Item 363 - Notes for a speech by President Nelson Mandela at a People's Forum in Edendale

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Notes for a speech by President Nelson Mandela at a People's Forum in Edendale


  • 1996-04-21 (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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  • English

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1 Local elections: Now it's your turn

1.1 It is with great enthusiasm and hope that I greet you today as we approach the local government elections.

These elections will entrench the democracy which we established in April 1994. This time you will be bringing democracy to your doorsteps.

1.2 In the 1994 elections the overwhelming majority of our people chose the ANC to lead our nation on a path of growth and prosperity. They did so because of its record of struggle for the rights of all South Africans. They did so because it is the only organisation with a coherent vision and plan to bring about a better life for all in South Africa.

1.3 In November last year, the majority again reaffirmed their trust in the ANC. They did so because in Government the ANC had made a start in improving the lives of millions of ordinary people. We are well on our way to a better life.

1.4 Now it is your turn. You, too, will at last have the chance to elect democratic councils with representatives of your own choice. The ANC, which has articulated our interests for generations, stands ready to serve you in local government.

2 The power to make a better life happen where we live

2.1 With the democratic local authorities, communities will have the power to work with government to improve their lives. To lift this province from the state it is in, you will need effective local authorities. To realise this the councillors you elect must be people who will work together with you: people you know and people you can approach.

2.2 It is through these local authorities that you will access government funding for the development of your areas. They will provide the platform for you to change your life for the better. You will gain the power to make the ANC's plans for a better life happen where you live.

3 Issues in Edendale

3.1 The high rate of unemployment here is of grave concern. Over the last six months we observed painfully as textile industry jobs were shed, casting the shadow of poverty over many families.

3.2 It is good to see some industries expanding here in Pietermaritzburg, but it is vital that expansion brings jobs and not only increased production.

3.3 This poses a challenge to local authorities to get the RDP working immediately. All sectors of the community need to join hands and work with their councils and business. A public works programme must be part of this. Only the ANC can unite everyone in this way to use the RDP to develop your areas and create jobs.

4 Peace, Unity, and Political Tolerance

4.1 As long as political violence and prime persist, development in this province will be held back.

4.2 So far we have tackled crime using such methods as the tightening of bail and parole conditions and the deployment of troops to back up the police. Soon the Cabinet will discuss a national policing plan developed by the Safety and Security Secretariat. In combating political violence we have established special investigation task teams. The success in the lower South Coast shows us that they have started making progress.

4.3 But the key to success in all areas is your cooperation. I urge all members of the ANC to close ranks and work hand in hand with the security forces in this respect.

4.4 I learnt with regret two months ago that some people claiming to be ANC members tried to disrupt the work of the investigating units in Richmond. That is not the policy of the ANC, the leader of the GNU. We don't interfere with the police when they are trying to protect us. Only the perpetrators of violence would do that and such elements have no place in our ranks. The police must enjoy our unqualified support in their efforts to combat crime and violence.

4.5 Within our ranks we need to strengthen discipline and ensure that ANC members are an example to communities. Only recently a group of ANC members occupied our regional office here to put forward their demands. This is not how grievances are tackled in the ANC - we have structures to deal with these matters. Such behaviour only turns us into our own enemies. We must join hands to resolve problems and not allow ourselves to act in a manner that strengthens enemies of democracy.

5 A Call to Vote

5.1 As you know, a task group has been set up to probe the allegations of fraud in voter registration. Your leadership exposed these irregularities to ensure that when we hold elections, they must be free and fair and a true reflection of people's choice. I therefore implore all of you to co-operate with the task group and report all irregularities known to you. Neither the Government nor the ANC can allow KwaZulu/Natal to have second-class democracy.

5.2 The ANC has also expressed its doubt that proper elections could be held under the shadow of violence hanging over this province, where some areas are still regarded as no-go zones. How do people in such areas make their choice when they are not exposed to views of other parties?

5.3 However, you should not allow these question to hold you from preparing for the elections. It is our wish that the elections take place as planned, but under acceptable conditions. But for us the campaign must continue. Our machinery must be geared for 29 May. We must be well-organised to ensure that everyone who supports the ANC casts their vote.

5.4 We need democracy in our localities to ensure rapid development. People in other provinces are surging forward. Now it's our turn to ensure that every inch of this country crawls completely out of the shadow of apartheid into the full sunshine of democracy. To achieve that we must break with the parties associated with that bleak past and vote for the ANC which has always stood for democracy and peace.

A Better life for All!!! Let's make it happen here in Pietermaritzburg - Umgungundlovu Ondonga Zibomvu!!! Now it's our turn! Manje Sekuyithuba yethu!

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Acquisition method: From website ; Source: ANC Website. Accessioned on 21/11/06 by Helen Joannides




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