About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, 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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

December

DECEMBER 1

RTFOUR S1.DEC     DECEMBER 1989

FROM SHAUN TO SIPHO

(1)     A plenary session of the NEC has once again discussed the exchange between you and the "team" in the light of the additional information contained in their reply.  We are launching a full investigation as to the source of the leak.  The document came to us in two stages.  (a) A report from the lawyer on the first portion (of about 5 pages) which was read but not circulated to a small NEC group selected by the president.  Unknown to us the lawyer subsequently circulated these pages to a number of individuals in the MDM.  (b) The first time that the document, or any part of it, was known to the NEC as a whole was at last weeks meeting.  At all stages the absolute confidentiality of the document was insisted upon and at the Lusaka end none other than the president and Shaun's father have ever had possession of the actual document.  We do not rule out the possibility of a deliberate leak by the team.

(2)     The NEC is of the view that a meeting between the two sides to work out pre-conditions for the creation of a proper climate for negotiations is premature and, especially in the light of recent developments, could have negative consequences.  The points we have in mind are the following:

2.2     The initiative launched by the NEC to gain acceptance for our negotiating concept has received overwhelming international endorsement.  It was accepted virtually without amendment by all the Frontline States and subsequently unanimously by the OAU which publicly identified the document as having been prepared by the ANC.  Since then a similar endorsement was made at the Belgrade meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement.  At the OAU meeting the lone dissenting voice came from the head of PAC whose demagogical stand against any prospect of negotiation was rejected even by Mugabe.  Moves are now being considered to get the UN itself to accept the positions in the document.

2.3     A key element of the document (going to its very roots) is our insistence that the regime is obliged to take steps to carry out the preconditions upon which the document insists in order to create the atmosphere for the beginning of negotiations.  It is of the utmost importance to note that virtually all the leaders of the western world (US, UK, France, West Germany, etc) have, without referring to the actual document, accepted in their public pronouncements that the onus is on the regime to implement some or all of the conditions to open the way for meaningful negotiations.

Indeed Bush has threatened that unless this happens further sanction measures may be implemented.  Even the hard line Thatcher has been compelled by the force of international popular opinion to assert that she will find it difficult to maintain her stubborn opposition to sanctions if the regime does not fulfill some, at least, of the pre-conditions.  In her tour of Southern Africa she refused to include SA on her itinerary, insisting that before she could go there conditions such as the release of political prisoners would have to be met.  All this is of great significance for the forthcoming October Commonwealth Conference.

2.4     In the light of the above, a note by the ANC at this stage to engage in talks about pre-conditions would take the steam out of the unprecedented momentum which we have built up internationally on this question.  It would also provide an excuse to our reluctant "friends" (Bush, Thatcher, etc) to opt out of their more recent positions into which they hae been pushed by popular pressure.  Many of our people may conceive it as a retreat, and it is likely to trigger off divisions within the MDM and between the MDM and those on its periphery.  We have to take into account that it has not been straight sailing to gain broad acceptance for the very concept of negotiations among our supporters in the MDM.  We have, in general, succeeded in allaying understandable suspicions and reservations.  If we are seen to move away from an insistence on the pre-condition measure (so universally accepted) we can expect a most unfortunate reaction.

(3)     Our insistence that the regime creates conditions to make the idea of "talks" meaningful is clearly not a tactical manoeuvre, it goes to the very root of the problem.  As things stand at the moment only the regime has the freedom to consult.  We are all cut off from legality and deprived of any real possibility of meeting collectively with those of our leaders in the prisons and on the ground in the mass movement.

(4)     So far it is extremely uncertain whether De Klerk will move in any substantial way from the policies of his predecessors on the really fundamental issues.  What he has said before and after election suggests a stubborn adherence to the concept that there will "never be majority rule" and a commitment to a constitutional mechanism which is not much of a departure from the old "Great Indaba".  We felt that the responses of the team to the first part of your document is not only insolent but confirms their "old thinking".  We believe that their implied readiness to contemplate talks with the ANC about pre-conditions is designed to depose escalating international pressure.

(5)     The NEC stresses that it has no reservations whatsoever about your initiatives to engage the enemy in the exchanges which have taken place.  We believe generally that the question of negotiations is a terrain of struggle in which we must also take the high ground.  We therefore believe that you should persist in your contact initiatives.  But for the reasons outlined we do not believe that, especially at this moment, it would be appropriate for us to agree to skip the stage of insisting that the regime takes measures not only to demonstrate its bona fides but also to create at least some of the key conditions in which we have the freedom to exist and consult without let or hindrance in preparation for possible negotiations.

(6)     Your get well message to Timo will be delivered.  Your suggestions about Adi and reducing his work burden are well-taken.  Shaun's father will be in Cleo next week and will update you on his condition.  Please also accept my personal affection, comradeship and brotherliness.  It's been too long but it does really look like we can get there.

DECEMBER 9

To Carl

1.     Please provide us urgently with dates and priority list for Boris pickup.

Pete to Carl

Briefing on developments and decisions on the project:

1.     In Sept. this year, the NEC ratified the ff proposal:

"Taking into account the progress to date and the demands of an increasingly fluid situation, the process of building the organization should not be limited to a region by region approach.  We should set up a national u/g leadership core.  The present Vula core should be expanded and reinforced to fulfill the mandate of building a national u/g organization."

2.1     Two weeks ago, the following decision was taken by the President's projects collective:  The Vula core and the released leaders form one national leadership, responsible for all aspects of the work of the movement.

2.2     For reasons of specialization and security, Vula operating clandestinely but as part of one leadership, will undertake the task building the u/g and developing an all round leadership of the movement at provincial, regional, city and local levels.

2.3     The released leadership will, on the other hand, specialize in work at the overt level.

2.4     The categories of specialization are not mutually exclusive, and will continuously influence and be influenced by each other.  Vula and the released leadership will have to be dynamically interlinked.  The task of ensuring a safe and effective communications system is the responsibility of Vula.

2.5     Indeed, if the internal leadership is to act as one collective, the communications between the overt and clandestine sections must be continuously advanced.

3.     The overall head of the internal leadership collective is Xh, while Theo will head Vula.

DECEMBER 21

Peter Mokaba is a spy.  Get him out! 

Indians at forefront of MDM.  Complaints.

8.     Jessy retailer has completed a report on Peter Mokaba which is not very short.  Will find way of sending it other than through TC.  But concern of comrades is that continued presence of PM on the ground continues to give problems and they suggest that he makes admission of his connection with the enemy outside the country asap.  This, however, should be in the presence of an MDM contingent. He should then resign his presidency of SAYCO.

8.1     PM currently involved in attempts to dissolve present youth leadership structure in Lobby, which he claims is under influence of Cabal.

9.     There have been several meetings held between the MDM/UDT core in Durban and several comrades concerned about the modus operandi of the Front as such.  Key concerns raised so far are about:

i.     The control of funds.

ii.     The organization of the UDF which other comrades say effectively "marginalizes" other comrades who have "a lot to offer".

iii.     The inadequacy in projection of an African leadership of the MDM.  Comrades say most times Indian comrades are projected as spokesmen for the MDM etc.  Because of the unavailability of several key people who are on holiday, it has been decided to postpone discussion to Jan 9/10.

There are more details to the report but I will send a full report when the matter has been dealt with fully in the planned meetings.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.