Item 1126 - Speech delivered by Nelson Mandela at an ANC Fund Raising Banquet at the Lenasia Cricket Stadium

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ZA COM MR-S-1126


Speech delivered by Nelson Mandela at an ANC Fund Raising Banquet at the Lenasia Cricket Stadium


  • 1990-11-17 (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 Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare

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ANC Fund-Raising Banquet

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  • English

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Comrades, Patrons, Friends

The ANC is, indeed, grateful to you for attending this banquet. It is through such acts of generosity that we are reminded of the financial support that the South African Indian community has always rendered to the Congress movement. Since the mid-1940s this community has never been reluctant to dig deep into its pockets for the noble cause of freedom and justice. Comrade Walter Sisulu and I can recollect vividly accompanying political giants such as Dr. Yusuf Dadoo, Maulvi Cachalia and Naransamy Naidoo on numerous occasions to raise funds for the Congress Alliance. And we had never come back empty handed. Only recently I was invited to similar function in Stanger, and in one night we were able to raise R 75 000 - 00 for the ANC. Tonight as well, we are overwhelmed by your presence. Therefore, on behalf of the African National Congress, I thank you all for your goodwill and support.

Recently, the media has been making quite a fuss of our fund-raising efforts nationally and internationally. We wish, therefore, to tackle the bull by the horns. We wish to address this issue squarely so as to dispel any confusion that might exist. Let me begin by asserting that the ANC is a national liberation movement. Since our inception in January 1912, we have received material, military and moral support from freedom-loving people throughout the world. This is a part of our honourable heritage, and we cherish it with pride.

Both the National and the Democratic Parties are in existence for many years. They have established party-political and administrative machineries that have developed over time. Yet their combined annual budget runs into millions of rands , and they have received huge amounts in assistance from powerful white industrialists and businessmen. In the case of the NP this was to promote the cause of racism and oppression.

Today we are unharmed. The ANC is in the phase of transition wherein it is transforming itself from an illegal, exiled movement into a mass movement operating legally inside the country. This process has placed a huge financial burden on us. We need innumerable resources ranging from national, regional and local offices, printing facilities, computer technology, full- time office personnel, transport and travelling facilities etc. These things we need inside South Africa as well as in our offices in over 40 countries throughout the world. And you would appreciate that the pound of yesteryear that I remember since my prison days, doesn't go a long way in today's inflationary times.

But more than that, we have to make financial and practical arrangements for the return of ANC members in exile. We want you to think about this matter in a personal manner. Assume that you have a brother and his family in exile who is due to return home next month. What would it cost you and your family to "set him up in life" ? By some standards R 100 000 - 00 would be a conservative figure. We have to re-settle 20 000 of our members and soldiers, many of whom have lived under trying and difficult circumstances in Africa. Our estimate is that we would need R 13 500-00 per exile. In that case we have to raise R 270 million in a matter of months; otherwise we are in real difficulty. That is quite apart from the day-to-day running costs of the ANC in 14 regions inside South Africa, and in various parts of the world.

Dear friends

We are a national liberation movement preparing to take power in this country; not purely for our specific interests, but in the interests of all oppressed South Africans and democrats. But right now there are heavy financial responsibilities placed on our shoulders. That is why we are calling for international solidarity action. We do so honourably and with dignity. We do so because it is in the interests of our soldiers and members who have made great sacrifices and fought difficult battles in our name.

At this stage wish to place on record our deep gratitude to the international community which is giving us substantial support. We appreciate your kind feelings towards us and your help. And we are humbled by your generosity and assistance. Your actions bring to mind the famous lines of Khalil Gibran which reads :

"There are those who give little of the much which they have - and they give it for recognition, and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life; and their coffer is never empty."

We hope that these few words would clear up any confusion that might exist. I wish now to turn to the broader political and economic questions that confront us, so that we may leave tonight with a clearer understanding of where we are, and where we're going.

Today we stand at the crossroads of history. The costly system of apartheid both in human lives and material resources has failed and the NP has been forced to consider the ANC's persistent calls for a peaceful negotiated settlement.

This new chapter in our history places a tremendous responsibility on the shoulders of the ANC and its supporters. It is our duty to ensure that the outcome of negotiations benefits every man, woman and child in our country.

To ensure that our people are delivered from the debilitating effects of poverty and deprivation, the process of transformation must address fundamentally the issues of political power and economic reconstruction.

In the political sphere, the ANC is committed to a united, non-racial and democratic S.A. in which every adult citizen should have the right to vote and to be elected into organs of government. We discard the notion of group rights as a basis for the restructuring of society. The government propagates the question of group rights so that white economic and social privileges remain intact after liberation.

The ANC views a Bill of Rights as the instrument for creating a S.A. in which equal rights become a reality and in which the whole popular irrespective of colour can live in peace and stability.

That is why we have incorporated a Bill of Rights into our Constitutional Guidelines - to provide the legal framework for each and every person to enjoy freedom of worship, freedom to live and work where they choose, freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, language and culture.

Under a non-racial government new opportunities will exist for all to travel freely anywhere in the world. Religious pilgrimages will not be filled with difficulties and constraints. Cultural and trade links with the east and other parts of the world will be strengthened and enriched. All will be free to develop, practice and display his or her athletic and sporting abilities anywhere in the world. The future non- racial and democratic S.A. will provide the basis for every person irrespective of race, colour, sex or religious belief to act as a free person and enjoy the benefits of freedom in the land of his or her birth.

It is only in this climate of equality and respect for individual rights, that we can proceed with the magnificent task of building national unity and understanding.

The group rights concept is an attempt by the white minority to hold onto its privileges and protect the existing unjustly acquired rights . The ANC will not be party to perpetuating the inequalities acquired under apartheid rule. We have no choice but to reject the concept of group rights.

