Item 1539 - Closing address in the Senate Debate on the President’s Budget, 1 June 1995

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ZA COM MR-S-1539


Closing address in the Senate Debate on the President’s Budget, 1 June 1995


  • 1995-06-01 (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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Provided by Tony Trew as part of the TPY project.

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  • English

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Mr President, I have listened to the contributions made by the hon senators. I must say at the outset that I was tremendously impressed by the contribution by each and every hon senator who participated in the debate.
The last time I addressed this honourable House I left with a feeling of strength and confidence in our future, because I was convinced that we had leaders in this country, drawn from all political parties, who were capable and willing to face the problems of the country. Today I will leave with an even greater conviction in that regard.

The statements which were made here have been very constructive and positive. I have noted the concerns of the senators. I agree with some of them and disagree with others. In our position it is not necessary that I should agree with a point of view in order to compromise. We have reached this position precisely because we are determined to compromise. We were patient when dealing with views which clashed with our own.

I had, as the President of the Senate knows very well, lengthy discussions with him and also with former President P W Botha. When the latter heard that I wanted to see him he set a number of conditions. He said I had to renounce violence, and I refused. He said I had to cut my association with the SACP, and I refused. He told me to go to Transkei where I come from and rule myself, and I refused. I did so because I had confidence in the views that I represented. I was not prepared to be side-tracked, because I knew that P W Botha had no monopoly over the members of the NP and that if he did not meet my demands he might have found it very difficult to hold his own men together.

That was my approach, even as I listened to today's discussion. None of us hold the monopoly over our members. While listening to Senator Van Breda, Senator Zondi, Senator Wiley, Senator Groenewald and others-! am not talking about the members of my organisation, they hammer me enough in our own meetings, I am talking about the views of the other parties-I realised that all of them have the potential to be great leaders of this country. In fact, when Senator Van Breda and Senator Zondi were speaking I felt confident that I could recruit them for the ANC. [Applause.]

Senator Van Breda made several observations and I want to comment on them, not in a spirit of controversy, but to put the facts on record. He referred to my bad advisors. I do not think so. I take full responsibility for whatever mistakes were made. My advisors are responsible for the praises which were sung to the President here.
[Laughter.] I can also assure the House that almost every one of them has the capacity to rise to the highest positions in the country.

Let us assume that they advised me badly. Can a member of the NP stand here and criticise my advisors when, for the last 45 years, in the NP, let us limit ourselves just to that, heads of State were advised to apply the cruellest policy of racial oppression the history of this country has ever seen? It is that policy which turned South Africa into the polecat of the world; it is that policy which entitled the government of the day to arrest and detain people without trial, which authorised the police to murder people in their custody, to send people to prison for long terms and some of the best in the country into exile. Those were the advisers of the NP.

The President's advisors have not killed anybody, or sent anybody to prison or into exile. They have not turned this country into a polecat. I think we should consider that and I would expect that hon senator to examine very carefully the allegations he makes.

The second matter I would like to mention is that whatever the origins of the IFP were, the NP soon took them over and used them in order to undermine democracy in this country, to undermine the United Democratic Front and now the ANC. Members must remember that when the then President Mr De Klerk was asked in July 1991 whether he had given the IFP RS million plus R250 000, he said that they had, but that he had stopped it.

What is happening in KwaZulu-Natal is part of the agenda of the NP. [Applause.] One can see it, even now, from the way in which they themselves are handling the matter. I am sure they are quite honest about the views that they are expressing, but they are so used to managing the IFP, that it can do no wrong.

They talk about Mandini. Did they know that in that area alone there are more than 2 000 criminal cases which are unsolved? More than 2 000, including several cases of murder! They are speaking here as people who stay in the White areas, where 80% of the security forces of this country are deployed. They are well-protected, their police stations have vehicles, their men can do their rounds in vehicles, and their detectives each handle about four to five cases at a time, using official vehicles.

In the Black areas-the African, Coloured and Indian areas-each detective handles about 60 cases. They have no transport, and have to use public transport to do so. That is why crime has rocketed so much in those areas. It is the fault of the NP government that this is so. However, we are saying this, not so much to blame them, but to put their remarks in their proper context.

They have advised us-and many hon senators here have also done so-on how we should handle the whole question of the strife between the IFP and the ANC. In the first place, it is not accurate to project the problem as a clash between the ANC and the IFP only. The NP is amongst the guilty parties in this whole affair, because they have over decades incited the IFP to do certain things which are not consistent with the law of the country. That is why they find it difficult to break away from the wrongs that the IFP are doing.

