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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

ANC NWC Meeting October 20

AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL
PO BOX 31791
Lusaka, Zambia
Telephone : 217665
Telex : 45390

MINUTES OF MEETING OF NWC HELD ON 20th OCTOBER 1988 AT 9:00 HOURS

PRESENT:     R. Momp, A. Nzo, J. St, JM, R. Sept, J. Sel, P. Jord, R. Man, S. Dl, S. Mf, Jacq Mol, R. Kas, G. Sh, T. Mong, H. Mak, S. Tsh

IN THE CHAIR :     A. Nzo opened the meeting. He explained that it was a resumption of adjourned meeting of 18th October 1988.

Agreed to commence with item: Report of Delegation to Harare meeting with Rugby Officials from South Africa, 15th – 17th October.

S. TSHWETE :     gave report and made following points:

(1)     Delegations:     ANC – SG, ST, TM, R Mpongo, Barbara

     SARB – D Craven, Louis Luyt, Tommy Bedford

     SARU – Ibrahim Patel (President), SG, TG, Ass SG

(2)     Strategic goal: creation of non-racial democratic South Africa.

(3)     Both visiting delegations expressed appreciation in bringing Boards of Directors together, i.e. SARU, SARB.

(4)     ANC's role conceived of as mediator in bringing two boards together.

(5)     History, SARB - 100 years in 1989.

(6)     Evaluated attempts of two sides to meet for purposes of uniting two boards.

(7)     SARB president had earlier stated that "Apartheid must go".

(8)     Special AGM – of SARB on November 11, 1988 to discuss new approach to sports.

(9)     November 11, 1988 meeting crucial for fate of initiative.

(10)     SARU will meet after November 11, 1988.

ANC explained policy on boycott.

-     Role of whites international affiliation during 60's.

-     New situation developed an alternative culture.

-     Responsibility of Movement is to wides fissures appearing on hitherto monolithic Afrikanerdom.

-     Full agreement on ANC and SARU on all positions adopted.

-     Communiqué issued at end of meeting.

A. Nzo supplemented: S.T. had given summary of what transpired.

-     Final report may not reflect some of statements made.

-     From beginning we made it clear that we need to emphasize strategic objectives of struggle, and particularly, what role SARB in this.

In order to give NWC flavour of discussions, A. Nzo referred to statement that had been made in course of discussions by D. Craven and L. Luyt:

"It is the Government that stands in way of progress"

"The majority of Afrikaners regard rugby as something holy and the standard of rugby (in SA) would improve if we played together."

"Rugby can go a long way in bringing mutual understanding…..it is a vehicle into the spirit/heart of the Afrikaner".

"Rugby could be an important stepping stone to a solution of the problem of South Africa".

"The establishment of non-racial rugby in South Africa could bring about a normal island (from which) to penetrate the abnormal islands".

A. Nzo emphasized that the outcome of the talks was not that SARB would automatically find re-entry into international sporting community:

1.     They now had a clearer idea of the way towards international acceptance.

2.     The SARU must be satisfied that there was genuine integration in rugby.

They had to accept the centrality of the ANC's role. The SARB Executive was to meet on 11th November and the main item of discussion would be how to reach the international arena. A split in its ranks appeared inevitable, and politically the base of apartheid would be weakened.

JS :     There's no doubt Harare had boosted international image of ANC and sparked off confusion in enemy camp, but

(i)     The discussion on the issue (of the sports and cultural boycott) should have taken place long before.

(ii)     The fact that a discussion was not held reveals the effects of a process characterized by a series of events in which the NEC was being rendered irrelevant, ref. to Munich Conference, etc.

(iii)     The ANC is part of the MDM. Rugby is at heart of the boycott campaign, and therefore all the more why we should discuss with people who have been the bedrock of an international campaign. We had not consulted these people.

(iv)     As the communiqué stands it could be used against the ANC because it is a summary of what transpired and the world had not got a full picture, and Craven has gone public saying they "want to give a little on rugby in order to gain international acceptance".

(v)     Who had decided the switch in (ANC) policy? If we must adopt a new policy, we should do so with open eyes. If the new policy is Boycott Apartheid South Africa, we should bear in mind our position repeated in talks with NAFCOC; remember our rejection of Sullivan Principles etc. etc. We had said, you can't have islands in a sea of apartheid. The reformist line was that of the Pretoria regime. In his view (JS) you can't have non-racial rugby through (reformist) integration. Such an approach would always leave the blacks in a disadvantaged position. He referred to final para of communiqué:

"the accomplishment of these goals (integration) is a necessity for S. African rugby to take rightful place in world rugby."

The piecemeal approach could undermine positions the ANC has taken. There could be "no normal activity in this abnormal society". In the main:

(1)     Harare represented a fundamental shift which should have been discussed.

(2)     As a collective we need to agree whether the path of piecemeal introduction of non-racialism is correct.

A. Nzo :     None of the ANC members in Harare talks was naïve enough to believe that the outcome of the Harare talks would be to lead to acceptable reforms. But we had been trying to promote the democratic front and to enlarge it. If we succeeded in winning over the rugby community it would be to our benefit. The question of the extension of the anti-apartheid forum was important if only because it resulted in neutralizing sectors of the enemy. It is unfair to liken this approach to Sullivan Principles which were manifestly aimed at defending a class position and entrenching the ruling class.

