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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.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 Extended National Executive Committee Meeting 17 May, 1991
Present: Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Alfred Nzo, TT Nkobi, Joe Slovo, Walter Sisulu, Jacob Zuma, Thabo Mbeki, Aziz Pahad, Joe Nhlanhla, Jackie Selebi, Mohammed Valli, Stanley Mabizela, Joe Modise, Chris Hani, Jay Naidoo, Sindiso Mfenyana, Benson Fihla, Ray Suttner, Ezra Segwele, Wilton Mkwayi, Pallo Jordan, Antonio Mongalo, Kgalema Montlante, Sydney Mufamadi, Joe Jele, John Nkadimeng, Simon Makana, Sam Silwane, Ruth Mompati, Gertrude Shope, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Andrew Mlangeni, Jackie Molefe, Mzwai Piliso, Reg September, Dan Tloome, Jeremy Cronin, James Stuart, Timothy Mokoena, Essop Pahad, Stan Nkosi, Jeff Radebe, Harry Gwala, Willis Nchuna, John Gomomo, Peter Mokaba, Peter Mayibuye, Mathew Phosa, Billy Masetla, Elijah Barayi, Baleka Kgositsile, Motsabi, Chris Dlamini
1. Report on recent discussions between DP and De Klerk
(a) Observations by Comrade Walter Sisulu
(b) The Peace Conference of 24-25 May and the alternative decided upon by the Tripartite Alliance
(c) Programme of Action adopted by Tripartite Alliance following expiry of deadlines.
2. The way forward
3. The extension of the closing date for reports on membership.
4. Any other business
Report on Item 1 to be given by Thabo Mbeki
Comrade Chairman raised a point at the Tripartite meeting that we needed to ensure the regime moved on three points raised in the Open Letter as a matter of urgency. These were dangerous weapons, hostels and police methods of crowd control and impartiality etc. De Klerk had wanted to meet the DP to discuss all of these questions and the whole issue of our ultimatum. DP insisted that the meeting would not take place unless regime made a firm commitment to move on these three questions.
Meetings were arranged between ourselves and officials of the regime to discuss those questions, to get them to agree to act on those issues before any meeting could take place. The regime committed itself to move on those questions. As a result of which the DP then met De Klerk. What was then agreed at that meeting was there would be a phasing out of hostels and transformation into family units etc, recognition of the fact that there would still be a need for single accommodation, but trying to transform hostels to stop them being a breeding grounds for the things happening now. This process would not be carried out by the regime on its own, but planned with. community organisations so that the result is what we want. This would be treated as a matter of priority and the government would find the money. This was not a planning meeting on the details of the hostels, but Agreement was reached.
The other thing the regime would do immediately was to fence the hostels, so that there are limited entrances and exists, which would be guarded by security forces to ensure that no one enters or leaves the hostels with weapons. They said they would also put officials inside the hostels to liaise with hostel dwellers, with local branches of ANC etc, so that if something was brewing inside the hostels information would be passed on immediately.
Then there was the question of policing methods. The two basic questions raised were the issue of impartiality of police, to treat all people in an impartial way and an absence of the use of lethal weapons in peaceful demonstrations.
De Klerk then issued a statement following agreement on this. De Klerk states all this in his statement. We did not go into the detail of the implementation, but the commitment was made on the whole question.
Then there was the question of dangerous weapons. We said all dangerous weapons should be prohibited in public. They then said they would publish a government gazette prohibiting the carrying of such weapons at public meetings, gatherings and on route to meetings. A list was produced, covering most weapons, gazetted as prohibited weapons.
One of the questions that arose was that existing legislation said that it is not in itself an offence to carry a dangerous weapon. It only became an offence if you had intention to use that weapon for criminal purposes. Said this must be acted on immediately. Said that only way they can act immediately was to use the provision of unrest areas, but they would also proceed immediately to change existing legislation so that dangerous weapons could be banned without reference to unrest areas. This was done in terms of a government gazette relating to unrest areas. This was the only way the matter could be dealt with. The matter that remained unresolved was spears and sticks. They explained that Buthelezi, whom they had been in contact with, was saying that you can have genuinely traditional occasions, like the observance of Shaka day celebrations, when people would come in ceremonial dress carrying spears, shields etc. They would oppose any regulations which prohibited carrying spears and sticks in such circumstances. Buthelezi also said you could have a situation of an ordinary political meeting,' and the king comes to that meeting, accompanied by a guard of honour, dressed traditionally and carrying spears. You would be asking for trouble if this entourage was banned.
Their view was that this was a matter that needed discussion broader than just the ANC and the regime, and including Inkatha. so that there would be agreement on what was a cultural occasion when such spears etc could be carried.
We said spears etc being used to kill people and must be prohibited, and have to be part of the list of banned weapons. They asked for time to consult among themselves and with Buthelezi, saying they would come back to us within seven days. I do not know what has happened since then, expiring 18 May. This was the unresolved issue.
The formula proposed is that spears and sticks included in list, with the exception of genuine cultural occasions.
This is how the three questions were dealt with.
We met on Wednesday last week. You continued on Thursday.
On 15 May, expiry date, I phoned the office of the President to find out their response. De Klerk in parliament, so I spoke to Dr Roux who said he would contact the president. He phoned me in the evening and said De Klerk had had a meeting with Buthelezi the day before where the problem was discussed. Said it was a fruitful discussion, but he was going to meet traditional leaders from Natal next week, where he hoped this matter would be finalised in such a way that it would no longer be necessary for us to insist on this demand. Therefore the position is that they will come back to us with their decision next week.
On Wednesday when we were discussing this matter De Klerk had to go elsewhere. So we left the discussions with Thabo and others on Thursday. After receiving a report, I phoned De Klerk to indicate to him the report given to me. He then asked whether after 9 May I would still be prepared to talk to him. I assured him that as far as the set of demands are concerned, I would talk but as far as the normal talks this would have to come to an end. He then said he would come back and give me a report. This is the present position.
Does anyone want to add to this report?. None.
Are there any questions or comments?
According to the report, on the question of sticks and spears, the President says he has to discuss the matter with Buthelezi first. I want to know the logic of discussing with Buthelezi first. All of us know what is happening in the townships and the extent of killings. But now before anything can happen, De Klerk has to discuss with Gatsha. Is De Klerk not the president of the country? The report indicates praise for Gatsha for maintaining peace.
This is the point we were making. We said the spears and sticks are part of the dangerous weapons. Government must act. Spear not traditional only to Zulu speaking section of society. But it is Inkatha using spears in this context so they wanted to discuss with them. Matter needs sensitive handling so necessary to talk to
Gatsha so that they don't carry the spears.
On Hostels: government has made this commitment to phase out hostels before. Have they come out with any time scale. Again on fencing. This commitment has been made before. Just a few days ago the hostel dwellers came out of hostels in Kagiso and massacred residents. Is there any time scale indicated?
Fencing hostels was to be immediate. To do so as an immediate they would use razor wire and then proceed to permanent fencing. This was to be done immediately with roadblocks etc. But what has happened from hostel to hostel I don't know. We did not discuss any date with regard to hostel phasing out.
De Klerk said as soon as possible.
In the draft statement which was proposed to be issued and not issued, on these three points, on the question of the future conduct of the police, all it said was that the police would continue to act with professionalism and impartiality. What was agreed on that point apart from what they have said in the past few years, How do we ensure this, apart from an appeal?
What they were saying is that they had thought that apart from any measures there might be in terms of police regulations, that this standing commission would be the body that would deal with complaints against police. This would be the daily mechanism. Again, there was no discussion on detail of correct methods of crowd control etc. We did not discuss monitoring of this, outside of the standing commission.
We did make an issue of the way police deal with blacks and use live ammunition. We said the double standard being practised now should be stopped. Also said police should investigate every case of fatalities. De Klerk tried to argue that whenever there is a death the police open a docket. We challenged this because in the current violence this is not done. Instructions should be issued that this is done and carried out. This includes statements from witnesses during incidents and shooting must be sought. We did not just accept their statement, but outlined specific things that should be done.
The real point of the question is to ascertain whether the government has made any meaningful undertakings in this regard, not what we said. Has the government undertaken to do anything other than a structure to deal with complaints. Did they accept any of our points regarding live ammunition, code of conduct etc.
They accept live ammunition, bu,t they argue that the amount of force the police use must be commensurate with the threat. To the extent that it is not, then it is wrong. Indeed they accept they must insist that the police behave in that manner. In the event that they don't, then there is that redress.
In the discussions in general what was raised is an effective code of conduct. They said there is one in existence. We said this was not effective, and their statement on professionalism reflects a response to our demand for retraining etc. We did not go into details there, but saw this as a function of a peace conference. We therefore dealt with the broad issues and got commitment on these so that they could be accepted at a peace conference.
