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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.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 NEC Resumed Meeting October 27
RESUMED MEETING OF THE NEC, FRIDAY 27/10/89
IN THE CHAIR : T. Nk opened the meeting at 09:00 hours. I will give an opportunity for announcements.
S. Mf :
1. Gilbert Mpanza passed away at UTH yesterday.
2. E. Qomo's sister passed away in New York on 24th October.
3. Mrs Punabuntu will be buried at 10:00 hours on Saturday. NEC members available should attend funeral.
4. A Soviet delegation will meet the NEC on Thursday 31st October and the NEC side will be: T. Nk; JM; JS; A. Pah; R. Mom; J. Nhl.
5. A report on the President's state of health on the 21st October described him as being in a cheerful mood and he had commented on the releases (of leaders) as "marvelous and exciting". He had approved the suggestion of regular meetings to London by T. Mong.
6. J. Saloojee was expected to arrive that afternoon to brief NEC. It was agreed to meet him at 19:00 hours.
7. The document Strategy and Tactics has been circulated to members.
The meeting observed a minute's standing silence in honour of late G. Mpanza.
T. Nk : Let us proceed with the meeting.
JS : We should have an explanation: We decided on a briefing of members after the last NEC meeting. Did it take place? It seems to me that the collective which must see to the day to day functioning is the Secretariat. It is not possible for that burden to be placed on the PC. Let us look at the history of the PC so that we can clarify its role: It is a committee called by the President from time to time, not routinely to take place of the Control Commission. It has discussed delicate questions which the President felt needed processing before coming to the collective.
In addition, the PC forms the Control Commission (together) with the Secretariat. It (the Control Commission) is an organ which keeps track of the functioning of structures of the organisation and reports to the NEC. If you were to place on the Control Commission the (burden of) day to day functioning of the organisation that is usurping the functions of the SG/Secretariat. The PC is not a super legislative organ. It is useful to define the dividing line between these organs. I see the Control Commission as falling into the same category as the Auditor-General (does) in the sphere of finances.
J. Nh. : The PC obviously has a responsibility towards the NEC. I am concerned that the media are harping on the issue of the Crown Prince. We can treat such matters as nonsense but people ask us about them. We need to be careful what we say about one author, sometimes those hearing read more into what has been said.
P. Jord : We have become accustomed to a certain style of work, a style counter to the collective leadership principle (recounts issue affecting DIP, Treasury and Security relating to Makeni property). Treasury takes decisions and actions without consulting me, the impact of which is to undermine me.
We have become accustomed to irregularities (refers to meetings with Broederbond): No one said "it is impossible, we couldn't have met the Broeders without the NEC knowing". This speaks volumes about the character of the leadership here. We can't talk about collective leadership, it is something we defend with lies.
JZ : Is the Control Commission able to function? Maybe it's a question of the Auditor-General comgining the functions of a Bookkeeper.
J. Nkad : The External Organisation Commission is so big and important, and I have not been able to lead it because my hands are full.
SS : We have a problem of accountability in that we don't accept criticism. There's a wide gap between ourselves and the membership; a big chasm has been created people are saying they will settle scores next year.
G. Sh : We should not just take decisions. If they are unimplemented, we should review them. Often problems are considered from the point of view of who raises them. The Executive of the Women's Section in the US has up to now not submitted a report because we were told the US region had been frozen. We need a letter to say that now the US women can function.
J. St : There is a proposal that movement of the SG ought to be curtailed for reasons adequately spelt out. It is 18 months since the National Tribunal sat in August and considered cases. Nothing has since transpired. Why is the Review Commission not meeting?
S. Mf : Perhaps we should have had here a summary of the decisions of the last NEC meeting.
Concerning briefing, we have not worked out details of how it had to be conducted. Is it really the responsibility of the Secretariat to organize briefings? Many issues are brought to the Secretariat which should be settled at the level of the Departments. The truth is that some of the Commissions are not functioning, and regional structures like RPC, Political Education, are not functioning properly. I personally am not satisfied that general meetings are the best way to brief the membership.
JJ : Normally a Control Commission is composed of people who are not heads of Departments. In addition its status is that of a Central Committee….with extraordinary powers. It should not be the task of the TG to go around monitoring funds.
F. Mel : This collective leadership will be meaningless if it does not bring in participation by the membership. I endorse what P. Jord has said about the Broederbond. In London there are graduates who have no intention to return.
S. Mab : Representatives abroad should be briefed about what is taking place in the NWC/NEC, particularly because of the hostile press.
R. Sept : The Review Board should be called an inspectorate. I endorse Cde Moabi's role as Commissar. The E.O.C. head has been put there by the President's Committee, they should address this.
