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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.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 NWC Meeting February 22
Minutes of NWC 22 February 1988
Present : SG; TG; Jele; Mzwai; Tony; Chris; Dan Tloome; Manci; Steve Dlamini; Sizakele Sigxashe; Joe Slovo; Zuma; Nhlanhla; Ruth Mompati; Pallo
Agenda : (i) Report from London.
(ii) PMC Proposals on Internal Propaganda and PASA.
(iii) Agenda for the NEC Meeting.
SG in the Chair.
Chair suggested that the first item of the agenda be put off till Cde Thabo returns from London, at which time a comprehensive report can be given covering all aspects of the meetings.
Chris : On whose authority has Cde Thabo entered into discussions with these Afrikaner intellectuals? Does the NEC/NWC know anything of this?
Chair asked Cde Pallo to explain.
Cde Pallo explained that he had not known of this meeting until so advised by Cde Thabo when they met Gabriel Mokgoko of NAFCOC on Friday.
Chris : It is very disturbing that a member of the NEC leaves to hold discussions with Afrikaner intellectuals without prior consultations with NWC or at least PMC. I cannot understand why the NWC and PMC were not apprised. Anyone who goes to such a meeting should be delegated by the movement.
(There was a general acclamation of approval of these remarks.)
Nhlanhla : This is part of a bigger problem. There are lots of people who are meeting people from home without any consultation let alone coordination. There are more and more workshops being organized which involve people from home. There is a loss of control. The DPE is for instance organizing a workshop which entails participation from home. Where was that discussed? Even the character of the workshop needed prior discussion. For example, will one be permitted to disagree? DPE is not to blame, this is a symptom of a larger problem.
Chris : One consequence of this uncontrolled contact is that people from home complain that we are saying different things to them.
Ruth M : There was also the PASA workshop here recently. What disturbs me is that the persons who are moving in and out are the activists. How long will they survive? What is more all the women who were here were making assessments of the leadership based on the contributions at the meetings. Some were assessed as knowing nothing, others as PASA experts, and so on.
TG : I don't think now is the time to discuss this. We have already agreed to discuss the issue of organisation. I agree there is a general disintegration. We must discuss it thoroughly.
SG : I permitted discussion on this issue because comrades felt a need to react to the meeting which was mentioned. We should agree on how we are going to discuss the entire issue, not only in relation to meetings. It is important that there be consensus among us on how we deal with these when they crop up.
Jele : Comrade chairman, I had thought that the report was not to be discussed because Cde Pallo told me that these matters will be deferred to a later date.
JS : Before we close discussion on this let us agree that between now and that meeting all delegations are appointed by the appropriate structures. There should be no exclusion of NEC members. When the women from home were here I was excluded. In general there should be appointment of delegations by the NWC.
S. Dlamini : All invitations should be forwarded to the Administrative Secretary. This is creating unnecessary contradictions in the movement.
SG : The Secretariat should be seized with the issue of the meetings that are planned and these should be brought to the NWC. (There was a general consensus that these procedures should be adhered to.)
Nhlanhla : PASA should also be discussed by the NEC. There is no such ANC structure, yet it exists. How did it come into being?
Chris : Let the minutes record that we register our extreme displeasure that Cde Thabo has unilaterally gone to London without any consultation and without a mandate from the NEC.
JS : On PASA, Cde Chairman, I want to know and receive answers on it. Who controls it? Where do the finances come from? Who appointed the people who serve on it?
Pallo : There is a problem regarding this because sometimes the NEC takes decisions at the end of a meeting, when everyone is tired and not too attentive. PASA arose as a result of NEC decisions. I refer members of the NEC to a meeting at Green House early 1986. There was a report from myself and Cde President drew the meeting's attention to the Shultz Commission. It was that meeting that took a decision that the ANC needs to launch a comprehensive programme of Research on a Post Apartheid South Africa, if only because all sorts of other forces are engaged in it, and might end up writing our agenda. Subsequent to that meeting, the President attended the Swedish People's Parliament; entered into a discussion with the Swedes, who undertook to look into the possibilities of funding the project. They later agreed. All this too was reported to the NEC. During the last NEC meeting, October 5th to 9th 1987, I gave a lengthy report, again it was at the tail end of an NEC meeting. I recounted the setting up of the project, the meetings and workshops we had held in Harare and in Stockholm, involving people from home. I reported also that from these meetings there had emerged a consensus that PASA would be an autonomous structure in which ANC had an input but was not explicitly running it. This was to afford people from home a measure of protection. So Cde Nhlanhla is right, it is not there in the structures, it is not an ANC structure. I reported also that we had appointed a Secretariat which has taken charge of the administration – it was it that arranged for the meetings in Harare and Stockholm. Arising out of that report to the NEC it was agreed that we should pursue negotiations with either UnZA or University of Zimbabwe to attach to them a South African Research Institute, under the control of PASA. I do not suggest that the Secretariat is spending the monies wisely or that it's doing a splendid job. But no one can claim the NEC was not kept informed on the developments.