I have been holding discussions with the IFP ever since I came out of prison. For every other meeting we held, the initiative was taken by myself. Not once has the IFP taken that initiative, except now when Dr Mzimela did so. However, all the other initiatives were taken by the ANC.

We have had discussions as organisations. I have called Chief Buthelezi, and had one-on-one discussions with him. All of them failed to resolve anything, but all the NP can say here is that I should hold discussions with Buthelezi.

Why should I repeat today what I have been doing for the past five years, which has failed to resolved anything~ Are they so barren that they have no fresh suggestions to make, except for saying that I should repeat what I have been doing for the past five years? That is what they are saying! If not, they should tell me what I should do. I have used negotiations, persuasion, but there has been no development at all. What should I do now? I do not think they are responding in a way that I would expect them to on this particular issue.

More than 20 000 people have died. If only 10 Whites had died, they would have turned that province into a battlefield. The country's entire Army and Police Force would have gone to that province. [Interjections.] However, the perception is that because it is Blacks who are dying, they do not even mention it in their speeches.

I do not believe that they do not care for Blacks. I have said, to the criticism of my people, that if there is a section of the community in this country that has given us real difficulties, and caused pain to families, it is the Afrikaners. I have said that on numerous occasions. However, I have gone further and said that when the Afrikaner changes, he changes completely, and becomes a reliable friend. That is what is happening in this country. It seems to me that the NP is dragging far behind the thinking of the Afrikaners in this country. The Afrikaners have left the NP far behind.

They talk of the FF as being naive. They are making a serious mistake. They must have noticed now that every time Gen Viljoen stands up to make a contribution in Parliament, our people shout: "Viva Viljoen!" [Laughter.] Our people do so because this is one of the men who has saved South Africa. The NP owe him a debt of gratitude.

They have never been able to take any positive steps to prevent what was likely to happen, or what was in the offing. I do not even know if they knew what was going to happen.

Regarding the question of the so-called massacre in Shell House, the members of the NP have stood up on the IFP's side. This is in spite of the fact that on the day before the event, I telephoned President De Klerk, as he then was, Gen Van der Merwe, and Gen Calitz. I told them that there was going to be that so-called demonstration, and that a lot of people were going to die. I asked them to put up roadblocks around Johannesburg, so as to protect lives.

They all undertook to do so. Mr De Klerk actually interrupted me and said: "Have you told Vander Merwe about this?", and I said "Yes, I have." He then said that he would also tell him. No roadblocks were put in place. Those people were allowed to come into the city with their weapons.

By 07:00 Radio 702 had announced that Inkatha had killed 32 people in Soweto. By the time they came to town, we already had that information.

They came to Shell House, past the spot where they were supposed to have the meeting. We knew why, therefore I gave instructions to our security that if they attacked the House, then they must please protect it, even if they had to kill people. It was absolutely necessary for me to give that instruction.

What is important now is that the NP and the DP, which is now to the right of the NP, were not once able to say who killed the 45 people in Johannesburg. Their sole occupation was the nine people who were killed in self-defence. That was the sole purpose of the point of view of the NP and the DP. They showed no concern about the 45 other people who were killed, thus encouraging the perception that Whites do not care about Blacks.

There is also the case of Terreblanche, which I mentioned here. Terreblanche was asked the question: "Was it not a humiliation that three of your men were killed by Blacks?" He answered: "What humiliation? Three for 50? Dit was 'n skitterende vertoning!" That is what he said.

Terreblanche is moving freely, and nobody is raising the matter. What the NP and DP are raising is the question of the nine people who were killed at Shell House.

Those 50 people mean nothing. I do not know what type of person the policeman is who is investigating the Shell House shootings. Documents were drawn up between the Minister for Safety and Security and himself. Suddenly these documents were presented to Parliament by Tony Leon. These documents could only have come from the investigating officer. It is clear that this officer has his own agenda. These are issues which face us and senators must realise that we are observing these issues.

In the North West province, the Attorney-General has charged the Black soldier who killed three members of the AWB. Terre' Blanche killed 50, by his own admission, and yet he is still walking free.

What type of South Africa is this? It is against this background that we are putting a message forward, saying let us forget the past and build a nation.

We should, however, not be taken for granted. We are not doing so because we are under any obligation to anyone. We do so because we love our country and our people. We do not need lectures either about the Constitution or the funding of provinces. The NP amended the constitution when it suited them, left and right with no respect! [Interjections.]