D. Tl : The morale of people is low in the Movement and there is a lot of gossip abroad. There is no unity between leaders and the rank and file. All the time orders come from the top and they are rejected. Our duty is to go down to the masses and to go to the core.
S. Mak : I often get dismayed at the amount of what is known about ourselves as individuals. There is also the question of what we do (under influence of) women and wine.
CH : This Review Board….was expected to make monthly reports. They have a duty to report.
[Adjournment for tea – 11:00 hours. Resume at 11:20 hours]
R. Kas : We criticized the Secretariat in relation to briefings because the decision was not implemented. Whatever the case, it was for the Secretariat to draw up a briefing document unless the meeting decided otherwise. Secondly, the Broederbond meeting has been discussed at length, let us see to it that in future we don't go through such a barrage of complaints : who arranged; who selected delegates etc. There should be no confusion about this in future. These arrangements are the responsibility of the Secretariat.
T. Nk : The Secretariat need to improve their style.
JS : If people are going (on missions) on behalf of NEC then Secretariat must be informed, or the NWC.
JZ : We took a decision about briefing….we should make a beginning with implementation.
P. Jord : The issue of briefings is not new; it automatically belongs to the Secretariat.
S. Mf : The briefing document was prepared.
CH : The NWC should receive a report on our detainees in three months time via President's Committee – Agreed.
T. Nk : Can we now move over to the item Armed Struggle – the most controversial – [laughter]. There are documents before you. Can I take it they have been read?
JS : I think the information contained in the documents should be treated as background.
CH (leading discussion) : The report should have been submitted by the Army Commander. You have before you at attempt to provide the meeting (of the NEC) with an overview of the work of MHQ so that the leadership can made an input in solving some problem areas.
There's been a decline in military operations for months. The need for military operations has been raised. Serious operations should begin in 3 to 4 months. The difficulties of MHQ have been referred to in the document submitted.
1. The forward areas : the capability of service units here varies. In Botswana, for instance, it is zero.
2. The big question is how to take fighters inside. It has to be tackled aggressively in the current situation. The movement must organize lots of resources for transportation of cadres. Vehicles are frequently impounded.
3. In the Bay and Natal our problem is one of security and infiltration, and machineries have to be dismantled and reassembled.
The structures working inside should assist MHQ. We have tried to bring fresh blood into MHQ structures taking full advantage of our graduands from military academies. Another element being introduced is to try to improve planning in each unit.
We have taken a closer look at Special Ops : the caliber of the command is being strengthened to improve on planning, execution, and accountability.
In VZ there's a potential opening up possibilities for operations. The Island is being reopened. Our main concern is to have forces on the ground.
We are baffled that some units are not active and we are examining the causes. Two units have however said that in view of current mood, they have decided to keep a low profile.
The situation in the rear is improving on the whole and the material conditions of the troops are being attended.
There's slight improvement in Commissarit work. A new Commissar is now active. The demand for a seminar on their work has come from the (army) grassroots. It is being organized so that it is as democratic and participatory as possible, to lift the morale and push the armed struggle.
To give a picture of other departments :
Ordinance : consume a lot of resources – substantial funds, high caliber of personnel, based inside the country. The big problem here is one of distribution, and for this trusted and tested comrades are requested. The DLB situation is good in the East and West Cape but poor in the Tvl, O.F.S., and Natal.
Communications : There are +86 trained specialists. Need to transmit and receive at high capacity. PMC should define where the trained specialists should be sent. The department suffers a serious shortage of accommodation and transport.
Intelligence : Training has been carried in this field but the major weakness lies in infiltrating the enemy.
JM : We have had a quiet time, and our graph is going down at a time when the situation inside demands bigger blows. Our Communications Department has good equipment which is still not in use and this department which really services the entire movement lacks suitable accommodation.
Stores also poses a major problem and much of material we receive degenerates.
T. Nk : The reports are before you. Please be precise and be to the point. The failure of our armed struggle will be placed on the leadership of this organisation.
JZ : The MHQ have requested a meeting with PMC Secretariat on how to improve work in forward areas.
S. Mak : The political organisation (internal) should relate t the military, hence importance of underground structures.
R. Kas : The PMC has an extensive program for building underground……and we have started in a modest way. We are working on infiltrating MCW trained cadres. Problems of an integrated command are also being attended.
JZ : The report has some fresh elements, but it is more or less the same report we have been receiving. But we are at a crossroads. Our military capability was not so visible when we were talking about negotiation and the conjecture of circumstance was such that people were led to believe we had opted for abandoning the armed struggle. (Yet) the situation has new elements which demand an intervention in the realm of armed struggle. My view is that the NEC should take extra measures to assist MHQ/PMC to assess whether it is in a position to concentrate in this field. Is the revamping of Secial Ops a strong enough measure?