(Interjection from Nhlanhla: Was there any decision on it?)
Pallo : No one disagreed with the issues that were raised and the reports were accepted.
Nhlanhla : I would say the issue must be placed on the agenda for the NEC. It's causing a great deal of problems with the general membership.
TG : There was a document on this circulated during the meeting in February last year.
SG : In fairness we must say that documents were circulated. We expected that they were read. We suggest that the documents be read in preparation for the NEC meeting. I was invited to a meeting of the PASA secretariat and it was decided at that meeting that it should fall under the President's Office.
Chris : It is true there was a document. But it was never said there would be a formal structure. If there is a structure such a structure should be formally endorsed by the NWC and not by self-appointment. The principle of accountability must be maintained. Some of us will later ask what are our priorities? We might be opening up a can of worms.
Nhlanhla : The PASA idea was discussed. The issue here is did the NEC set up a structure? There was no structure set up by the NWC. Questions of who leads it, who are its personnel, where it reports to were never discussed.
JS : Who took the decision on the people who went to Sweden? Even if it's autonomous PASA is using our personnel, our office space, our equipment. It is understandable that it is autonomous but we must appoint the personnel. We discuss it and set up the structures formally.
Pallo : Some of the decisions evolved almost naturally from previous decisions. Once it was decided that a project was necessary we needed people to administer it, to convene meetings, etc. We can't expect the NWC to endorse every little decision.
SG : I suggest we accept Joe N's proposal that the matter be discussed by the NEC. In preparation for that we can require the PASA Secretariat to prepare a report, plus a financial statement. In the meantime comrades had better look at the report that was placed before them. We can then take firm decisions, consciously taken decision and not ones that just evolve.
(The Chair placed the proposed agenda before the NWC.)
Cde Pallo read the agenda for NEC Meeting:
i) State of Organisation – under the following headings:
NEC Secretariat Report
ii) Report of the Provisional Directorate of NAT
iii) Report on TGO from NEC Commission
iv) Any Other Business
The meeting is scheduled to commence 11th March until 15th March. Venue is here.
Nhlanhla : I would have been happier if the Secretariat looked at means to make this more compact. I don't see how the ECC Report will differ from the Secretariat Report.
SG : It was envisaged that the reports would encompass the state of organisation of the various departments of the PMC; the various departments under the ECC; then the work of the Secretariat.
Chris : We wanted to examine the state of organisation because we were worried about the absence of any thrust and priority. It is clear what you mean now. But we need to look at every department under a microscope.
Jele : Originally the Secretariat had felt there was a need for a report on the internal situation because a crisis is approaching. The PMC on the other hand felt there was no need for that. If we are talking of an organisation report I think we can all agree.
Nhlanhla : What will be in the Secretariat Report?
SG : It was felt that the Secretariat must itself be subjected to scrutiny.
JS : Where does each department fall?
Zuma : Much as we have departments, there are some that are large and hence very complex. Could we not be flexible and have the Heads of the Departments, who would be very familiar with all aspects of their work, give the reports? We don't want superficial reports. The three offices – President's Office; Secretary General's Office and Treasurer General's Office – could initiate the reports by the various departments falling under them.
JS : But at the meeting itself we want the report to be so subdivided that we can look at the SG – is he doing his work; how is his office functioning; what are the problems in that office, and so on. DIP, all these should give reports.
SG : That's right. But remember when you talk of departments, each falls under one of the offices. So when you mention DIP that is not distinct from the President's Office because it falls under that office.
Chris : We should start at the top, with the NEC. The NEC must be looked at. It has already lost three members. Can we say there are sufficient numbers? Is it able to discharge its duties? Do we need to co-opt? The main report must look at the NEC itself. From there we can go down to the NWC, the Secretariat, etc.
