Item 256 - Nelson Mandela's notes for speech at Port Shepstone Rally

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Nelson Mandela's notes for speech at Port Shepstone Rally


  • 1995-05-21 (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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Port Shepstone Rally

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  • English

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Inkosi Xolo;
Members of the Xolo Community;
Members of the Provincial Parliament;
Distinguished Guests;

1. Port Shepstone area's history of violence

It disturbs me that whenever I come to Port Shepstone I have to talk about violence and the need to put a stop to it. When will I ever come here and talk about development projects?
Only last Monday five more people were murdered in cold blood in this area. Their murderers are still allies in and around Gcilima had to flee their homes and have become refugees in their own country. Some time ago Inkosi Xolo, here, survived an assassination attempt and the would-be assassins are still free.

2. Violence and free political activity

In various parts of KwaZulu-Natal this violence has been used to create no-go areas, making free political activity impossible. If this continues, free and fair local government elections will be impossible.
For example, bus loads of ANC supporters going to rallies I was attending at Nquthu and Embo recently were attacked., others were turned back. What happened during the May Day rally at King Zwelithini Stadium is well-known. As you were preparing for this very gathering today, you had to abandon your original venue because certain warlords regarded it as a violation of their territory.

3. Calls by political leaders

Increased acts of thuggery come just after certain senior politicians had called on their followers to rise and resist the central government.
Despite protestations that this was intended as a call for peaceful action, these leaders have failed to convey that message explicitly to their followers at rallies. We have never heard them expressing their disapproval of "no go" areas during rallies. The peaceful aspect is reserved for obscure statements.

4. Public funds

Calls have even been made to the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government to rise and resist central government. The party that is supposed to direct the implementation of government policies is, instead, calling for action which would see tax-payers money used to subvert the constitution.
When Democracy dawned last year, we were justified in expecting peace and freedom. Now we are threatened in this Province with a return to the past.
I wish to make it clear once again, that if and when there is any such misuse of government funds, action will be taken to ensure that such a Provincial Government is not given funds to abuse in this way. Alternative ways would have to be found to deliver services to the people of the province.

5. The constitution

The right to life is one of the fundamental rights which our constitution protects. When people are being mowed down, as it is happening in this area, we need to do something decisive about it.
We cannot separate the constitution as an abstract thing distinct from the very right to life. Some parties did just this when we recently debated this issue in Parliament. This was deeply troubling. It was also noticeable that many of those who were so quick with lessons on the constitution were less vocal when the reckless "rise and resist" call was made.
But if it should turn out that the rest of the constitution does not provide the means to secure the fundamental rights to life or free political activity which it proclaims, then all of us will be duty-bound to work together to improve it.

6. Co-operation amongst parties

There are other parts of the country which also experience violence, even if to a lesser extent. Where this is so, firm action is being undertaken. Examples are Tsolo and Gauteng, amongst others. No matter what political party the perpetrators claim to belong to, we are acting against them.
In parts of KwaZulu-Natal the problem is even worse, and so firmer action still will be needed.
Bringing an end to political violence is the utmost importance. I call on all parties to join me and the Government of National Unity in dealing with this senseless violence which is costing so many human lives, and in ensuring that the constitution is adhered to.
The Government has embarked on the Community Safety Plan which entails the deployment of extra police and troops in areas most subject to violence and crime. These security forces are here to ensure your security. But they won't succeed if they don't get your full co-operation.

7. A better life

We want to deal with all these problems so that we can create conditions for investment and start projects that will improve your life in the rural areas into marginalised step-children with puppet governments. Now we can work together to change our lives for the better.
I am deeply distressed at the conditions that I see in your area. I will take it upon myself to consult with Jacob Zuma, MEC for Economic Affairs, Zweli Mkhize, MEC for Health, the national RDP Office and others, for special attention to be paid to this area.
But I should also emphasise that, the community must come the most pressing needs and propose projects that government can start to undertake. This will make it easier for government to assist.

8. International mediation

The ANC's commitment to international mediation remains firm. But it is essential that terms of reference are clarified and mutually agreed upon. We also must consider the changes that have taken place since April last year. His Majesty King Zwelithini, says he believes all issues could be resolved internally without international mediation, and we must take note of this. Furthermore the KwaZulu Natal legislature has full powers to write and adopt a provincial constitution. How can we start mediation when the legislature hasn't even started writing that constitution?
Even so, the ANC has offered to meet with all interested parties, including the IFP regarding the constitution-writing process. We are not, however, convinced of the wisdom of having foreigners interceding on behalf of anyone at this consultative stage.

9. Local government elections

The November local government elections are upon us. The representatives we elect in November will take charge of our daily affairs. They will guide the implementation of the Reconstruction and Development Programme in our localities. They will keep us in touch with the provincial and national governments. Provincial and national governments cannot be effective if we do not have democratic local governments. You must make sure you elect people you trust.
Democratic local government is not meant to replace traditional leaders. Rather, they will work with the chiefs to build a better life for all the people. The ANC respects traditional leaders and we will do everything in our power to ensure that they are not abused for political ends. We will ensure that traditional leaders in KwaZulu/Natal are liberated from the blackmail; and that they become servants of the people in nation-building and reconstruction and development.
Remember: you can't vote if your are not registered. You have until June 5 to register, failing which you will be excluding yourself from the elections.
Let us register now to vote in November. The road to a better life passes through a democratic local government.


Paragraph beginning: "It disturbs me that whenever I come to Port Shepstone..."
Sentence in web text: "Their murderers are still alies in and around Gcilima had to flee their homes and have become refugees in their own country."
Changes made: "alies" not changed as can't make out the correct words

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 15/11/06 by Helen Joannides




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