During the Sixties police could search everyone and no dangerous weapons were allowed. Was there any legislation that authorised the carrying of dangerous weapons?
That was the position when I practised law before 1961. When we met Vlok and Malan, Vlok quoted a Supreme Court judgement on the matter stating it is not an offence to carry a dangerous weapon.
Read from Natal Code and indicated that until October last year restrictions were enforced.
There are two things that are confusing. Comrade Thabo's report indicates that there was movement on the part of government on all issues other than spears and sticks. Aziz's explanation suggests that the forum for the actual movement was going to be a peace conference when it comes. I am now unclear. If you say the government and police will continue to be professional and impartial, and we say we did not insist on details because they will come later, this indicates no commitment on the part of the government until details are worked out, because there is assertion that they are impartial.This indicates no movement. We have to be clear on this question. We cannot be tagged along with coming back in seven days repeatedly because people continue to die and glaring police partiality. We must be clear on the question of movement.
There was movement on the general acceptance of our argument. We were clear in our own mind that we would have to work out and put into operation the practical plans. The specific implementation could not be worked out there because we are dealing with principles. I would state that there has been movement.
Agree with Pallo. If there is movement, but not publicly committed to concrete steps, they can move backwards as well. Therefore there can be room for denial. We have let them off the hook. From the report today it seems there is a lot of vagueness. Clear they gave indications, but because we have not come out with specific agreements, e.g. a code of conduct, basic concrete measures, so that they are tested publicly, so that they stand up to reaction from police force, etc. We must see them publicly commit themselves. Concerned with reports we are getting. They can also indicate that there was no meeting of the minds.
The point is correct. We wanted a commitment as a matter of priority on hostels as outlined above. But we were not ready to answer question of what you mean by that transformation. We did not have the details of what steps to take and what specific demands to attach to the detail. We perhaps should have gone prepared for that, but we were not. We went to get broad commitment on conduct on the basic issues. That is why De Klerk talks about proper crowd control for the first time.
On the question of spears. Radebe has some information on spears.
Jeff Radebe: Transcript from Digest of Natal read.
If there have been laws weapons, some judge has weapons. Can our lawyers the Supreme Court and which prohibited carrying such dangerous now made a judgment regarding dangerous investigate if this matter can be taken to can the case stand the test?
We should not act on that at present, because there is the possibility of agreement that the government bans the carrying of such weapons.
I want to come back to the issue of movement by the government on the question of policing. Thabo is correct that there are no details on the hostels, nor was there a code of conduct attached to the issue of police and weapons. But there is a qualitative difference in De Klerk's commitment to phase out hostels. Why is there not a similar commitment and unambiguous statement on policing? Instead there is an assertion that the police have been impartial and professional and will continue to be so. In essence saying there is no problem. The one is movement, the. second one cannot be construed as movement. The one on weapons indicates some movement, but the three statements are qualitatively different. On the police there can be no question that it be construed as movement.
I am worried by cultural weapons even on a selective basis, because death and attack follows. We can say Umkhonto has a day - 16 December. Will we be allowed to carry our weapons, even only 7 spears, on that day? What will happen?
We are meeting as an extended NEC to assess progress following the meeting between the DP and De Klerk. We are meeting here and seem to be in disagreement as to whether there has been progress. In fact we need to look at how our own delegation handles meetings with the other side. If we have identified three issues, and we want to meet to assess movement, then we should have gone to that meeting knowing in detail what we want to get out of that meeting. Comrades say we are not ready with the details, for instance on phasing out hostels. Yet there has been a national workshop on this question where the ANC was participant. There have been extensive discussions. Yet a delegation goes to meet and settles for a general commitment of "as soon as possible". We cannot accept this as progress. We could have achieved specifics. This is vague and not a commitment. The same applies to the question of policing. A draft code of conduct was tabled before an ANC NEC meeting. At least there should have been discussions which go beyond generalities. Agree with Pallo on De klerk's statement, and he has created the perception that the ANC has agreed with him on the professionalism of the police. There appears to have been insufficient preparation. There is no evidence that the comrades prepared themselves sufficiently.
De Klerk's statement does not carry much detail. But there was a tabulated commitment from the government which was to be made public. But there was no agreement on the general public statement. On the police: this was raised at DF Malan as a serious part of the problems in our country. Government undertook that it would go into this question to disband these forces. Requested that because of the sensitivity of this matter agree it should not be put in the statement or be public. Need a report of what has been done by the government. It is clear the special forces are still involved. But government wanted what they could do on this question not to be public because of sensitivity of the issue. There are clear problems in the forces.
The ANC has restricted the discussion on traditional weapons to itself and Inkatha and the government. But there are many other people and forces annoyed by the assertion that cultural weapons are the preserve of Buthelezi. Can the ANC not canvas views of others, eg Contralesa, who are in touch with all sections of our people who could also put a view on traditional weapons so that the matter is publicly debated and rally people to say what they want to say on the question that traditional weapons are only t he preserve of Inkatha. People are also already raising question of arming people, including spears. We are facing a revolt on this question.
JS raised this question with Vlok, but there was just silence.
Should there not be discussion within the leadership of the movement prior to delegations attending such meetings so that there is greater clarity on what is to be discussed and what we want out of it.
I would say there is movement in a general sense. NEC should decide that details must be determined on all aspects.
No need to labour that point because it is correct. We accept the point without debate.
I have a problem with what we are discussing now. My problem arises from the fact that while the state president makes promises an impression is created that we are making progress. There seems to be a number of areas that need attention, for example the minister of police pulls out a judgment but we are not clear what areas such a judgment covers. If it covers the whole country, but is silent on the Natal Code, how effective is it. The understanding of the people was that what was decided only covered the Witwatersrand region, because it was silent on Natal where fighting continues. Then on the police, we say that they must be impartial. But we could quote interesting examples, such as Chief Mapumulo who is killed by the police who investigate themselves. There are a number of such instances where police investigate themselves, but Vlok says they are acting professionally. We are being misguided.
There is the aspect of what is happening on the ground. There is no question of debating these dangerous weapons, because they are prohibited. The chiefs have said they are going to defy this ban. We met the chiefs yesterday, who said that there is no reason why all Zulus should not be members of Inkatha. They don't want any ANC in their areas. Until you prohibit the police who lead these attacks, you will not be able to prohibit the weapons.
There is the question of the Mooi River branch chairperson who was gunned down. Station commander assaulted those who met the police investigators from Pretoria. The government is not serious. If it was they would have long prohibited the carrying of these instruments of death.
Tea is ready. We will adjourn. In closing this matter we have taken note of all the observations made here. We have in particular taken note of the fact that it is necessary for delegations to be properly briefed.
In my view the observation that we ought to have pressed the government to make an undertaking is valid. But at the same time you must assess this in relation to the track record of the government. We know the government has agreed on a number of points, but they have reneged. We are dealing with such a government. Even if we had pressed them to make a commitment, and this would be correct, but even when they have said yes it is no guarantee that they will honour that. I am not saying we should not press them. All I am saying is that the type of people we are dealing with means that we cannot attach much weight to their commitments. This is clear from all our dealings on prisoners, exiles etc. We will continue to press them to make firm commitment. In future meetings we will act on the observations made here.
Observations by Walter Sisulu
After such exchanges I am not sure whether my observations are in place. Nonetheless, I will make them. Firstly, I want to draw your attention to the fact that this meeting is expected, and is convened for the purpose of dealing with the failure of the government to meet the deadline of 30 April as well as the deadline of 9 May.
The world and our country as a whole will be anxiously waiting for a lead as to precisely where do we go from here, and where are we. This question has to be linked with the entire political situation. It has to examine the position in the light of the situation in the country and in the light of our own programme. Our strategy remains correct to the core and has become the topic discussed throughout the world and in our country. I am referring to the Harare Declaration.
There are many problems that face us. But problems and the programme must fit into a general situation, not taken in isolation. The D-day of 30 April puts the position this way: that if the regime does not meet our requirements and deadline, that is clearing the obstacles to negotiations and releasing prisoners, we will reconsider our situation. The 9 May ultimatum also puts the position this way, that if the government does not meet our requirements and demands as tabled in the Open Letter, we will not participate in any all-party congress. Further, that we will not participate in the constitutional talks.
Having put demands, we must examine if there has been progress. One thing that the ultimatum has done is enabled us to regain the initiative, whatever other difficulties we face. It is on this basis that we should examine the position. Remember that the programme under discussion today is a programme set by us. This is an unusual way for an organisation which is not in power to determine what the agenda should be. This in itself is a victory of the people. I am emphasising this because there is a tendency for people to become disillusioned and angry. Your are leading a nation, not merely an organisation. Your behaviour will be judged in terms of what you do in terms of your leadership. We have made compromises. People sometime criticise compromise. But these have been tactical compromises, not compromises of principle. But these must be properly examined. The Tripartite statement of 29 April is a very impressive and inspiring document to form the basis of this discussion. The spirit of that joint discussion was inspiring. It is that type of approach that we require, not merely to be angry but to examine is this a correct way, do we meet the requirements of our people, not only of ANC members. The ANC leads millions of people. It is in alliance with Cosatu. Cosatu leads 1.2-million people. I have no doubt that there are very few in Cosatu who do not accept the leadership of the ANC and the alliance.