I wish to now briefly look at the question of how we are to arrive at a society in which the rights, dignity and security of our people can be restored. We in the ANC believe that what we are putting forward is workable and practical. All that is required from the government is the moral resolve to cross the barriers that they have created and make a genuine commitment.

This is what we have to say. In the first instance a proper climate for negotiations must be created. At the very least the government should respond sincerely and positively to the following

1) the unconditional release of all political prisoners and detainees and refrain from imposing any restrictions on them;

2) scrapping of all security legislation;

3) respecting the rights of all parties to operate freely, except the fanatical racists;

4) unconditional return of all exiles and halting all political trials and executions.

The next step in our plan looks at how we should proceed towards the drafting of a new constitution. We see this process unfolding as follows:

These are not complicated proposals, but practical and workable steps to arrive at a peaceful political settlement. On vital matters such as these, the NP has still to show a readiness to genuinely negotiate.

Next I would like to say a few words on an issue that has caused much confusion and uncertainty, particularly in business circles. This is the issue of economic power. Let me begin this issue by stating certain realities of our country and its economy.

It is said that shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are worth R150 billion and that only six companies control ninety percent of these shares. Of the six, the biggest, controls R70 billion, nearly half, of the total shares on the stock exchange.

The richest 5 percent of the population own about 80 percent of all personal wealth.

Whites who make up 14 percent of the population earn 65 percent of the wage packet at the end of each month, while the remaining 86 percent of the population receive only 35 percent of the wage income.

The average monthly household income for whites is R3 300-00 while that of Africans is a mere R520-00.

The current estimated shortage of housing is around 1.2 million units.

Over 30 percent of the working age population is unemployed and massive shortfalls in education have left 60 percent of Africans functionally illiterate.

87% of the land is in the hands of the whites.

These are the harsh facts revealing the wide disparities in income, wealth and living standards brought on by white minority rule.

It follows that purely political solutions will not end the poverty and squalor millions of our people have been condemned to under apart held.

The democratic non-racial state will have to ensure that the economy is restructured to address the problems of unemployment, inadequate health and education, housing shortages, etc.

As far as the ANC is concerned, it views the future economy as a mixed economy. Such an economy will have a public sector, a private sector, a cooperative sector and a small scale family sector.

It is in the context of eliminating poverty and the imbalances in income and wealth that we consider nationalisation as our policy.

This term has engendered much confusion as well as inviting strong resistance from business quarters. What our critics fail to mention is that the present economy is already heavily nationalised or government owned.

Notwithstanding privatisation, the government currently owns 40 per cent of all productive assets. Since this situation benefited the whites, it was acceptable. When it applies to a future non-racial government which will ensure that the economy benefits all the people, it is considered a disastrous policy.

The ANC has no blueprint as to which assets will be nationalised nor the form that such nationalisation would take. We do say that this option should be part of the ongoing debate and subjected to critical analysis and not ruled out altogether.

It is possible that a future non-racial government will have to con sider renationalising industries which have been privatised because we believe that an unrepresentative white minority government has no right to dispose of public property.

It needs to be emphasised that the ANC has no interest in pursuing a policy of widespread nationalisation. The targets for nationalisation, would be the mines which control the mineral wealth of our nation, the banks and the major conglomerate. Small businesses and traders need not fear nationalisation.

The point is that if we are genuinely interested in bringing about justice and equality than it is obvious that the excessive concentration of economic power in a few white hands will have to change.

I have said that nationalisation is one option the ANC is advocating, but other ways also exist to bring about the democratisation and de-racialisation of the economy. We might -taking into account the economic realities of our own country - draw on the lessons of the anti-trust laws of the United States or the work of the monopolies commission of Great Britain to ensure there is no unhealthy over- concentration of wealth and economic power. These are all options that need to be considered so that the new economy can effect a more equitable redistribution of income and wealth.

The ANC does not wish to have everything controlled by the government. On the contrary, we believe that a healthy relationship can be established between business and the new democratic non-racial government. By ending mistrust and establishing cooperation, we will be able to strike a balance between the pursuit of gain with the need to promote the common good.

Business has as much an obligation as we have to ensure that a democratic political system is instituted without delay, but they also have a social responsibility to abandon old ways of thinking and embrace the ideals of democracy, justice and equality particularly in the sphere of the economy, so that our people enjoy a decent standard of living.

All businesses big and small need to adopt the values of justice and fairplay. Living wages, decent working conditions and equal and just treatment of workers must be the new rules that businesses must live by.

Not just business people, but all of us including teachers, doctors, lawyers, workers, etc., need to be moved by a new set of values and principles around issues of social responsibility.

Apartheid would have succeeded in stripping us of our humanity, if we do not rise above self interest and make a voluntary commitment to the upliftment of our people. This commitment can begin now, today in the very areas where you live. The structures of apartheid like the management committees, House of Delegates and House of Representatives have served the interests of the white minority and kept our people and townships in a state of backwardness. We need to step up our struggle at the grass roots level so that burning issues like the housing shortage, poor and inefficient public transport, high water and electricity tariffs and lack of sites for small traders are addressed by the authorities.

Obviously we would be heartened if everyone here joins firmly with the local ANC branch and works committed towards addressing some of these grievances.

Participation by all in the affairs of our country at local and international level will bring a speedy end to the agony of apartheid and racism, of poverty and deprivation and of internal conflict and inter national isolation.

Only a profound transformation of the existing economic and political order will bring peace, justice and prosperity to all the people of South Africa.

With these few words I wish once again to thank you, on behalf of the ANC, for your patience, support and welcome.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 14/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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