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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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

ANC National Consultative Conference: resolutions for the coming year December 1990

On negotiations and suspension of armed actions

Preamble Noting that:

1. Negotiation is only one form of struggle towards the transfer of power to the people for the creation of a non-racial, unitary and non-sexist South Africa.

2. Conference supports and endorses the negotiations strategy outlined in the Harare Declaration.

3. The international community has committed itself to supporting the broad principles, procedures and processes laid down in the Harare Declaration, through the relevant resolutions of the Organisation of African Unity, the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations.

Further noting that:

4. The regime has not yet removed obstacles contained in the Harare Declaration; namely o unconditional release of all political prisoners o unconditional return of exiles o repeal of all security and repressive legislation o termination of all political trials

5. Consequently the regime has failed and/or neglected to create a climate conducive to peaceful negotiation for a new constitution.

6. The current endemic violence creates further obstacles to the creation of a climate conducive to peaceful negotiation.

7. This violence is part of a deliberate attempt by the state and its allies to destabilise the ANC and to sow terror and chaos amongst our people; and believing that whilst the Harare Declaration remains our lodestar, it is not a dogma.

We therefore resolve:

i. To mandate the NEC to proceed with talks about talks and to invest them with discretionary powers, within the stated policies of the organisation, and without any secrecy and confidentiality, in the execution of their tasks with a view to creating a climate conducive to peaceful negotiations.

Further resolve that:

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In the execution of these tasks the NEC should regularly consult with ANC membership in all regions, on all major issues. Appropriate mechanisms be set up for such consultation and communication with the membership, by the end of 1991. The NEC involves in the negotiation its revolutionary allies. That a comprehensive negotiating team composed of chief negotiators, working groups, researchers be created as a matter of extreme urgency and that such teams include a fair representation of women.

And further resolve that:

6. The NEC serve notice on the regime that unless all the obstacles are removed on or before the 30th of April 1991, the ANC shall consider the suspension of the whole negotiation process. Prior to this date the ANC shall engage in a programme of mass action and all other actions, to achieve our objectives as quickly as possible. In the light of the endemic violence and the slaughter of innocent people by the regime and its allies we:

6.1 Reaffirm our right and duty as a people to defend ourselves with any means at our disposal.

6.2 We hereby serve notice on the regime that unless it ends this carnage, the ANC will find it difficult, if not impossible to adhere to the agreements entered into with the government, especially paragraph 3 of the Pretoria Minute pertaining to armed action and related activities.

Lastly Conference resolves:

i. To mandate the NEC to take active steps to create people's defence units as a matter of extreme urgency for the defence of our people.

On violence

Noting that:

1. The current violence sweeping our country is aimed at:

(a) Undermining and destabilising the growth and consolidation of the ANC and all other democratic forces.

(b) Ensuring that the government dictates the pace of transition in terms of its own agenda.

(c) Creating a state of confusion and demoralisation in our own ranks and among our people in an attempt to alienate them from our movement.

2. The violence is multifaceted and orchestrated through various agencies of the government viz. security forces, councillors, warlords, vigilantes, death squads, askaris and certain bantustan and white right-wing elements.

3. This violence is part of a counter-revolutionary strategy to maintain white rule in new forms.

And believing that:

1. The ending of the violence should be at the top of the agenda of the ANC and the entire democratic movement.

2. There is no contradiction between the Pretoria Minute and our right to self-defence.

This Conference therefore resolves that:

1. Mass campaigns be embarked upon to pressurise the apartheid regime to bring an end to this carnage.

2. Such mass action be waged within the context of our demands for:

(a) the removal of all obstacles to negotiations as embodied in the Harare Declaration

(b) the dismantling of the bantustans and all other apartheid structures

(c) an Interim Government and a Constituent Assembly.

3. The NEC, Regional Executive Committees, and branches to initiate, as a matter of urgency, the building of tight and disciplined defence committees and to ensure that the necessary resources are made available to these structures.

4. MK must play a facilitative role in the defence of our people.

5. Whilst in principle there is no opposition to talks with Inkatha and other surrogates of the regime, such talks must only take place after full consultations with all the regions of the ANC, particularly those immediately affected by the violence.