Our strength lies in the broad masses of the people, provided we do not fear, we speak openly, we give leadership in a correct way. By this I mean not giving leadership for your own sake, or to impress, but give leadership because it is the correct way to lead the people. One of t he most important things when giving leadership is to examine your opponents, your enemy. You have to analyse the situation and find out from all angles that you are on the correct path. Policy deals with fundamental issues. Our policy here is the Freedom Charter and wanting the transfer of power from the minority to the people. That is the fundamental issue. Your approach will be to examine a suitable strategy at each given time.
Is the enemy united? Does De Klerk want to derail the talks? Can it be stopped? Is he not forced by circumstances to follow that programme? Do the whites want the same thing? Is it not true that we have forces who are opposed to De Klerk for their own reasons, and their aim is the complete destruction of the progress being made? These people are not only in SA, but are people working in conjunction with international forces. If we do not examine this, we are missing the point, because a situation can be created, for instance the campaign against the Party and the alliance. Myeni declared war the other day, and said that if you don't try and stop these people now, you will never manage them thereafter. This is how some of them look at things. In other words I am attempting to say that on every issue there are contradictions. A strategist will examine the contradictions, and to what extent can they be used to your own advantage against the enemy. This requires a clear understanding of the tactics of the enemy to exploit such contradictions. We are exploiting those contradictions when we deal with the Bantustans. But that is not enough. We must be able to say that in this violence De Klerk aims at weakening the ANC. The third force aims at destroying everything. In the case of the Bantustans we have moved by exploiting the contradictions
Let me return to what the ultimatum has done. We have succeeded in shaking not only the SA government, but the international community. They began to take notice of the situation. The open latter has had this effect. Our own people have begun to have confidence in the leadership. We want to continue with the initiative, but in discussing as we do here, we must not only look at the short-term viewpoint, but look into the situation generally. You have people who say we will return to the bush. But go back where? Have you looked at the international situation? These are the issues which must be examined. If the issues are not examined you will mislead because of short-term gains.
I must mention our weaknesses and our strong points. The lack of understanding of contradictions is a weakness, because you cannot exploit those contradictions. De Klerk has gained popularity comparatively, beginning to be accepted, and our measures of countering that do not seem to be adequate or not properly utilised, We have weaknesses in regard to our propaganda, although in the last few weeks our situation improved a great deal to the extent that Inkatha is now being exposed as a group that bases itself on violence and without politics. We have succeeded to expose Inkatha. But this does not mean that we do not want to find a way of undermining Inkatha further more, people feel it is incorrect to discuss with Inkatha. It is correct to talk as a strategy. This is how we have won people, by talking, exposing and educating.
We are now entering a phase where we are trying to unite the people on the basis of the programme of the Patriotic Front. The agreement we entered into with PAC is regarded by some as boosting PAC. But greater advantage is how we utilise this coming together. All forces should come together. in the PF. We want to counter De Klerk's programme by bringing people together.
The coming conference on peace by De Klerk must be examined. Our measure to counter that must be examined. He is utilising this. From the beginning we were in doubt if we would be seen as not interested in peace. Every day De Klerk speaks on this question. The question of peace is such a method in which we can go out and mobilise. But what are we doing in fact. What I am saying is that we cannot deal with these issues by separating them. They are all interlinked.
I would like to stop there and thank you comrade Chair.
You have heard comrade Walter. The matter is now open for discussion.
I want to agree with the perspective that all these questions are interlinked and we should not take them as separate issues. One question went through my mind: is De Elerk committed to negotiations? I want us to ask that question again and again, even when we leave this meeting. I am not wanting an answer now. But that question is very vital. Before tea we were discussing the question of traditional weapons and the rigmarole around that issue. My own impression, and it is coming out openly now, on the ground everyone agrees that there is co-operation between Inkatha and the security forces, but if you study statements by De Klerk the alliance between De Klerk and Inkatha is coming into the open now. Look at Viljoen's praise of Inkatha as being committed to peace etc. All this indicates an alliance against the ANC. I would like us to take this question very seriously. We stay in the townships and we need to get the mood of ordinary citizens and how they feel. The people are saying: where is the ANC? why is the ANC letting us down'' The people are clear that it is an alliance between De Klerk and Inkatha. People want positive, concrete action from the ANC, or we will lose their support.
Comrade WS referred to the deadlines of 30 April and 9 May. We have to go back to our decision from Conference and the resolution to pull out of the talks. In a cool and dispassionate manner, we have to ask what has happened between then and now. We have to agree that the regime has released prisoners, but some are still in prison and are on hunger strike, vowing to fast to the death if not released. The regime has treated this issue flippantly, and have not expressed any concern, wanting to underplay the issue and marginalizing it.
On exiles, something has been done, but not enough. Whenever there are agreements, they renege. The regime will only move, not as a result of talks, even though these are necessary, but because of organised pressure. We have seen how the regime acts when we mobilise the masses in support of action.
Is De Klerk sincere? Yes, but he is negotiating for something different from what we want. He cannot rule in the old way, but he wants his own coalition. He cannot move forward without talking to us, but he wants to prevent us being the dominant factor.
At the moment what is facing us as a movement i s to ask ourselves what has brought us to this stage of struggle? But what is important, and as we talk to the regime the struggle must not suffer, the people are there enabling us to negotiate from a position of strength. What programme of struggle to push the regime to what we want should be what emerges from this meeting. Negotiations is only one terrain of struggle, and ask if we are paying proper attention to all terrains.
As a result of the ultimatum there is a visible improvement of morale on the ground. We must examine the contents in total of the Open Letter. De Klerk has detached three items, but what of the other, such as the issue of Malan and Vlok, and the dismantling of the CCBs etc.
On this question of the ultimatum and the deadlines, it is clear the regime is not prepared to meet the demands. Given the recalcitrance of the regime to meet our demands, we should not continue talking. Our people are openly saying that we seem to have acceded more than what we have received. We shall achieve our objectives if we are able to carry our people with us. We know the consequences of the violence. People are afraid. In the trains some coaches are now simply Inkatha. People are afraid to attend meetings. It is going to be important for us to rebuild our organisation and generate confidence in our organisation and its ability to cope with what is thrown against us.
I have no problem in talking to Inkatha. But we must also find practical ways to say to Inkatha that it does not pay them to attack us. Buthelezi talks to us, prays for peace etc, but he is not doing enough to stop the killing. We have the responsibility to ensure that communities can be defended.
The PF is an important achievement, and we must move very quickly to build the PF and pull in new forces. The initiative with the PAC must be extended.
On the question of the bush: it is not easy, but we should not just dismiss the question because if we are pushed too far we have to find solutions.
It is true that our people, in the branches and regions, and not only ANC members but all people who have, in the course of struggle waged by the ANC, have come to identify the ANC as the national leader and organisation that is the vanguard to create the future SA, are beginning to ask: where is the ANC leading us to? The feeling that we are giving more credibility to De Klerk has not only come from within the ANC; but even from outside from people who believe the future lies with the ANC. I have been called by leaders, homeland leaders, who have come to discuss this. Military generals who feel that De Klerk is visiting areas where he could never go before say that the source of this problem lies in the ANC and our handling of the situation.
Recently, at our regional conference, one of the government leaders addressed the conference where he said that negotiations should not extinguish the revolution we had initiated. We have the obligation to take this advice to the whole of the ANC. The negotiations should not put out the light of struggle and our achievements. In our negotiating strategy we are not giving enough attention to the perspectives that had gripped the masses who are now confused and do not know where to go. The answer to this can only come from the ANC and its allies.
Agree with points raised by WS, and the resurgence of confidence following the ultimatum. But from the tripartite meeting we agreed that we would go out and report on May Day. People were ready to act. But within days there were indications of compromise and people do not know where to go. This is making people doubt where they are being led and who they are following. We need to assess the international community, and they were watching what would unfold from the ultimatum. But what has made De Klerk concede is the action of the people. Our strength is mass action, and the people are still waiting to see which way to go. Dates for action were set, but what happened? We must take action on the dates determined. The people will support the ANC, but the ANC is not only its leadership, but must act with Cosatu, the Party and even the alliance. ANC has enormous respect, and must maintain its position as a revolutionary organisation. We have made so many concessions, and people are questioning this. The Harare Declaration is not seen as a fighting document. We have to analyse and re-evaluate De Klerk's conference on peace. At this point even Buthelezi is not sure of his going. ANC must use our influence to ensure that we mobilise to ensure that others do not go there as we have decided not to go.
