achieve this objective will also require significant and sustained progress in changing the material conditions of life of all our people for the better, continuously reducing the racial gender and geographic disparities, impacting positively on the hearts and minds of our people to elevate their sense of community as opposed to the selfishly individual and increasing our capacity to catch, charge, convict and imprison the law-breakers.

But beyond this, it will be important that all influential forces in our country, including political parties, religious, business, trade union, women, youth, student, professional cultural, media and other organisations and various personalities, such as the traditional and other leaders and creative workers, including sportspeople, should join in a common offensive to create a new moral base that will inform the rebirth of our nation.

This will not happen spontaneously.

For it to come about, requires that we, who are the vanguard of the movement for the birth of a new South Africa, should understand and discharge our responsibility in a manner consistent with our appreciation of the fact that the better future will not make itself.

It will be realised because we, as a truly revolutionary movement, recognise and act on the critical importance of the moral renewal of our society, as a central and inalienable part of the reconstruction and development of our country.

This means that we must work seriously and consistently genuinely to inspire our people with the New Patriotism for which we have already called.

But as we have said earlier none of the the objectives we have so far spoken of in this Political Report can be achieved fully, outside of the context of an African Renaissance.

An African Renaissance

We must therefore discuss the central and complex question of our relations with the rest of our Continent and our view of what needs to happen within this part of the world to which our destiny is tied.

The peoples of Africa share a common destiny. Each c

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