6. A consultative workshop be convened with our allies, the SACP and Cosatu, together with other democratic formations, as soon as possible to set up a joint programme of action.

On the underground and Umkhonto we Sizwe

We remain committed to the strengthening and growth of our people's army MK and the underground. We therefore stand resolved:

(a) to continue with the process of recruitment and training of our forces for the purpose of defending our people against enemy orchestrated violence and to prepare ourselves for a central role in a new army whose tasks will be to defend and uphold democratic values.

(b) that the NEC is directed to ensure that the welfare and future of MK cadres is carefully and fully discussed and catered for.

(c) to build the underground to guarantee that our movement does not suffer any serious set-backs.

(d) that it is a necessity for our movement to maintain and develop a network to carry out appropriate underground work.

(e) that the NEC must demand that the police must explain the disappearances and deaths of a number of our cadres throughout the country in particular the recent disappearance of Comrades Charles Ndaba and Mvuso Tshabalala and the cold-blooded murder of Comrades Welile Saaiman and Vukile Gondiwe.

On sanctions o Cognisant of the necessity to counteract the growing perception that De Klerk and his government should be rewarded for recent reforms,

Ø     aware that the basic institutions of apartheid are still firmly in place,

Ø     that the South African government continues to use violence and police repression to suppress legitimate political and civic actions,

Ø     alarmed over the orchestrated violence against defenceless citizens, especially in African residential areas, in which elements of the South African security establishment are deeply implicated,

Ø     noting that many of the obstacles to genuine negotiations such as the Internal Security Act and others, remain in the statute books and are still vigorously enforced.

We resolve that the existing package be maintained.

As such the ANC appeals to the EC, US Congress, EFTA and all other international bodies to postpone any consideration of the issue of sanctions against apartheid South Africa until the ANC and all other democratic formations inside our country including trade unions and religious bodies initiate discussion with them on the issues.

On international isolation

We resolve that:

1. The existing sanctions campaign should be maintained.

2. The academic and cultural boycott should be reviewed with the aim of ensuring that it becomes inclusive of the many more institutions that genuinely promote principles of non-racialism, democracy and unity.

3. In the sporting arena, all efforts be made to promote the positions of the democratic sport organisations in regard to the moratorium of international competition; and on sports development programmes.

4. The socio-economic problems facing Black people in housing, education and health be urgently addressed by the government. The provision of these services is the responsibility of the government.

5. The ANC's political task is to mobilise the public in mass campaigns to pressure the authorities to fulfil their tasks.

6. A viable non-governmental organisation should be created to generate necessary economic resources inside the country, including those from the public sector to create project housing, education and health.

7. With regard to investment, we should direct potential investors to such efforts as the 'Viva Project' and which have the specific objectives of 'black empowerment' and redistribution of wealth.

8. We should oppose the lifting of financial sanctions, especially by the IMF, on the grounds that the country is still governed by a white minority regime.

9. We should offer to discuss the issue of trade sanctions with all affected interest groups in the country, including the trade unions, business organisations and the government with a view to addressing apartheid practices within the export sector and tying the easing of trade sanctions to specific commitments to abandon such practices.

10. For the obvious reason that the country is still ruled by a white minority regime, the arms embargo should remain.

n. Equally, the oil embargo should remain. We could relate this to another matter which has now been raised publicly, namely the sale of existing oil reserves, and the use of the money genera ted to address the socio-economic needs of the majority, under the direction of a properly representative interim government structure. This structure would then have the possibility to negotiate an agreement with foreign suppliers for the replenishment of the stock in a post-apartheid South Africa.

12. Urgent consultations be held with MDM organisations on the question of sanctions.

13. The ANC urgently organise and call an international summit as a follow-up to the Arusha Sanctions Conference to devise and consult on new strategies on sanctions.

14. The Commission considers the formulation of a contingency position on sanctions as tantamount to anticipating defeat on the issue.

15. A campaign against the recruitment of imported labour from Eastern European countries and Asia be immediately undertaken and be included in talks with the South African government.

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.