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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Memo to NWC on matters that need attention


This memo is based on questions and remarks from the membership of the Lusaka region during a briefing meeting on 1st March 1987. At the conclusion of that meeting the President made an undertaking to the general membership that the NWC will attend to these issues and would at some point convene a similar briefing where the questions raised could be answered by the NWC.

We propose that the members of the NWC study the questions in preparation for fuller discussion within the NWC and that we set a date when a second briefing could be done and the issues that the general membership raised attended to.

The questions raised fall into five broad categories:

(a). Issues relating to the Movement's general strategy and the conduct of the liberation struggle at the home front.

(b). Issues relating to the deployment and placement of movement personnel.

(c). Issues dealing with security and the departments within the movement charged with that responsibility.

(d). The general breakdown of discipline and internal political life in the movement.

(e). Issues relevant to the Treasury and the utilization of movement resources and finances.

For purposes of convenience we have presented the questions raided in this particular order, though they were asked and raised in a very different order at the actual meeting.

Category 'A'

1. What is the ANC's policy with regards to negotiations? Is the leadership preparing to enter into negotiations? What has the ANC achieved in the talks with Schultz? What are our aims and objectives in these and any other such future talks?

2. Has the movement changed as regards the armed seizure of power? In a recent issue of the "Newsbriefing" Cde Jo Modise is reported to have said that he does not foresee us defeating the SA armed forces through armed struggle. Does this reflect a change in the movement's perspective?

3. The time has come for the movement to take a careful look at our commanders on the front. Many hard-working and dedicated cadres are being frustrated and never have access to the leadership to state their case.

4. A very emotionally charged appeal was made that we seriously examine why we are making so little progress on the military front. Special emphasis was laid on the irresponsibility of the military commanders.

Category 'B'

1. What is the role of the DMD in the deployment of personnel in the movement's structures? What programme does this department have and what has it achieved in pursuance of the movement's cadre policy?

2. There was a bitter complaint raised about the misdeployment and squandering of the skills comrades have acquired in their training. The movement must adopt a vigorous programme to deploy its personnel in conformity with their qualifications.

3. The movement must adopt a serious policy of on the job training so as to overcome its problems with respect of personnel. How can we say there is a lack of personnel when so many of our cadres are unemployed?

4. At the second consultative conference we took decisions about a cadre policy. What can we say we have really achieved in terms of the implementation of that policy.

5. In development of its cadre policy and personnel training the movement must address itself both to its immediate needs as well as those that will arise in a liberated South Africa.

Category 'C'

1. In the building of the departments dealing with movement security and intelligence we should as a matter of policy recruit personnel on the basis of their political commitment, consciousness and maturity.

2. What does the upgrading of our security and intelligence organs mean? The hope was expressed that in upgrading the quality of our cadres in this department we shall bring in comrades with modesty and those who are politically sound.

3. Hope was expressed that careful consideration will be given to the amnesty. The amnesty should not be so liberally interpreted that we will re-admit into our ranks persons who are proven enemy agents.

Category 'D'

1. The opinion was expressed that there is a general decline in discipline of our comrades which expresses itself in the sharp increase in thieving, looting and trafficking in goods stolen from the movement. This is not merely a social problem but is a serious political problem.

2. The second consultative conference took a decision to establish a Control Commission. Is it not time that this Commission was formally set up? At present the movement does not seem to have control over the movement of its personnel from one area to another; to the extent that this has begun to threaten the security of the movement. We must devise the means to monitor on a consistent basis the movement of our personnel.

3. What is the movement doing about those among us who are engaged in theft, looting of the movement's property and in rackets such as car theft and drug trafficking? The membership demands that these culprits should be publicly named and subjected to public censure by the rest of the membership.

4. The meeting commended the NEC for taking the bold step of holding such a briefing and asked that this be made a regular practice.

5. The meeting demanded that the NEC give it a report back on the various commissions that had been established in recent years – e.g.: the Commission to Investigate the Mutinies in the West; Commission to Investigate the Crisis, reaction and counter-revolutionary activities within our ranks. (Transcriber's note – Presumably this refers to the uncovering of enemy infiltration of our ranks.)

Category 'E'

1. Concern was expressed about the manner in which movement's property in general is handled and cared for. Do we have an inventory of our properties? It would appear that there are no records of what we own, what we have disposed of, what we have lost, how we lost it and why.

2. Does the movement exercise any sort of control over its transport and its utilization? There is an urgent need to rationalize it in the interests of everyone and to reduce our expenses.

3. In the region a number of RPC branches are unable to meet because of poor attendance resulting from transport problems. Can't the RPC be given assistance so as to overcome this problem?

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