P. Jord :     There are two issues: (1) the Harare meeting and the communiqué and (2) the process leading to Harare.

The communiqué is a dangerous formulation that opens the floodgates. It leaves our supporters in the lurch and the position taken was not different to Sullivan(ism). L. Luyt and D. Craven could not be said to represent democratic SA. We needed to have discussed before Harare. A pattern had emerged during the year where powers of the NWC were being usurped. That style of work had led to the present impasse reflected in the Harare Communiqué. No small group had power to usurp the power of the NWC.

The Commission on Boycott had not reported. Arusha did not discuss boycott because the Commission had not reported. We had to fall back on President's theses at Collins Memorial Lecture.

We should not seek to create a better image of ANC at expense of alliances built up, integrity of leadership, and respect for membership.

J. Stuart :     My view is we had a large number of meetings with groups from home to create a base for the revolution and that is what these meetings have done. L. Luyt and Craven represented the MDM as little as Reilly and company. Our aim is to deepen the democratic front. Boycott is important but it must be applied as a tactic.

J. Selebi :     Arusha gave the impression that the ANC has agreed on a policy, "Boycott Apartheid and Support Democratic South Africa". This is the basis on which films, drama etc. have been allowed despite the boycott. All this flowed from Arusha which was called on the basis of the maxim, "Peoples of the world in support of Democratic South Africa".

S. Mf :     The Munich delegation was "too heavy", and we should exercise more caution about the delegations we send to conferences. We are going to be involved in discussions in which we might find ourselves having to change positions and this could be damaging to dignity of leadership if done at the level of NEC. ANC should emulate Governments in such matters and not start by involving NEC in exploratory talks.

S. Tshwete:     If there is any blame in the handling of this matter, the NWC should consider itself party to blame for having allowed the style of work to persist. The NWC has not given leadership on controversial issues: films, CASA. As for islands of normalcy, we have witnessed the emergence of alternative structures in the country and have assessed the m positively. In any case, what would be our attitude to the University of the Western Cape which is an example of an island of normalcy? We appear to be inconsistent when we flirt with UWC, applaud Slabbert, and decry Craven connection.

J. M :     Is the effect of the Harare decision that when non-racialism shall have been introduced in rugby the SARB would qualify for international recognition? And under which colours would a rugby side compete in international gatherings? Politically the Harare meeting represents an advance, but how far can we go on this road?

R. Sept :     We ought to open a discussion with all cultural bodies. As for the Commission on the Cultural Boycott they should be given a time limit within which to report. We should insist on written reports to the NWC.

R. Kas :     There is in my view a strong argument favouring a selective boycott but we have to consult amongst ourselves and with our allies and the democratic forces. The Harare delegation did a useful job. But the last sentence in Communiqué should have spelt out what still needs to be done so that SARB should work much harder.

S. Tshwete :     Craven had presaged a split in the SARB at November 11 meeting. The ANC delegation had proposed a meeting of sporting units in the country and such a meeting could help to monitor the SARB leadership's genuineness.

J.S. :     It is not correct to say we should not have met the Cravens. We must. The impression should not be given that we are intent on doggedly repeating positions taken before. Nobody says nothing has changed. The only difficulty with "Boycott Apartheid and Support Democratic South Africa" is that it still remains a slogan which can be understood in different ways. What we need is a policy. All the right things were said by our comrades to Craven. What is an issue is the overall impression given by the Communiqué. It should bring out the view that the whole Apartheid set up should go before we can have genuine non racial sport.

A. Nzo :     Discussion on the item has been exhaustive. Queries have been raised about way delegations are constituted and the briefings they receive. Implementation on thse issues is necessary. A special meeting for the purpose is called for.

On a Motion :     It was agreed that the Secretariat should prepare guidelines which would codify an acceptable style of work covering issues raised.

Concerning the Commission on Cultural boycott it was agreed to reconstitute it as follows:

Cde Pallo appointed convenor, and members: T. Mb, J. Sel, B. Masekela, S. Tsh, S. Mf.

Further agreed :     That Commission should report back by 30th November 1988.

That all reports (of Conferences, etc.) be made in writing to Secretariat.

B.     CAMP 32

Chairman :     recalled points that had been raised at previous meeting when issue of Camp 32 was discussed. He tabled following documents:

Report from NAT on situation in Camp 32.

Report of Special NAT Tribunal.

Discussion ensued on the recommendations by NAT particularly that some of the camp inmates should be expelled in which the following participated:

F. Kasrils, P. Jordan, G. Shope, J.M., R. September

and it was agreed :

That the recommendations of NAT in respect of the various categories be accepted provided that:

(i)     There would be no immediate expulsions, but instead demobilization, parole and transfer to Dakawa ANC Development Centre.

(ii)     The CV's and other records of transfers to be sent ahead of them to appropriate ANC authorities in Dakawa.

(iii)     Those recommended for transfer to plot should be sent Farm instead.

It was further agreed:

That a place of correction should be established at Dakawa Development Centre at a matter of priority and that MHQ together with NAT should work out the modalities.

C.     INFORMATION TO NEXT OF KIN

H. Makgothi pointed out that T. Mbeki had drawn attention to undesirability of a blanket restriction on informing next-of-kin of deceased comrades, and had asked meeting to consider alternative ways of informing them which would not compromise security.

He proposed that the information to the next-of-kin need not be released immediately and where casualties suffered had been numerous, it was not necessary to release information about all at one. This was agreed.

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