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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.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 Resumed Meeting August 7
AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL
PO BOX 31791
Telephone : 217665
Telex : 45390
(RESUMED) MEETING OF NWC
HELD ON 07/08/89 AT 15:00 HOURS
PRESENT : ORT; A. NZO; T. NK; JS; CH; G. SH; JM; R. SEPT; A. MAN; S. MF; T. MONG; J. SEL; HM.
BY INVITATION : Comrade Ngwako.
IN THE CHAIR : A. Nzo said the President will make an announcement on behalf of his team.
ORT : I just from the drafting group. The document is not ready, and it will not be in the hands of the NWC till this evening. So it is proposed that it be discussed tomorrow morning at 08:00 hours. Officials from the region should be arriving tomorrow and they will want to see the document in preparation for Wednesday. It will be necessary for us to look at it before then for the necessary amendments if any. I would like to apologise for the absence of those members of the delegation who are not here. It would however be useful if they could be here tomorrow at 08:00 hours.
CH : We agree but it must be noted we have had to stop other commitments.
A. Nzo : MEETING AGREES, subject to CH protest which is noted.
ORT : I will try to condense my report. First, the purpose (of the delegation) was to continue the operation we had undertaken of drawing up the document which would ultimately emerge as an OAU plan prepared by us. When we left, all we had was our document (unchanged) with suggestions by various people. In the main, the document contained a statement of principles, (second portion), the creation of a climate and final steps to be taken on negotiation.
Tanzania (we found) had studied the document. Our first meeting was with Salim Salim in his capacity as Secretary-General-to-be and someone very close to us. What happened there was a repetition of what President Nyere had said. He also did not address the last part of the document. He made the point about Statement of Principles. He accepted the second part and like President Nyere he found fault with the steps toward democratic government.
That happened virtually everywhere we went. No one quarreled with the preamble. Those who did not have the idea of Principles certainly settled on the steps, and basically be raising fine questions which came out of the statement of steps, all had problems with the steps.
They thought detail was unnecessary; sometimes by going into too much detail we would entrap ourselves. The second major problem was that the document had to be a PLAN rather than a Statement of Position. After the first meeting (a good meeting), the team felt (however) that the meeting had ended on a wrong note, and receiving the discussions, felt that we had to explain why we had put the steps in in the first instance; the steps plotting the route towards democratic government, and we decided to deal with this (aspect) with the President himself. If we did not do that, we would not be meeting the challenge posed by De Klerk who talks of negotiations, putting his own conditions. But he goes further to define the processes and structures to lead to a "new" South Africa: He says who will be at the table (negotiating); he talks of a new constitution; of experts; etc. He has it all mapped out. If we are silent on that stage, then attention would focus on De Klerk's process. So it began to look as if we were defeating the object of the exercise. If we must negotiate, it must be on a basis set by us; if anyone has ideas, they must add them to our plan so we always keep the initiative. According to this plan (as it stands) we would be handing over to De Klerk. So we reconsidered the steps.
President Mwinyi accepted our new position and recommended further discussion with his team. In the result we got invited by the Prime Minister of Tanzania. He called in officials from the Foreign Ministry and also his Ministry. He took a good position; accommodating views we were expressing, agreeing on a Statement of Principles, the demand for a climate, and something further to indicate how be seek to reach our objective. Tanzania proposed the document we were working on should be discussed by officials of the FLS so they could go over it before the meeting. So we left Tanzania. The question of the confidentiality of the document was emphasized and they said they would attend to that.
As planned, we arrived in Harare expecting to have a meeting on Tuesday. We had been invited by President Mugabe and he was going to set up a team. But we were told it was a bad day for Harare as it was Cabinet Day. Even following day nothing happened. We met President Mugabe on Thursday (on arrival back) and he said he had been told about our arrival only after we had left Gaborone. We believed him. His officials offered no explanation.
President Mugabe was very good and even explained what he considered ought to go into a Statement of Principles. He also raised questions of detail on the steps which we explained. We had to explain to him that we wanted to retain the initiative. By this time we were convinced that unless we had a programme of action, we would not have a plan. President Mugabe contributed to that discussion, and then the discussion was to continue with his team. I didn't attend, but I understand it was good.
Before this meeting we had rushed to Gaborone and were met there warmly. We thought the discussions were good. They had studied the document in detail and raised pertinent questions.
[OR read from his notes to give meeting flavour of talks.]
Their team was headed by their Foreign Minister as the President was indisposed.
1. They agreed with the chronology of how Apartheid came about.
2. They agreed that armed struggle came as a last resort.
3. No doubt that Apartheid was most heinous of crimes.
4. Noted basic philosophy in which ANC would enter negotiation but observed we ought to define who protagonists would be at negotiations.
5. Paragraph 14 and 15 : They couldn't agree more with us and Botswana
supports the pre-conditions.
6. Paragraph 16 : They wondered whether it was realistic to talk of confining troops to barracks!
7. Paragraph 19 : Needed to be examined further.
8. Other aspects (17.7) e.g. an international force (as guarantors?) are not clear. The proposals seem to parallel Namibia 435. Is it appropriate to raise question of sovereignity much as we distrust SA authorities?
9. Their view on sanctions was that they should remain in place.
OR continued : That gives you an indication of the concerns expressed. We took note of them and the Botswana authorities expressed great satisfaction on being consulted.
In Angola, the delegation had met President Dos Santos for two hours. He reported on developments in the sub-region and the role they had played in the Namibian process, and had gone back on his undertakings, and that in fact the UNITA had opened up a general offensive. They were ready to deal with them. Regarding our mission, President Dos Santos' response was informed.
[At this stage ORT asked Cde Ngwako to recapitulate.]
NGWAKO : President Dos Santos said:
1. He agreed with the content of the Plan and proceeded to develop the concept. He asked what role would we ascribe to the external factor?
2. What would be the role of the internal forces? He emphasized the need for unity in action of internal forces.
3. He said a plan could be worked out to mobilize the international community.
4. The international (aspect of) plan should be worked out in greater detail: What would be the role of FLS? The OAU? We should think carefully about what should be said on sanctions, and we should not lose the perspective of armed struggle.
5. Who would be involved in negotiation. There are several forces (operating) internally. What were the prospects of a United Front? Such a front should be built around the ANC as the principal force.
OR resumed : That shows the difficulties ahead. Numerous questions to be answered and a lot of ground to prepare. In particular, we need freedom to consult with our people and that is why we insist on the creation of a (suitable) climate.
Now what we have gathered is concretized in the document (being prepared); we seek to take into account the comments (made) while retaining the objective of the exercise. I have since met KK and reported. He is awaiting arrival of officials and convergence of Heads of States. That is all at this stage.
A. Nzo : thanked President. "Any comments at this stage?"
T. Nk : What is the Zambian position (on the document).
OR : President saw the document and gave it full marks. We will let him have copy of the minutes to put him more in the picture.
A. Nzo : Allow me to report: "On Thursday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked us to provide two documents…it turned out they wanted our statement and a copy of the De Klerk plan; which we gave. We were told this was in view of a meeting the following morning at the State House."
JS : What did President Dos Santos say concerning "sanctions"?
Ngwako : As I understand it, the President laid stress on peaceful solutions….and said in light of that we ought to examine sanctions. He put across several questions, and said he thought the West was concerned about retaining the SA economy.
A. Nzo : We can always discuss our position with them. They are our friends.
Chairman thanked members and he closed the meeting at 18:15 hours.
10th August 1989