There is this question of alliance with the government of some organisations or chiefs. On May 7 Pik Botha is busy with Ciskei forming alliances. He says there is no future with homelands. Their task is now to form organisations which will ally with the government, because ANC has no place for them. It is clear he wants more chiefs not to have contact with us. In this I urge we try to have contact and influence with the chiefs to mobilise them behind us. We cannot dismiss them. We have urged that there be guidelines concerning chiefs and homelands, because what is happening is that we are not speaking one language as the leadership. We all say different things. These organisations are seen as part of an Inkatha strategy. We must bring the chiefs to our side.
WS has said we are regaining the initiative. We must make this strong. We must also get the world on our side, who must see us as reasonable and striving for peace. Loans should be given to SA earmarked for housing and schools only. This would enable us to be seen as reasonable. Essential to constantly evaluate progress. We must persuade our prisoners not to commit to be on hunger strike until death.
One of the most important points by WS is that this meeting is convened to discuss the failure of the government to meet our demands. The entire country is waiting for our response. The problems we are faced with, including recruitment, are affected by violence. The third force has been made clear to the government. People want leadership from the ANC. We have got to lead. I would not like us to go back to the bush, but if we are forced to we will have to start from the beginning again. But we must be able to defend ourselves as a necessity. Talks are essential and should be maintained. What will our response be to the fact that the government has failed to meet our deadlines?
We acknowledge that the negotiation process is the baby of the ANC and it entered that process because it saw the possibility of victory through this process. Acknowledge that the ANC, being responsible and authors of this process, the ANC is also responsible to the people. Agree that De Klerk has got a constituency. We have discussed this thing in the Youth League. We say that in particular the April 30 deadline was not only a deadline set by ANC, but part of an agreement between ANC and the government. The government has a tendency on reneging on agreements entered into. In this process the ANC loses face, not the government. Leadership has demonstrated commitment to the peace process and are prepared to assist De Klerk.
The movement must take cognizance of the dangers of making promises it does not carry out. We are not going to be able to convince anyone that the government has moved on the demands we have made. The way the government has interacted with us shows no respect and do not consider our constituency, which we do with him. We want to say: let us act in the manner we have determined. We have regained some strategic initiative. Noting that the government has not moved, we need to do what we have said we will do, but in such a way that says we are serious about real negotiations and that all obstacles must be removed. This must place the onus on the government to act on the situation. It is essential that the ANC act on its own demands. On May 9 deadline we made the demands to demonstrate the seriousness with which we view violence. We are disappointed that De Klerk has not in fact moved and he does not respect our movement and our leaders. We appeal for us to act in terms of our own demands, in such a way that the ANC does not say negotiations are not possible, but are only possible if the government enters the process meaningfully and honestly. Progress must not be at the expense of the ANC.
WS input valuable directs us to consider violence within a strategic perspective. This has been lacking. We are not taking sufficient account of how things are changing domestically and internationally. Reference has been made to NP/Inkatha alliance. They are moving away from trying to get group privileges guaranteed constitutionally, but to do so through alliances. The violence is part of building a counter-revolutionary alliance, building Inkatha at our expense. Our response should counter the violence and enhance our long-term goals. We are not only losing lives, we are losing politically. People were very happy about the ultimatum, because although it did not stop the violence it gave them hope.
Important to look at what type of response will win us more support and broad our alliance and counter violence. Being conciliatory is not going to do it. The government is much more worried by the mass action than conciliatory statements. If the hunger strikers die, we will be blamed. Must consider defiance on a large scale. The character of the problems of the violence and the failure to meet agreements demands very aggressive action on our part.
We are also losing support internationally. We must redirect our international policy. In stead of concentrating on sanctions, rebuild solidarity action on violence and Harare Declaration. Should raise violence on agenda of security council. It must constitute a threat to peace on a world order. Thabo should tackle this.
We see negotiations as more than one terrain of struggle. But this does not mean negotiations on their own, but supplemented by a variety of actions in support . Need a carefully thought-out and aggressive response so that the government recognises that we are serious.
As we understand the matter: the consultative conference made decisions and the NEC, in carrying out those decisions, gave the NP more time. Let us admit, as others have done, that much has happened but it is not because the government has been magnanimous, but because of the push made by the people. But the government has made tremendous gains: visit of De klerk to the Scandinavian countries.; On our own side we are facing a very tough test of credibility with our own people. When the ultimatum was made, when we went back to our constituencies, people were very excited and said now you are beginning to move. With that, in our region alone, people flocked into the ANC office to join.
We are in a revolution: this is a change from one order to another. Power will have to be won by the people. Negotiations are part of the struggle. What we have to decide is whether this NEC will come out with a statement which says that because the government has failed in its obligations, mass action is going to be intensified. But that does not stop the DP meeting De Klerk. But all other committees must come to an end.
Similarly, when we are talking about violence. De Klerk has long had an alliance with Inkatha, it is not a new formation. I want to repeat that we want to come out with determined action. We use many words but say nothing about the masses. Let us go back to our people to say that in order for negotiations to succeed we must push hard together in mass action with us in the lead.
Some say they are afraid to go back to the bush. It will not depend on this, because they will push you back into the bush.
This is the tenth comment, and we have spent one hour, 25 minutes on this topic. Looking at the programme before us, we should be curtailing this discussion. I will therefore allow two more speakers, and close.
? (w. Cape)
I agree with the speakers so far on the whole. It is clear that through the ultimatum we have regained initiative. If we can lose that again, the ANC will not be able to do so again and make it impossible for organisers to recruit.
We must be in touch on the ground with the views of the people. People, even non-members, give their full support to the ANC. Appeal that whatever we decide on we cannot back down and let our people down. We need to use the strategic initiative and build and intensify our mass action. This must be throughout the country.
On the question of the hunger strikes: we have tried to persuade them to stop. But the comrades are prepared to die. This must be a national campaign throughout the country. Today the mayor of Cape Town is participating in fasting demanding their release. There is little impact by the ANC on demands or highlighting the plight of the prisoners. This must be a national ANC issue.
We must take initiative and action aggressively, nationally and place the government on the defensive. We have been lax in mobilising international support. But also, no one wants to say we go back to the bush, but we must not weaken that limb of our struggle. Right now. we have comrades in the bush who have repeatedly said they are ready for the next order. This should not be weakened. We have pointed out that De Klerk and IFP are in alliance, and the violence is going to continue. We must go all out and defend our people. The initiative we have regained will be lost unless we are seen to actively be doing something concretely in defence of the people.
We agree with the briefing by comrade WS. Since the Open Letter we have seized the political initiative. Report that in one branch alone 405 people signed up because of the Open Letter. In our region we have the JWC on the violence, which met on 20/21 April. Some comments made here were made there. Yesterday JWC recommended that it would be necessary to come up with a set of recommendations and programme of action. This includes mass action, co-ordinated at national level, including stayaway for 3 and 4 June, but need to determine appropriate dates for a national stayaway. Also wants programme of action for immediate, medium and long-term needs. Also want something to come out with reference to political prisoners and reconsidering our position on negotiations. Does not serve much purpose to continue to serve deadlines. If we are of the opinion that obstacles are not removed, the decision of conference should be implemented until at least July. Agree support protests around political prisoners, proposing march on police stations for 22 May. On the peace conference: confirmed position of the movement that ANC should not participate but find alternative initiatives. Also propose June 1 be used to highlight plight of children because of violence and prison.
In closing the discussion on this topic, I agree that WS has made an important contribution. The comments from the floor have been equally important. We have to deal with a number of tendencies. There is a tendency for some comrades, when examining issues, even in a meeting like this, to tend to be more militant to show they are more militant than their comrades and to make statements not born out by facts. I am happy that in the discussions that have ensued on the two topics there has been no such tendency. I hope that this will be the spirit in which we examine our problems, even as we go through the rest of the agenda.
Secondly, there is a tendency for people to forget that the struggle has its ups and downs. To retain high level of morale when doing well, and to be discouraged and despondent when things go against us, and forget achievements. The liberation movement has made very solid and visible gains, firstly over the last 30 years the movement has almost completely isolated the regime and if today they are making a recovery we must assess that recovery against the fact that throughout the 30 years we put their backs against the wall. That is not an achievement we should forget when discussing the present situation.
Secondly, we have succeeded in forcing the regime to abandon its own basic stand and to come over to ours. The FC was published in 1955 and set out our demands. The cardinal feature of that policy is that we should live in a non-racial society. The government has shifted to our policy of non-racialism, whether they are sincere or not, which is a different question. But the force of logic and our actions have forced them to accept our policies.