SS : Let us structure our discussion towards an immediate strike. How is it that inside operatives don't strike when they are expected to do so? Special Ops is needed now. The work of this unit was inspiring in the early 80's. Let us aim for at least two major strikes immediately. One or two comrades should be assigned this task constantly.
CH : Special Ops has been given special tasks and targets. If there is a feeling that there is someone of special capability and caliber who can supervise this work, we are open.
JM : We should recognize that with military work resources count a lot. When JS was handling Special Ops he had access to resources via the President and TG. When people decide on arms it is a high decision, and yet the MK has to compete with other apparatus for resources. We will carry out special ops but what is fundamental is to create an infrastructure. We need to prioritize, and commanders should be at the front now.
M. Pil : We shall not succeed unless we have organized reception centres inside the country. We need our people close to the border and to reconsider the strategy of bringing people into Lusaka to stay for months. We are going to find it difficult to lift the level of military work in an atmosphere of negotiations. Special Ops has a place….and it could be our saviour in the present conjecture.
T. Nk adjourned meeting at 13:00 hours.
When the meeting resumed at 14:20 hours :
S. Dl : We have a report about military training but we have had no report about political training.
JM : Political training appears to supercede all other training and it is the first training given. In fact, political training is given throughout. There is a department of political training in each camp, and comrades are receiving training at academies.
JS : What is in question at present is the credibility of our armed struggle. In the UK, there's talks of the Mandela faction gaining ground and that there is a moratorium (on aremed struggle). Let me deal with Special Ops : There is too much myth (around it), and there were many more than JS involved. The resources used at that time were also less. We won't be learning the right lessons if we believe that the secret (of success) lay in access to the TG etc. Secret lay in that comrade in charge was twenty-four (24) hours a day on Special Ops. The implementing group was with the operatives everyday, and attended to every detail, and if we traveled outside it was only in connection with special ops.
I am not ignoring access to senior people; you need that, but basically what you need is full time attention, and I think that part of weakness of MHQ is that conditions are now different. I am convinced that they are not carrying out functions of an MHQ because of the tasks we impose, and they can't do so. They are devoting a lot of their time to work I would categorise as that of a ministry of defence. I don't belittle any of this, and it can only be done by people of substance. But for as long as CH was engaged in other operations, he couldn't plan and lead military operations.
I agree MHQ personnel have to move, you have to be where the action is about to be launched. That kind of moving is not what I was referring to. A military HQ is normally in the field and does not go on delegations. If Special Ops is not functioning it is because Special Ops is not functioning in the kind of sense I'm talking about. I agree that if we don't solve the long term thing we will be back where we are next year.
We still have to continue to hit the enemy….and this has been our dilemma for years and years. I think we are stuck on personnel. Have we examined whether the officers designated are enough? We must examine the command position. Has our MHQ examined its commanders frankly?
Finally, the question of the other vital tasks MHQ has to carry. We must find other comrades to do other things. We shouldn't allow the Commander to be away loading ships at such a moment. The MHQ should be absolved from "Ministry of Defence" work.
[JS referred to radio interview with Minister of Defence of USSR when the regime said the USSR should intervene (to restrain ANC?). The Minister had said all this (referring to supply of weaponry etc) had nothing to do with it, but when asked if in the light of more concessions (by De Klerk) they would continue arming the ANC, he had said they might have to reconsider.
In the light of the circumstances, our friends will abandon armed struggle. They are polite to us now. And therefore we are in a crisis situation and unless we give an account of ourselves somehow, we face the armed struggle being eliminated as a "bargaining chip".
Why is there no unit in Natal? The youth are shouting to be armed….people are being killed daily there. Is there really no MK unit offering even symbolic defence? Those youth there, with healthy instincts are our future. Sooner or later they will lose hope.
JM : It is correct to say we had sent some units into Natal. Some perished in battle, others were captured. With the arrest of leading personnel, that unit was crippled. We have been fighting to rebuild a machinery there, and that task has been given top priority.
R. Kas : It is clear that the current situation requires (military) operations on our part, we can't give de Klerk the breathing space he wants……the moment armed struggle diminishes, it is (going to be) difficult to rekindle. What is needed is to free JM and CH of their tasks to see that work goes ahead.
The comrades going home didn't have much politics. It is precisely the role of the NEC to help MHQ raise the level (of political understanding) in an infinitely more complicated situation.
I am critical of the report from MHQ where it seems the problem of infiltration is placed at the door of service units. This is unfair…I am placing the responsibility at the door of comrades working under MHQ. It is incredible that we have not developed routes.
We must find a way of hitting (at enemy) in the next few months….but the "quick fix" is not the ultimate solution. Our strategic approach to the armed struggle needs to be reviewed. How do armed actions relate to the political situations? We can't simply let a seminar take place and participants say this is what we have to do. It is the NEC that must answer that question.