I want to repeat in this House that I am the President of this entire country. It is my duty to save lives. If I cannot save lives under the existing laws, I will amend the Constitution. [Applause.]

I have seen women wailing because their husbands, children and loved ones had been hacked to death. Some senators here have never witnessed this. To some, this whole issue is theoretical.
Senators say I should go and discuss this with Dr Buthelezi, in spite of the fact that I have been discussing this with him for five years. I will continue to seek opportunities for ·discussion. I am, however, a realist. I have to ensure that this violence and the hit squads that are prowling in that province, are brought to book. This is going to happen.

We have made our position clear on the question of international mediation. We are in favour of mediation. However, we are not going to have a repetition of what happened last time, when eminent personalities came here to mediate, only to have to go back. They went back because we did not brief them on what they would be mediating on. There were no terms of reference.

Unless these are worked out, there is no question of any international mediation at all. The terms of reference must be worked out first. When we agree that we have encountered a dispute which cannot be resolved, then we will invite international mediators.

I have already expressed my opinions on the question of traditional leaders. This Bill is going to be passed by the Cabinet, and is coming to Parliament. We cannot fail traditional leaders. We want to put them in a position in which they will be respected and carry out Government policy under conditions which will be conducive to their doing so.
Nevertheless, in spite of what I have said, I have great admiration for the contributions that have been made. I have great admiration for the NP, the IFP and the DP because they have made positive contributions. All that I am appealing for, is for us not to be sectarian. Chambers of this nature should not be used for purposes of promoting petty party-political views. Let us look at both sides of the issue and I think that many senators have tried to do so, in spite of the criticisms that I have. I am very grateful for this.

There are, however, other questions that have been raised. An example is the Eastern Transvaal province and the former KwaNdebele. I have confidence in the leadership of that region, in people like Ingonyama Maishe and Ingonyama Mabena on the one hand and Premier Phosa on the other. I have no doubt that they will be able to resolve this matter. I have also instructed Jacob Zuma, who is the national chairperson of the ANC, to get involved in trying to resolve this issue. I know all the leading personalities involved.

They are men who are committed to the search for peace in this country. I am sure that they will succeed.
The question of corvettes was raised by Senator Wiley. I asked for a briefing from the SANDF. I asked specific questions along the lines on which the senator argued. I asked General Meiring why he could not use the reconnaissance planes that the Navy has to comb our seas and see foreign ships that violate the maritime zone. He told me that these planes were only used to spot these ships, but could not be used to arrest them. He told me that the corvettes were needed to effect the arrests. I appreciated the argument better, and I could see that it was not frivolous for the SANDF to want these corvettes. I advised him to go and brief the Cabinet, and let them have the advantage of the information that I had.
I have great respect for the leaders of the SAND F.

We should not put them in an embarrassing situation, where a section of the Defence Force does not have the capability to carry out its functions and protect the country and the interests to which Senator Wiley so eloquently referred.
We must understand that some of these problems have to be dealt with in phases. Since we are working with human beings, one side says we need these corvettes while the other says that we need more houses, schools, clinics and that this money could be used for these projects. We are at peace with the rest of the world.
One cannot run ahead of one's own people. One has to try to convince them that this is the correct approach. This matter is being resolved. What is also important is that we would like a White Paper in terms of which these questions can be discussed.

We must ask what our strategy will be in regard to building our Defence Force and making it a Defence Force that is capable of defending our country. These are the issues that are involved.

This is quite apart from the fact that originally it does not appear that the matter was well handled.

I have letters from the presidents and premiers of the Nordic countries. Prime Minister John Major has been bombarding me with letters on this matter. The French and Chancellor Kohl also want this contract. We have to handle this in a way that would satisfy everybody, and that would show that these tenders have been properly examined.

Unfortunately, the background of this tender has unfortunate aspects which requires us to look at the matter afresh. I am therefore very happy that this matter has been discussed so openly and that hon senators have expressed their views so candidly.

Our politics have always been robust, and we accept that tradition. We should not merely be lily-white politicians who do not want to be criticised. It is good to have around one people who can speak fearlessly and say to one when one is wrong. One is acting as a mirror for the entire country. That is why we welcome open and frank debate. We are making progress, because we are all able to express .ourselves, as should happen in a democratic country, and to criticise, no matter who the person is. I welcome that very much.

With those words I just want to indicate that I am very happy indeed to have been here, and I am closer to hon senators now than I was before I came here. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.

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