They have also demonised the .ANC and said they would never talk to us. They are now talking to us. When we met we approached the issues from totally different positions. There is a tendency when things are not going in our favour to forget the gains we have made. Some of the observations made here are due to the fact that we do not keep in mind the basic gains we have made. It is important for us to examine the mistakes and weaknesses reflected in the course of our struggle. This has been pointed out here, which all comrades acknowledge. But there must be no desperation of exaggerating the successes of the regime and our weaknesses. One sometimes doubts whether the members of the NEC are really in touch with the situation on the ground. This is a very serious thing to say, because members of the NEC should interest themselves far beyond what people say in the street and try to assess what the views of the people are in a scientific manner. It would be good if one given attitudes of our members with proper reference and facts. Some people found, in their areas, a different perspective than one is painted here (Radebe above). In our area last week we went on a house to house campaign, raising 40 people who signed up from 20 houses. This picture does not reconcile with what has been said here that our people feel they have been let down. Some people may have said so. But at such a meeting we would like more information than simply bold statements. What has been said may well be accurate, but we want to base our decisions on facts that have been produced. Comrades must be very careful in indicating to us what they consider to be the attitude of our people. It is dangerous to generalise personal experiences.
Views have been made on the question of negotiations and people said we are concentrating on negotiations and ignoring everything else. There is a document here on strategy. Quite early in the course of our negotiations the point was made clearly that negotiations is just part of our strategy and tactics, and must be linked with other forms of struggle. This has been repeated on countless occasions. I find it difficult that we should be warned on this again, because if anything is understood here is that it will be dangerous for us to concentrate on only one form of struggle. We have had a number of mass activities since we started negotiations, the latest being that by the youth and women, which have had a terrific impact.
One of the things we have to bear in mind on negotiations is that it is our initiative. We embarked on this initiative because we saw it as crucial. Failure will be a reflection against us. Whatever problems arise we must look at them from the point of view that this is our initiative and we must succeed. If we do, we can imagine what the position of the movement will be. If we fail, we must recognise the amount of damage that will result. The idea must always be that negotiations must succeed, whatever the tactics of the moment.
People who talk about a compromise are making a serious mistake. On the contrary, those people who have been handling these negotiations have sometimes been very hard on the government and made the government retreat. This is without minimising the point made requiring proper briefing. Subject to that your delegations have done exceptionally well and they have made the government retreat. (Illustration given of 6 August meeting). We cannot force them to accept our views only through discussion, but need to back up our demands through other forms of action.
We should clear a misunderstanding, as a point made that we are now only concentrating on three of the demands. Nothing could be further from the truth. What happened, as I reported at the Tripartite, is that De Klerk phoned and requested a meeting. I said no, as I have been discussing with you for the past 14 months and you want me to come back and start talking. But if you indicate to me on these three issues, if you do something visible, I am prepared to meet you and we can then discuss the response to the rest of the demands. It was on the basis of that that we met. There is no question of abandoning the remainder of the demands.
As far as the deadlines are concerned: 30 April and 9 May I must point out that I was seen by the four nominees to the prison release board - comrades Skweyiya, Chaskalson, Omar and Coleman. They said they were dissatisfied with the conditions under which they had to serve and as a result they would find it difficult to serve on this committee. I phoned De Klerk and told him that the 30 April deadline has past, and there are grey areas which have to be examined by this release board. In addition, there are still some political prisoners who fall within the definition who have not been released and exiles not indemnified. Suggested we simplify the process and release all prisoners and a general indemnity be given to all exiles. De Klerk said he wanted to refer the matter to Coetsee and suggested further discussions with him. He arranged for Coetsee to phone, held meeting on Sunday night and put proposition above for general release. Coetsee said he is waiting for list of people whom we regard as political prisoners in the grey areas. I said we will go into that, but want the principle agreed upon. Time is now passed where we can refer to this prison board. I was tempted to say to him that in any case you are hound to release these people as well as the exiles because the American comprehensive AA Act of 1986 says that sanctions will not be reviewed until all political prisoners are released and exiles returned. There is no stipulation. that people must apply for permission or release. If we are able to identify them and have a list, giving the numbers, the government is then confronted with a very serious problem. They want sanctions reviewed and they cannot get this if there are still prisoners and exiles.
I do not know if it is true that they are still waiting for this list. I have asked Comrade Maduna to give me a list of prisoners, but went to see him without getting that list. But if Comrades Phosa and Selebi can brief us on this matter. We have a very strong case to press this point given the government's delays in setting up the prison board etc. Is De Klerk honest about negotiations? This is a relevant point, but we must not forget that firstly when we made the point that this is a man of integrity, we also added that what is important in formulating our strategy is not the honesty of an individual, but the policy of the party represented, and that there was no change in the policy of the NP, which would determine our strategy. This is what we should focus upon. If De Klerk is not committed to negotiations, we must make him committed. We are succeeding in this. We are forcing the government on all these issues.
When I was in Stellenbosch they sent somebody to say this is your friend, he is following a hard line on cultural weapons, you must convince him that the only way we can resolve it is by a meeting with Buthelezi. I said I would not meet Buthelezi on this question. When they come to me to say I must not follow a hard line, then they should tell me what I must do, because what we are interested in is banning cultural weapons. The government cannot do without us. If they form an alliance with Buthelezi or the DP, they can never have the support of the masses of the people. Even if they form an alliance with the PAC, they cannot have the masses of the people. PAC claims 800,000 members. Even with them all, they cannot match our following. We have to be careful about mass action as well. In our meeting of the Tripartite, the union leaders were very cautious on this question and wanted to consult the workers. They are not readily inclined to accept calls for a strike or stayaway. These issues must be carefully considered given the economic climate and retrenchments. Must be careful about what type of mass action we call for. This does not mean we must be hesitant on mass action, but just that we must be very careful.
Item (b) and (c) of the Agenda
Propose that the people who are going to prepare the statement be appointed now. Agreed Thabo, Jeremy and Pallo
Jay Naidoo - Report
Discussion on the Peace Conference should be seen in conjunction with a strategic approach of (c). On the peace conference proposed by De Klerk for 24 and 25 presented problems where they government, part of the violence, presenting itself as a mediator. The principle of a peace conference was not at issue, but has long been on the agenda. The initial response was to say that we should not participate in the conference being convened by De Klerk. The issue then was that if the issue of a conference is important, why don't we pursue an initiative to hold a conference which would achieve what was desired. A proposal was developed in a tripartite meeting of 5 May attempting to respond to the violence in a strategic way, and those proposals then go back to the principals. It was agreed to try to get the churches to convene such a conference. Contact was to be made with Chikane and Louw Alberts of Rustenburg, who should then take the contacts further with government and Inkatha, and trying to get agreement that De Klerk unilaterally calling a conference meant it would not succeed.
Principle was that we had to have a multi-lateral effort to end the violence. Received report on discussion being held with DP and De Klerk. We pursued the initiative to try to organise a peace conference with churches and business. Meeting took place between DP and De Klerk. IN preparation for this meeting the Tripartite secretariat met and felt it was very important that there be some discussion within the alliance that we discuss the peace conference and the strategic perspective. Such a meeting was held last night drawing in all sectors involved in discussions. Premised on view that there be a peace conference with binding mechanisms and means of enforcement.
In relation to convening of peace conference, it is a problem if De Klerk continues with this conference. Church and business are saying they will attend, but forces aligned with us will not. Can there be a way to break the deadlock. Options suggested is that there are three parties involved in the violence: the government, Inkatha and the ANC. Can in place of De Klerk's initiative the three parties convene a preparatory meeting for the conference. Understanding is that any conference does not arrive at solutions, but predetermined by what is presented to the conference. Therefore propose a convening conference. Suggest diplomatic moves to get all three parties to attend a conference, with a planning committee including trade. unions, churches, the party etc and structure binding agreements.
in terms of the government, it was felt they would buy this. If De klerk goes ahead he recognises that he has failed. Similarly, if we call a conference and De Klerk and Inkatha do not attend, it is also a failure. Our conception of a peace conference was more of a process that leads to binding agreements negotiated to the fine detail.
In that context we should look at our overall strategy. Cosatu not opposed to mass action. But cannot call it for the sake of calling for mass action. We cannot be turned on and turned off at the request of any organisation, even if it was the Cosatu executive calling for it. Mass action must reinforce strategic goals as part of an overall programme.
This brings us to the meting of May 5. What was clear was that different parts of the movement were acting differently and adopting different approaches. In that meeting it was argued that we need a multi-lateral peace effort, with binding agreements with obligations on the component parties, what are the enforcement mechanisms. General principles do not make an impact. How do we enforce a code of conduct? We have to talk about mass action in the context of a strategy, aiming to achieve certain things. We must continue to put forward issue of defending our people and the right of self-defence. We must also centralise in some way the co-ordination of our strategy. Different initiatives are taken by regions, branches etc. Structure a monitoring committee and do thinking about how strategy is unfolding. Negotiations to end violence must also involve the masses of our people.