J. Nkad : Must we carry on in this way running the armed struggle from outside? We need to go in to strengthen the armed struggle. Why can't we think in terms of preparing our cadres inside? Many people outside here are no longer prepared to fight. The only way is to have two way movement.
CH : It is a half truth to say our project is simply one of cross border attacks. We are sending comrades deep inside the country. R. Kas is trivializing when he suggests that we are simply working on cross border raiding. We are working on underground building, and MHQ is not obstructing it. We have not chosen it for ourselves to do "Ministry Work". We have thousands we have trained to go back and fight in the country…..but we must not be reduced to "sensation seekers" across the border.
A. Pah : What is going to be the objective of cadres going in? Is it related to the broader thinking….increased military action is going to have its own responses both internally and externally. Our planning of the underground must take into account changes in the political situation. We should try to see the course and effect. Armed actions undertaken will affect all we are planning.
JS : The problem of the long term and the short term tend to be counterpart. Nobody says the armed struggle is "quick fix" actions. But we are faced with a situation. I think all of us agree that we engage, define targets etc. We are forced to do this in a real world where the MHQ and all of us have failed. We can't base ourselves on ideals. We have to continue to do our best to hit the enemy. The long term thing is not the function of MHQ. We can't expect them to create the army of the revolution. That is the job of the PMC or NWC, or NEC etc. I fully accept that it is not of personal choice that the comrades have been active in the way they have. The criticism was not against MHQ but against us. We must give the people who have the capability the physical possibility to do this work. But is it so that there are some comrades who are not measuring up to expectation in the field of operations?
JM : The question is posed whether we feel some comrades are inadequate in ops. We have a head of ops; tried and tested. We have been critical that he does not push his men hard enough. But his staff too has not been effective. He himself is a man with a lion's heart. We have lumbered him with staff not of his choosing. We are trying to overcome that.
We have been criticizing each other in operations and we have been trying to bring in new blood. With the rearrangements and readjustments (we are making), we ask for a little chance. Please find substitutes for us for rear work. I think criticism has been helpful.
S. Mf : Is MHQ aware in detail of the preparations for the seminar?
JM : The question of this seminar is not from MHQ. The Commander of the Western region indicated that the soldiers would like a military seminar on armed struggle. We took this to the NEC and it was endorsed. And we have decided to have delegates from the camps, the Forward Areas and Regions. We can't make it too broad.
T. Nk : We have come to the end of this session. I do hope that the Control Commission will go through the minutes to see that decisions are implemented. I understand there is an important report…..
CH : Holomisa is sending someone to meet me. The Transkeian Security and Intelligence have gone to the Chairman of the Military Council and recommended the unbanning of the ANC in Transkei, and they plan to announce on Transkeian Independence Day. The worry is that Holomisa does not seem to have discussed this with his colleagues. There is an increasing feeling that the General has an autocratic and populist style. The Military Council think that first the MDM should press for the unbanning, then the Transkei should be democratized, and an appropriate moment should be chosen to announce the unbanning.
Stella (Sigcau) wants to come to Lusaka. In the Transkei, there is a mushrooming of democratic structures…and there have been steps towards democratization e.g. trade unions have been allowed. These are some of the issues which will be raised (by Holomisa's envoy).
IT WAS AGREED : That the Chief of Staff be allowed to keep the appointment.
CH : The training of the Transkei army is also likely a question to arise.
JZ : Holomisa must be reined in to move step by step, and he must begin to do things on the ground which, in the final analysis will be his mainstay.
T. Nk : I call on Cde Pallo.
P. Jord : We have a memo before President's Committee as a response to the chaning political landscape. IT WAS AGREED : The PC would consider document quickly and make recommendation to the NWC.
S. Tsh : (was allowed to make following announcements).
1. NAFCOC says their meeting between the two Presidents is overdue and they propose a meeting before the end of the year. They will send an advance delegation on the 10th November to discuss arrangements for a meeting on 8th December. (He read letter confirming.)
IT WAS AGREED : That the delegation from NAFCOC be received.
2. A meeting with Afrikaans businessmen for the 4th - (Approved)
3. The Lutheran Federation invites ANC to a meeting in Gaberone on 17th November.
IT WAS AGREED : That the invitation be referred to Secretariat for attention.
4. Contact had been made in Harare with a South African who was in touch with the ANC mission in US. He had reported that there was a move in the US to bring together a number of lawyers in Atlanta to donate funds to ANC.
S. Mf announced that on 29th October, two reverend gentlemen would come to Lusaka.
IT WAS AGREED : S. Tsh; R. Mom; JZ to meet the delegation.
CHAIRMAN adjourned the meeting : We have agreed to assemble at 19:00 to meet the courier from home.