Item 1316 - Speaker's Notes for President Nelson Mandela for Meeting of Alliance Structures in KZN

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ZA COM MR-S-1316


Speaker's Notes for President Nelson Mandela for Meeting of Alliance Structures in KZN


  • 1996-11-12 (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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Meeting of Alliance Structures

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  • English

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Taking stock at mid-term
1. Half way through the first term of the ANC- led government's mandate, we can say that, despite many difficulties; what we dreamed about in the first half of this century; what we mapped out at Kliptown in 1955; what we planned and theorised about in the difficult years of the 60s, 70s and 80s - that is where we are today.

A national democratic revolutionary
1 In the last two-and-a-half years we have steadily consolidated that democratic breakthrough. We have implemented electoral democracy from national to local level. We have piloted one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. The national assembly is functioning, more and more, as a robust tribune of the people.

2 We have made sweeping gains towards nation-building and reconciliation. We have prevented a descent into civil war. We have acted firmly to reduce political violence in KwaZulu/Natal to a minimum.

3 We have, through the judiciary, dared to put on trial some of the most senior generals from the apartheid past. It is true that General Malan and his co-accused were found not guilty and we respect the court's decision. But in putting the generals on trial we sent a powerful message: "No-one is above the law in our country." This message, no doubt, contributed to the snowballing of amnesty application and confession from former apartheid security personnel.

4 For us, being in government is mainly about building the material and social conditions for a single nation. The huge inequalities in our society hamper the possibilities of building a common sense of nationhood.

5 But we are making progress. The 20 mega-projects, presently underway and each costing more than half-a-billion Rand, from Richards Bay to Saldanha Bay, are part of this. So is the massive Maputo Development Corridor, one of the biggest projects of its kind in the world. These projects are not just economic - they are integral to building our nation and our region.

6 Perhaps more significant still, away from the national limelight, communities throughout South Africa are beehives of activity. Streets are being tarred, refuse collection improved, schools are being renovated, clinics are being built and upgraded. Even on the housing front, where progress has inevitably been slow, construction is coming on stream.

Let us not be defensive

1 Our achievements, as the ANC, are very significant. We often fail to claim our own victories. At the same time, however, it is the mark of a serious political movement that we are prepared to be open, honest and self-critical where necessary.

2 We have, as the ANC-led affiance, learnt much these last two-and-a-half years. Our movement should act as a forum for collective learning, in which we share experiences, learn from each other, assess what has been happening, and empower each other. This also means there must be space for debate within our ANC and between the ANC and its allies.

3 We have, of course, made unintentional mistakes. On occasions we have been too defensive. The question is not so much whether one makes mistakes or not, but rather whether, as an organisation, we are prepared to admit mistakes, and to learn from and quickly them.

Building our organisations

1 We would all admit that the organisational state of affairs in the ANC and its allied formations often leaves much to be desired. No doubt, the large-scale redeployment of thousands of cadres over these last two-and-a-half years has helped weaken organisational capacity.

2 But we all know that a great deal of energy has often been consumed on intra organisational leadership rivalries, personality squabbles and factionalism. The Free State situation is not the only example of this. Of course, healthy competition between individuals for election to posts is a natural part of any democratic organisation. But when personal competition starts to absorb all one's energies, when political programmes are forgotten, and when solid grass-roots work is neglected, then matters become very serious.

3 The ANC has long and proud traditions of placing the organisation above individuals, of mutual respect for one another. We defeated apartheid because we have always tried to build the collective.

4 As we move in 1997 to the ANC's crucial December National Conference, let us put politics above personalities, programme above individualism. Let us resolve to do hard work on the ground instead of embroiling ourselves in paralysing factionalism.

A clear programme of action for 1997

1 The recent NEC meeting endorsed important proposals for campaigns in the coming year. In particular, we decided that Masakhane must be greatly broadened in its scope. Rent and service payment is indeed very important; but Masakhane is more than a payments campaign. It is about the all-round active participation of our people in the reconstruction and development of our country.

2 To this end we are planning Masakhane weekends early next year. At the community level, throughout the country, we will mobilise people to become involved in development work - school renovations, community clean-ups, anti-crime drives, and so forth. We plan to deploy all leaders in the process. We also plan, through our focal councillors, to introduce the practice of participatory budgeting at the local level. By this we mean communities taking part in developing local budgets and setting priorities.

3 All of this will only be possible if we have functioning ANC, alliance and MDM structures on the ground. We also know from our years of struggle, that it is precisely around such concrete programmes that organisation is renewed and sustained.


1 This province has suffered a terrible toll through political violence over the years. Tens of thousands of men, women and children have lost their lives, many killed by their own brothers and sisters.

2 Whatever interpretation we may have, whatever the role of the Third Force, the ANC was also involved in the conflict. We deeply regret the deaths that have occurred. It should be the highest priority of the ANC and its allies to do everything in their power to deepen and extend the peace that has been achieved in KwaZulu Natal.

3 We do appreciate that the overwhelming majority in the province has all along been for peace, wanting nothing more than to get on with their lives and contribute to national development and the reduction of poverty in the province. It is indeed under conditions of peace that men and women of talent emerge.

KZN ANC Provincial Conference

1 The KwaZulu/Natal ANC provincial conference will be happening in a matter of weeks. It is a conference that must emerge with a solid programme of action and a leadership that can lead and direct this programme.

2 In approaching this Provincial Conference it is also appropriate that we consider our electoral performance in this province. We have certainly made very important progress. And we have gained valuable experience. The local government election results highlight some important consideration for our organisation.

3 The first relates to our capacity as an organisation to mobilise our supporters to come out and vote. White it is true that there were administrative problems (registration problems; queues at voting stations and difficulties with transport) we cannot pretend that our own organisational weakness do not exist, and we need to address them.

4 We must ask why the turnout in local government elections was so low when our message was that local government is critical for democracy, delivery and community upliftment! The reality is that sustained interest in elections will only be forged if communities are not simply passive recipients of change, but actually take part in decision-making about delivery.

5 The second consideration concerns rural elections. It is clear that the IFP has maintained its stranglehold over the tribal areas. The farming areas, however, shifted substantially towards the ANC. Amongst the reasons for this, the most important is the response of farm-workers to our policies of land reform and the formulation of alternative ownership structures among farming communities. ANC support in these areas needs to be deepened and consolidated.

6 The third point related to our profile in the so-called "minority" areas, particularly.

Indian areas. The importance of an ANC presence in these areas relates closely to our programme of nation-building, based on our deep commitment to non-racialism. I am pleased to learn that an assessment meeting looking specifically at the minority areas was recently held. I trust that a well conceived strategy will emerge.

A better life for all

1 At the end of the day, the mission of the ANC and the broader movement it leads remains the transformation our country. We have to give concrete meaning to our slogan: "A better life to all".

2 The opportunities are great. The challenges are real. The ANC has only partially realised its full potential.

3 Keeping faith with our traditions, in the coming weeks, months and years, we shall, collectively, I am sure, truly consolidate our gains.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: ANC Archives, Office of the ANC President, Nelson Mandela Papers, University of Fort Hare. Accessioned on 26/01/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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