Basis of what we are saying there must be a political solution to the violence, and need to take action to pressurise the other side to accept this. Agree standing commission as we define it, giving power to enable it to take action against security forces. Take the shell and give it content. Look at issue of defence committees, and reach an agreement with the government, on the cultural weapons, and then look at development. When we look at transforming the hostels, in what context? People in the hostels feel threatened. Our strategy must draw from our past experiences, weaknesses and strengths.
In that context let us adopt a programme of action which will go back to the organisations for ratification. From Cosatu's side we cannot go ahead with the timetable as presented, and must be renegotiated. Cosatu tried to report back to its CEC, but had to cancel-the proposals because there were confused signals being given and a change of emphasis.
Mass action accepted in the context of a strategy. To pursue those objectives, the peace conference agreements and enforcement mechanisms as defined, we can negotiate those things,. We have the employers, trade unions and churches on board on this issue. But at the same time we are saying let us mobilise for action, national action. What we should do is set the proposal for mass action. in early July - national general strike - to go back to executives. At the same time we should put forward proposals to reach a negotiated settlement. We should build towards mass action nationally. IN that context we can take sectoral/regional action leading up to national action.
In addition need to set up proper crisis committees to respond to the needs of our people. Must discuss a more aggressive legal strategy – e.g. sue station commander in Krugersdorp who did not stop the killings. We are not doing enough work on the PF. When the peace conference came up we should have convened a meeting of all patriotic forces to act with one voice.
We want all our sectors to act with one voice. We must win the public debate and have a programme of action which builds the confidence of our people.
Both items (b) and (c) covered, Propose we discuss (b) first, the peace conference and the alternative.
Put the following to the meeting: is there anyone who wants to argue that we should attend the conference of De Klerk of 24 and 25, as it is clear from Vilioen's statement that they are going ahead with the conference with or without the ANC, which will have to account for its absence?
Before throwing the matter open for discussion, report from WS or Nzo on efforts to discuss with homeland leaders to prevent their participation.
Met with KwaNdebele, general briefing with the cabinet. Then met Mahlangi one to one, who indicated that he had been approached to attend the conference. He said he would put the position of the ANC and do what he can. President of Nafcoc took similar lines. Said he would send telegram to ask De Klerk that in view of ANC not participating that he should consider postponing the conference.
Met chief minister of KaNgwane to discuss the De Elerk conference. Gave him our position of not attending and were working on an alternative. He agreed with our position, and since the ANC was not going they would not go. They had not yet received an invitation to attend. Yesterday he phoned and said he had now received an invitation from De Klerk, and what was the position of the ANC? Said position remains the same: non-attendance, but would advise him of the decisions of today's meeting. If the position remains as it was, KaNgwane will not attend. Papers say they are going to attend.
Held discussions with Chief Mopeli and outlined our stand to him. He did not commit himself, but said he would discuss the matter with his cabinet. We have not yet had a reply.
On Tuesday seeing Professor Ntsanwisi, who appears keen to go, saying the question of peace is very important and regards the conference as one which is a continuation of all forms of violence. Indicated our stand and advised him not to take hasty action and requested him to suspend decision until meeting on Tuesday. But not very hopeful.
Spoke to Ramodike of Lebowa, who is 100% behind us. Also spoke to Archbishop Tutu. I had been informed that he wants to go. He repeated that he thinks it is his duty, because his church has both white and black members. Certain of black support, but not white. But if ANC is not going, then his duty would be not to go. But whether he will succeed in persuading his members remains to be seen.
What is position of Transkei, Ciskei?
Give us a report?
We have not been asked to act on this question.
Transkei leaders feel they have been left out of the consultations about the future, and' they expect us to discuss with them and we are not doing that. They have not been formally approached.
We had a meeting with some of the top leaders of the Transkei. They asked us that when decisions are taken they should receive information on such decisions. That is why I am asking if, as we have discussed with others, have we discussed with them.
Need to note that the Transkei has been particularly affected by the violence and must be consulted.
As no one wants to speak on the question of attending De Klerk's conference, let us look at the alternatives. Whether people go or not, or its success, will depend on what alternatives we present. Agree that there will be a formal approach to the Transkei. They are being contacted now.
Presenting the alternatives:
Importance of having the conference. First issue, who is the convenor, whether De Klerk or any party. Option presented to this meeting is to take the parties involved in the clashes and affected by the violence - government, Inkatha and ANC - and propose that the three parties involved in this violence. take the responsibility to convene a preparatory committee, not the conference, to convene organisations/parties to constitute a preparatory committee. And this preparatory committee is the negotiating forum which negotiates the binding agreements, with enforced obligations on the main parties. The conference itself adopts those agreements.
This convening Preparatory committee determines the invitees? Yes. Open for discussion.
Proposal worth looking at. But initially we had a different approach. But as yet we have not had an explanation as to why the initial approach, the church leaders convening, is not workable. They met ANC, government and Inkatha. Cosatu met with employers following these discussions. Sacob placed an advertisement persuading ANC tog attend. But after our meeting with Saccola business undertook to talk to all parties in support of a neutral party convening a peace conference, including saying to Inkatha that if he does not support a neutral body as convenor, business will not support hint.
But following this, when Saccola tried to meet the government, they phoned to say that Viljoen told them that there was a deal being worked out with ANC and there was nothing to worry about. We were beginning to turn the tide against De Klerk's initiative, but it is not correct for us as a movement to jump from one initiative to another without proper explanations. How would we explain this to the church leaders, who were committed to this approach that they were going to prepare the ground for De Klerk to find it difficult to not support this neutral convening proposal.
Met Chikane after Tripartite meeting, together with Sydney. Discussed the approach with him. Chikane agreed to start work the following day. We were to go back to him the next day, but no follow up. From the time we met until today there has been no other meetings. Chikane was worried about the flood of invitations that had come to all church leaders. Will meet with him after today's meeting.
Chikane and other leaders went to see De Klerk. De Klerk said to them that they were going to go ahead with their conference and wanted to know if the church leaders were proposing to call a separate alternative conference. Church leaders said now, wanting to facilitate for everyone to attend the same conference, including yourselves. They therefore did not persuade De Klerk to abandon his conference. We then had our meeting with De Klerk on Wednesday. On that day Chikane spoke to De Klerk on the phone and De Klerk said we are meeting the ANC now to discuss a whole series of questions and repeated his position. Chikane then said they had better wait and see what comes out of this meeting. What happened at the meeting where the violence issue was discussed the issue of the conference arose and was discussed informally. What we said to the government representatives was that the idea of a peace conference is not a problem. We want a peace conference to include everyone. Problem is who convenes and prepares for that conference. In the course of that discussion consensus emerged was that various parties in the way Jay explained should get together and discuss the processes. Government ready to participate in a conference convened by group of organisations. Various possibilities were then looked at. Government accepted need for a broader grouping. Telephoned De Klerk to ask if he would support this position, and he agreed. We then said we would report the matter ourselves to our principals. They phoned this morning to say they are waiting for our response on that view. After that saw Chikane and reported what had happened and said that the matter would be dealt with here. Iie had a problem: if it is agreed that this is how the conference would be prepared, then the task that was given to the church leaders would no longer be necessary. Problem was that the church leaders had received their individual invitations to attend the conference, and were expected to respond by Wednesday. We said to Chikane that we will be discussing on Friday, and he was under pressure to give advice to churches regarding their invitations. As church leaders they would have a problem explaining a boycott of the conference to their constituencies. Chikane was going to say that if anyone felt they needed to attend, they should do so but say that they as church leaders are interested in the conference succeeding, then want to ensure that all organisations, including ANC, be present, making their participation dependent on success of the conference, which means all parties must be there. As to what happens to the original initiative will depend on what happens here. If there is agreement on such broad convening, the task given to the church leaders would fall away. Chikane was going to communicate this to the church leaders, and wait for the outcome of this meeting.
Did the constitutional dept person who contacted you today indicate why they have in fact jumped the gun and committed themselves to the conference yesterday by Viljoen.
Reason for suggestion that Jay is putting forward was because the impression given was that the church initiative was running aground. Issue was the character of the peace conference being very important. Clear about what we are trying to do. Whether it is the churches, or whether we go for another formula, will depend on up to date information. The church initiative, if it has life, must proceed.
The whole world is waiting for our decision. We cannot simply come out with a no to De Klerk. We must have an alternative.
I suggest that if we go public with our proposal it will founder.
Support Jay's proposal. One of the problems with the church initiative is that they are not seen as neutral by all parties. Churches should be included as part of the initiative. We must be open. The conference is due next week. People want to know what the ANC is saying and what its options are. We would be helping our momentum to stop others going provided they know what our alternatives are. Even business is being invited by De Klerk, and they want our view.