Nhlanhla : There are also the new departments that were set up. The Secretariat must come up with an approach that permits us to have an in-depth look at each of these too.
JS : The Secretariat should redraft the agenda and circulate it beforehand so that we can discuss it at next meeting.
(Cde Pallo drew the attention of the Chair to two documents that had been circulated with the minutes which should be discussed.)
Nhlanhla : I suggest that we defer this to the next meeting. I am not casting aspersions but I would plead with those who record minutes to ensure that they are accurate. The other day I was shown a document purporting to be NWC decisions regarding Camp 32. There was no such discussion and no such decision. I checked it with a number of comrades none of whom recall such a discussion.
Pallo : Cde Joe might not intend to cast aspersions but the impact of his remarks is that it does imply an aspersion. If the discussion never took place and the decision was not taken yet I have recorded one, the only implication is that I've forged it. There was such a discussion arising from a Report on Prisoner Exchange headed by Cde Chris. The Report was written and distributed. From the discussion of that report there arose the decision in question. All this is on file and can be made available for Cde Nhlanhla's inspection.
JS : Cde Chair the problem is that often decisions are recorded which were never properly adopted. There was the instance of Cde Jackie. The NEC decisions reflect that we decided that she has to be replaced as head of communications. That was a suggestion which was made and recorded but never formally adopted.
SG : There is also the complaint that minutes are not read. At every meeting we should have the minutes.
JS : It is the job of the Chair to ensure that decisions are properly taken.
Jele : It should be our task to remind the Chair.
Decision : NEC Secretariat shall redraft Agenda and submit to NWC at the next meeting.
Jele : There are the CONTRALESA chiefs who are in town. We have proposed a delegation to meet them but any other NEC member who wishes to join the discussion may do so. The delegation we propose is:
Comrades Nzo; Jele; Chris; Nkadimeng; Nhlanhla; Nkobi
(The proposed delegation was accepted.)
Ruth M : There is a delegation from Congo which is here and we need a delegation to meet them tomorrow evening.
(Proposals received: Ruth M; Stuart; Cindi. Adopted,)
SG : The Congo want to set up a continental AA movement. We have tried to impress on them that such a movement can succeed only if it is based on national AA movements.
Nhlanhla : If the SG cannot attend the meeting, let us ensure that time is allocated for him to receive a courtesy call from the Congo delegation.
Any Other Business :
(i) Cde Pallo reported on the meeting with Mokgoko of NAFCOC. NAFCOC would like a follow up meeting since 1986. It is tentatively agreed that a meeting will take place in mid-April. We have agreed on an agenda with them.
(ii) Cde Zuma reported that the Black Management Forum had met our people in London and are proposing a meeting with the ANC 19th to 20th March. Cde Pallo strenuously opposed such a speedy meeting. Reading their documents, he suggested, indicates that they are a very different kettle of fish from NAFCOC. We should gather more material, study it and meet them after we have met NAFCOC. Proposal was accepted.
(iii) Letter from Mrs Hashe (Dingo's wife) – a request for assistance to pay her rent which is in arrears as a result of rent strike. Sum of R500-00 requested. After brief discussion it was decided that we cannot entertain a request which will result in breaking of the rent boycott.
(iv) Letter from President of Botswana's Office to imprisoned comrades who had petitioned for amnesty, turning down their appeal was read. Cde Jele suggested that NEC delegation should go to Botswana to intervene. Reported that he has written to President and will pursue the matter with him as soon as he comes back. He suggested that NEC members who are able to travel to Botswana should visit the comrades in jail.
Cde Chris suggested that we raise with Botswana the implications of their actions. We are quiet now but will not always be quiet. He pleads for a delegation to Botswana to let them know that it could embarrass them if we told the world about what happens to use in some of these African states for fighting for freedom in South Africa. The main task of the delegation must be to secure the release of our comrades.
Decision : Cde Jele will see OR on his return to raise the entire issue.
NWC in principle accepts the need to send a delegation to Botswana to secure the release of the comrades.
(v) Cde Ruth reported that she had information to the effect that the Botswana government has issued a memo instructing its troops to shoot ANC operatives.
Cde Chris reported that Lesotho has recently handed over an MK cadre to Pretoria. Suggests that NEC must make arrangements to met the Junta. (Agreed.)