It is not clear how the proposal of co-convenors differs from the Troika the government and Inkatha have been proposing. Secondly, if we come out with decision to break off contact because demands not being met, how do we go to the conference? There is a contradiction. Violence also inhibits free political activity, and should be tackled as such.
Whether we cut off all contact: Open Letter says we will not participate in APC or negotiations, not cut off all contact.
Are we trying to see the end of the violence. [f yes, we have to ask what is the vehicle. We say it should be binding agreements with enforcement mechanisms. People are demanding an end to violence. Locating that binding agreement with a programme of action that pressurises the parties to adhere to agreements. A meeting of the three parties is not the same as a troika meeting between De Klerk, Buthelezi and Mandela. It is not just bringing the leaders together. Must structure agreements that create conditions on the ground that will ensure peace, not a public signing only.
We want peace. Bring parties involved together. Let a neutral body convene the meeting, and not complicate the matter by the formula suggested by Jay.
How are we going to get out of the situation where if we come with the position of the three parties, when De Klerk says to us why doesn't the ANC come and put that proposal to the De Klerk conference.
It is unfortunate that we are in the situation we are in now. With the present proposal it would appear that the ANC and Inkatha are being called together by De Klerk. We have not given the church initiative any opportunity to succeed. We did not give it full backing. We do not have much choice but to support Jay's proposals. We need to discuss how to project this so it does not seem that the government is again calling ANC and Inkatha together. Regret the church initiative was not given sufficient support and time.
Our understanding was that the church initiative was floundering and that it would be rejected by government and Inkatha. The church initiative would not bring together all the parties. So in the context of that we were trying to work out the formula to allow the conference to be called, determining the nature of conference. Agreed to set up a broad-based steering committee, which would remove preparations from any one party.
We are talking of three main parties. We should not forget that one of the parties that is deeply involved in this violence is the workers movement. The three should include the trade union movement.
Are these two suggestions mutually exclusive? I do not think so. Even if you talk about ANC, Inkatha and the government, plus Cosatu, but someone still has to call them together. The churches could convene the meeting of the parties to decide the process. That is, the churches convene the preparatory committee.
We are trying to unify this house but this is not correct. The comrades had an informal discussion with the other side, and we still need a formal response. What I was raising was style of work. We have an initiative on the table, namely the churches. An informal discussion was held and another proposal made, which then appears to nullify the church initiative. The proposal for the churches to bring the three together is clumsy.
the issue is can we get a conference of the kind we want. The three are not convening the conference, but putting together a broad convening committee. This should be what guides us.
We have demanded the dismissal of Vlok and Malan. If the government is going to be included in the body which is to summon the peace conference, they will be there. Would we be regarded as consistent if we sit down and discuss with the people whose dismissal we have demanded. We must examine this consciously.
Request Jay to summarise discussion:
On a point of procedure. We cannot close the discussion. We are faced with an invidious position where the allies in a meeting take a decision and say we will follow a particular line of march - the churches. Members of that alliance make an informal arrangement with the regime outside of the framework running contrary to the decision taken. This is not acceptable and this matter has to be addressed. No matter how we present this we will make a laughing stock of ourselves as accepting the troika. We have ourselves undermined the church initiative. Matter reported to the PC this week. PC decided that SM and Nzo should go back to Frank to reassure him that we would not change our position.
Pity you are raising this only now as this is something totally new.
We did indicate earlier that there was a decision for us to see Chikane, but that we did not go.
The crucial question here is the questions raised by Chikane about the differing signals. What do we do now.
Give the Chikane initiative another chance.
In terms of what we are trying to achieve Chikane mast be given the opportunity to bring the preparatory committee together. In this way the church initiative is reintegrated. Principle being raised is correct: when we reach agreement how is it chanced? But if we do hot act we are going to lose tremendously.
Must stick to the original decision that the church must convene the peace conference, and this must he included in our statement.
Can we go further to say that the comrades must meet Chikane tonight. Agreed.
With due respect, are we doing political positioning or are we saying that we want an initiative that must succeed. Very clear sitting here and take the same position as the Tripartite we are not saying anything new, and we are certain that there are people who are not going to accept it as they do not regard the church as a neutral force. Clear we are killing everything. Thought the option put by Jay to a point where we want to succeed in ending violence, not putting our political position, What is the problem of integrating the process, including the Chikane initiative. Up to now what has prevented us from moving forward.
Problem is the one outlined by Pallo, that we maintain the position of having asked him to call the peace conference. What effect would there he if we change from this position. He has seen all the parties, and there is nothing to prevent him from seeing them. As far as we are concerned we have asked him to convene the peace conference.
We have a lengthy agenda and we have done justice to this matter. We have no way of avoiding authorising Chikane to go on as originally proposed. Other items are equally important to this.
Propose we take Peter Mokaba's suggestion and ask him to convene a meeting of the three.
What we discuss with regard to tactics we must discuss with Frank, but authorise him to convene.
Summary of what we have decided:
Agree that we accept this as the basis of the statement we are going to issue.
Item 1(c) of agenda
Programme of Action adopted by the Tripartite Alliance following expiry of deadlines.
Recap what was said in introduction. Build-up to Jane 16 with mass action and a national stayaway. '
Will the national strike be before or after the ANC conference?
This was not decided, but we said in beginning of July.
Does the national strike go ahead irrespective of responses?
We have a set of demands, and if they are met there would be no need to go ahead. There needs to be proper co-ordination and if we agree on that programme, we are bound by the programme. We must put forward a group of people to run these campaigns, and the dates can be rearranged accordingly, as some of them have fallen away.
On Monday there is a joint campaigns ANC/Cosatu meeting. Need clear direction, where we ask them to look at the dates. Is this agreed?
There was also an attempt to internationalise the hunger strike to involve leading international figures. Whatever committee we are talking about arising from the original programme of action, we were approaching figures to go on hunger strike on this Wednesday. The SG should advise them accordingly.
We must come out with concrete dates, not just in June. We must call for solidarity actions which take place immediately, especially in relation to the hunger strikes.
Agreed. What dates do we propose.
Propose Wednesday next week, 22 May, as a day of fasting in support.
Some reports we are receiving is that comrades are in hospital already. Will they still be alive, as their condition is very serious. If it is in solidarity with them, we must act now.
What date do you suggest?
Within the next two or three days
That is Wednesday.
Must give time for organisation for the action. Agree Wednesday 22nd.
Agree national action for 22 May, but leadership of tripartite could act earlier, saying people should follow the lead and will give momentum.
What is. proposed?
Leadership fast should be for one day.
What do we mean by leadership?
Can we not just say everyone fasts on 21 May.
It wont work because there are arrangements made for Wednesday already, locally and nationally. General call should be for Wednesday. Agreed.
This therefore absolves leadership of Monday action.
Do we mandate the committee on Monday to come up with a date for the consumer boycott?
No, we should come with a date. Propose the 4th June for the national consumer boycott.
Let us get clarity. Is it proposed that there should be a national consumer boycott for one day? This is not very easy to organise. The decision should be taken lightly. I would not be in a hurry to call for a national consumer boycott. What do we want to achieve? I would understand if you say a one-day stayaway. If people go to work they will bring back parcels. This creates a burden of picketing campaign, which is enormous.
It is part of the mass action to which we are committed. We are visualising a series of mass actions. We have a national strike in six weeks time. Would it not be repetitious to call for a stay at home before the stay away.
It is true that a consumer boycott requires organising. But the idea of a one-day consumer boycott is symbolic as a build-up to the national strike. If there is a feeling that you require more time, the question is how long more. The idea is solidarity and symbolic.
But even if symbolic must be effective.
It seems as if the NEC is at variance with the regions. PWV region has enumerated a number of dates, to have started in March, as part of mass action. Consumer boycott is one such action. Purpose of consumer boycott is to create pressure, and one day or one week is ineffective. People want white business to be boycotted. Propose that we leave it to each region to determine its own boycott.
Each region is entitled to formulate its own action. What we are discussing here is a symbolic national one-day boycott. The only issue is which date will be effective.
Propose that we agree with the principle of consumer boycott, but leave each region to determine its duration.
Propose we should go for the one-day symbolic boycott anyway.
Stay with Lhe in principle support without specifying any date, so each region takes its own decisions.
In view of the fact we are moving towards PF, we should discuss with the PF and instruct our committee to do so.
What are the mechanisms to implement the decisions taken today, and who is going to be responsible to see to this.
Suggestion that we have a special committee of the Tripartite, which should know there is already a national campaigns committee in existence, with which it should synchronise matters.
This is the same decision as we took last time. Can we ask specifically that the tripartite will instruct its members to meet this weekend, or Wednesday will not be successful.
Jay suggested the general strike for first week of July. If it is to be in July it should be after our conference.
They will go into that.
Item 2: the way forward.
This is what we have been discussing now.
The important thing is that we have reached agreement, but how do we see that it gets implemented in a consistent way. The three secretaries are responsible, but it is important that all elements of the movement involved in initiatives should be drawn in. This refers specifically to the JWC of Natal, which should have representatives on any national committee. Secondly, the key comrades involved with contacts with other side must be involved in strategising at this level. this can be problematic if left in a general way.
Jay to take this up.
Any other business:
* Report on the position of exiles
7,000 people have applied, and they have 6,985 have been given complete indemnity. 15 have not from among those who applied. 10 escaped from Modderbee, one skipped bail after robbing a bank and three others are people involved in MK activities well known to the police and as such their cases need to go to the panel.
* Report on Prisoners
Since unbanning, 933 prisoners released. The majority, 623, were released in April this year. This means where there is a will the regime can release people. The !IRC can prove by name, 738 prisoners still remaining. But the estimate figure is 1,800. Because of names and numbers game, an audit committee has been formed to bring all figures together and compile one common list. But on 26 April at a meeting of the Audit committee was held, where government side said there were 4,000 unrest related prisoners still in jail. IIRC want access to those 4,000. Out of this 4,000 there were 320 political prisoners, according to the government. Not clear what criterion were used. Report from Audit Committee was requested.
* Closing date for reporting to regions on membership
This was 30 April. Discussed with Cmde Makana and S3, and suggested extending this date because total number of membership very low and to go to the conference with such a low number is undesirable if it can be avoided, and use present period up to 15 June for extensive recruitment. Members of NEC should be drafted to various places to supervise and encourage recruitment drives.
How does this affect election of delegates?
It would be useful to have membership figures beforehand and give each region its allocation proportionately. We gave regions their numbers already so that concrete arrangements can be made. This would mean some adjustments to the number of delegates at conference.
Is it not possible to give regions basis on which delegates are chosen by numbers.
Midlands requested that in view of the conference taking place in July they would like the date extended.
It is possible to indicate to the regions basis of number of delegates per membership.
This has already been given, but what is required is the specific number of delegates for conference preparations.
Regions were given the deadline early in the year for very good reasons. From a logistical point of view we were forced to determine the upper limit of conference delegates. Cannot be more than 2,000 delegates. We cannot tell regions before hand how many delegates they will have. If we go to 15 June, branches will only be able to elect after that and this is not sufficient time. Leave allocations but update membership as at 15 June.
This is a solution. What we are concerned with is showing membership growth. Agree that we remain with cut-off date for election of delegates.
* Draft Constitution
We have heard that there has been an extensive negative reaction to the draft constitution to size of NEC and related matters. It is being suggested that it would be useful and save conference time if a meeting would take place of chairpersons and secretaries of every region, including chairperson and secretaries of every women's and youth region, together with a delegation from the NEC, to try to reach some kind of common understanding which would be applied universally throughout the organisation. if we come to conference with matter unresolved there would be a chaotic debate. This will take place, but at least if beforehand some problems ironed out it will facilitate the discussion.
Officially we have not reported to the working committee, but the information is correct. We want to give a full report to the working committee, where a decision could be taken. Agree with the proposal, but at a slightly later date (15 June) following consultation with the regions.
Agreed to the above proposal, at a date to be determined by the Working Committee.
Many bomb scares. Comrades should be very careful.
In relation to the statement, because item (c), one of the issues being deadlines, whether anything was said specifically about this. What is this meeting saying about the deadline.
In regard to the 30 April and 9 May, there were specific decisions taken (repeated).
Starting from 9 May, do we stick to the decision that we are not going to have any discussions with the government in view of the conditions we have put and if he has moved on a set of demands put forward, is it not correct to push them further on the remaining demands. We are discussing cultural weapons. If they respond positively, we must accept that. I urge that we should not be rigid. Negotiations is our initiative. We must ensure it succeeds. We must push the government to meet our demands.
No objection to discussing remainder of demands. But mood of this meeting is that we stick by decision that there is no discussion until these matters have been addressed.
We are clear. We are discussing the set of demands with them, but no discussions on APC or negotiations.
What is clear we have discussions at different levels within the ANC and with the government., But decisions emanating from those discussions do not filter to grassroots. This is going to give us problems. We could be understood better if we improved on the flow of information. We need to determine this. Some of the things said at grassroots could be defended or would not be said if people knew what is happening.
When this question was discussed this morning, some of us did not intervene in response to the positions taken by Comrade Suttner. I think we are going to run into a deadlock. We are not going to move the government on the dismissal of Vlok and Malan. It is tantamount to saying that the talks are going to be jettisoned. The government tried a similar situation with JS and Chris. We took a very firm position. De Klerk's position is shaky within the government and Vlok and Malan are powerful. Is this in our interests. We might have been too hasty when we included these names. In any other government ministers who fail should not remain. But will we achieve this objective?
This does not affect the argument used by Raymond, because there are a further three demands, including the dissolution of all counter-insurgency units, and charging of police guilty of offences etc. What Ray is saying that we must confine ourselves to the discussions on the demands, and not take part in the APC and a new constitution. We may have to compromise on the question of Vlok and Malan, if the government has moved on the other demands.
Relating to April 30, it is time we become clear. When the NCC met, we all agreed that the obstacles were not removed. Reports have been given. What are we saying in terms of prisoners: has it been met or not? Exiles report indicates that indemnities have been granted: what are we saying? Has the regime moved, or not? What are we saying? Third aspect relates to security laws. Something has happened during this session. What are we saying: is it satisfactory or not? These three obstacles should be assessed and agree if there has been movement or not, and what is our position, including giving a proper report. We cannot remain with an unclear situation.
The problem cannot be answered yes or no. The government has made some progress to meet the demands, but there are still outstanding problems which require attention, and we are discussing with the government on this question. Equally, on exiles, there are still large numbers not given complete indemnity. We are discussing this matter. On the security laws, the essential laws are still intact and have not been touched.
On the IS Act we should say that the extent to which it has been used for political repression and detentions, it has not been amended and it legitimises detention without trial.
We need a separate statement which includes our response to all of the above, including the security legislation.
For a later date we should ask Dugard to do a breakdown of these areas, and other legislation on chiefs and Bantu authorities which might affect our attitude to repressive legislation.
No effective repatriation. What is our attitude and support for UNHCR and something should be said on this question.
In relation to the IS Act, there is a draft statement prepared at UWC. It is a breakdown along the lines that JS was suggesting.
On political prisoners, our discussions with the other side has been in relation to ANC political prisoners. Need to be clear as to which are ANC, which are PAC etc.
HRC will investigate the case of anyone covered by definition of political prisoners.
It seems that the drafters have not completed the draft. Precisely because everyone is going to watch with tremendous interest. Want to suggest that they go and work out properly, so that we meet tomorrow morning to consider the statement.
Propose we have the statement tonight, as they are experienced draughtsman. Suggest that the SGs also join them when the statement is finished so that the views expressed are catered for.
I would agree with Aziz's proposal, without disagreeing with the experience of the drafters. We need to look at the draft when we are alert and' not tired and rushing. Strongly urge we support Comrade Aziz's view. Last time we made a tactical error by going to the press on Saturday. Rather present the statement on Saturday so that it goes into the press on Sunday.
My view is still as I expressed it, but we should be guided by head of DIP. Agree we meet tomorrow morning.
The bombs going off today are giving the impression that they are coming from the ANC, in the light of the ANC meeting and the deadline. There should be some comment from us on this question.
Agree that we dissociate ourselves from the bombs in a statement.
Especially in the light of the press saying NM stated that violence will move to the white areas. (NM explained what he said).
Not sufficient to leave to the drafting committee the question of our view on the UNHCR. Problem may be funds (it is). Agree that something be said about this question.
Oppose that it be included in any statement, as we have long stated our support for involvement on UNHCR. Problem is one of access to returnees, because this excludes from SA view the Bantustans, while UNHCR sees them as inclusive.
Points made by Pallo and Aziz: what would be useful if we could try out the statement tonight, as this will help us overnight to bring a sharp statement tomorrow.
In as far as 30 April is concerned, be accurate in reporting.
The problem appears to be that if we issue a statement to the press, we have then covered a report to the regions. We must draw up a report for regions and grassroots.
This has been addressed by Comrade Piliso
Adjourn for five minutes to await statement. Statement of Meeting Read
Do you still want to meet tomorrow to discuss it?
Agree that it needs tightening up. Nothing on suspension of talks on APC and constitutional talks. This should be specifically included. Make general strike a recommendation to meet endorsement from Cosatu.
Accept that we will not meet to re-discuss and publish tomorrow.
Needs to have a press conference. Agreed.
Announce that JS will turn 79 tomorrow.