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 It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.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 April 3
AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL
PO BOX 31791
Telephone : 217665
Telex : 45390
MEETING OF THE NWC, HELD ON TUESDAY 03/04/90
PRESENT : JS, S. Mf, CH, T. Mong, J. Sel, JJ, J. Nhl, S Mab, J. St, S. Dl, SS, P. Jord, S. Tsh,, G. Sh, R Momp, HM, T. Mb
APOLOGIES : A. Nzo
IN THE CHAIR : JS opened the meeting.
S. Tsh : There are some French journalists including Cde Albertini. They are doing a film portrait of the ANC and they have asked to take a photo of the NWC (at work).
J. Nhl : We should agree such application in advance and in future make proper preparations.
[IT WAS AGREED TO INVITE JOURNALISTS TO TAKE A PHOTO] (After pause, depart of journalists.)
CHAIR JS tabled the agenda.
Also IT WAS AGREED : That Secretariat will make special arrangements to enable Cde T. Mokwena to attend NWC meetings.
JS : The decision was taken that we call an NEC meeting and this was reflected in our statement (on postponement of 11th April meeting.)
S. Mf : Cde WS has phoned to say he is happy with NWC decision (to postpone). He mentioned President OR was unhappy with abrupt changes and that he had not been consulted.
JS : NM said he had informed de Klerk of statement before issue and de Klerk had invited him. NM had said NEC would decide.
T. Mb : We said we would meet in five days (in statement) and certainly at the end of the five days period. JZ says the other side are still hoping the meeting on the 11th will take place. They are likely to raise this with NM.
J. Nhl : The question arose (at last meeting) whether we should reactivate (former contact channels) and we said better for NN to intervene since the lower committee was unable to take decisions.
JS : On assumption de Klerk presses for 11th?
P. Jord : At this point let's look at what de Klerk has said yesterday. The gist is (that he intends) to increase the army and police presence, to indemnify our people coming in for the meeting. But one of the issues at the meeting of the 11th was going to be precisely the troops in townships. The increase of troops will impede processes.
CH : Nothing has changed for us to consider 11th again. But de Klerk does address the Sebokeng protest. We should wait until NM meets de Klerk.
S. Mf : If NM meets de Klerk on Thursday, we should then say reaction of regime doesn't go far enough.
J. St : We should give NM a brief. My view is we have made our point by protesting; we can't meet on 11th but we need to meet immediately after. The ANC has not had a favourable press (on postponement). We should meet soon after 11th.
J. Nhl : The feeling at home is very strong against the meeting, even against a meeting with Gatsha. A meeting on 11th would be disastrous. De Klerk speaks in terms of negativising police roadblocks, arrest. What do we say about these measures? They are unacceptable [referred to BBC speculations]. In my view the de Klerk speech puts back (prospect of) meeting even further.
S. Tsh : I ask: When are we going to meet de Klerk? Do we (really) still stand for meeting him to clear obstacles?
JS : Is this rhetorical?
S. Tsh : Are we arguing there's no way we can talk to de Klerk when the set of conditions have been met? [That is what the arguments amount to.] The meeting (of the 11th) was envisaged precisely to address the issue of troops in townships etc.
J. Nhl : (But) yesterday de Klerk reinforced…….
JS : We should address the issue at two levels: There is the question of the steps de Klerk is taking. Then (we address) the question of the 11th in relation to what we said in favour of postponement. De Klerk is saying he wants this meeting precisely to talk about the violence.
A. Pah : Clearly we don't have the facts of the situation and we don't even have De Klerk statement (before us). My view is the other side is taking the upper hand. They have given the impression the regime is a peace maker. And in general the impression is created there is anarchy and loss of control on our part. I think that after the meeting, the internal leadership needs to come…….
JS : There's a proposal we call on NEC at week-end?
S. Tsh : I am utterly opposed. The meeting would not come up with anything new. It is not new that there is a chaotic situation. That is precisely why we raised the need to go into the country. This NWC must have an opinion: do we meet de Klerk on 11th? NM can't meet de Klerk being blank (on this issue). My view is : That meeting should take place on 11th or it shouldn't take place at all!
T. Mb : I think it is sufficient for this meeting to say (to NM) go ahead with de Klerk meeting and report back. And we could say they (ILC) should consider a full NEC. We should indicate (in that connection) need for a broad agreement.
JS : (Do) we wait till Thursday and consider a full meeting of the NEC or (do) we see what happens on Thursday and ask the comrades if our NEC meeting is necessary. Cde Steve is really saying we move towards 11th if de Klerk makes pacific moves.
J. Nhl The process we have entered is crucial and we ought to be on same wave-length. I think A. Pah has hit nail on the head. The only way out is an urgent meeting of a common assessment. I am pleading for a meeting of the NEC as a matter of real urgency. Any other handling of the matter is going to be disastrous.
P. Jord : I go along with T. Mb. We need maximum consultation. We are in complex situation. The situation is that we had arranged a meeting of the 11th to assist the negotiation to go forward. Since then the regime has taken actions which are not in the direction we had thought……the police are actually engaging with Inkatha on attacking the people. Is de Klerk going consonant or counter? He is undoing what he started off to do.
S. Mab : Until Sebokeng we were going into SA. Natal had been going on. We had even given the leaders the green light to speak to Gatsha and Zwelethini. Sebokeng changed all. We should get a report from the internal leaders.
CH : I do think the regime is trying to score points before the 11th meeting. His pronouncements were hailed even by conservatives.
Another point, we are batting on a negotiations wicket. But there's another issue – the mobilization of our people for struggle. De Klerk doesn't want struggle. Witness response to Sebokeng demonstration for freedom and justice. But we should take a different position. The question of uniting with overstretched leadership is urgent. This leadership must address the question of our presence (inside) in bigger numbers. It is a priority.
S. Dl : It is important to assess the principles of the conditions at the present moment. We have said no way to freedom short of armed struggle. In Alexandra yesterday an MK leader called for strengthening the military wing. Any discussion short of armed struggle is futile.
S. Tsh : I give in to the idea of an NEC over the week-end. I am not insisting even on what we ought to say. NM should say to de Klerk. It is bad for a leader to go to meet de Klerk without a mandate. I don't know if we understand the implications of the statement we made about meeting de Klerk. There were shootings etc. then. We said the purpose of 11th meeting was to clear obstacles, removal of troops, violence etc. But it is precisely that which is now being used (to argue) against the meeting of the 11th. Given that the struggle inside will intensify with consequent state intervention, are we serious in saying we are going to meet de Klerk now. The arguments now militate against a meeting with de Klerk. People are beginning to think we are stalling. I ask: do we need talks with de Klerk, and what would be our objective?
JS : We had a meeting of some sixty people in Harare. When news came that ANC had postponed, there was a remarkable (difference in) responses between inside and outside. There's logic in what Steve says but we should not carry it too far. [He made an analogy to San Salvador.] It doesn't follow that because we postpone and because we believe Sebokeng is always possible, we are thereby saying we aren't going to meet the regime anywhere. Nobody has said we don't meet de Klerk. Our original statement still stands as policy. We are set to have talks with de Klerk. We said at that moment we would be sending wrong signals to our people and de Klerk must know that. I think our decision was 100% correct. Only thing is when do we meet de Klerk. Do we have to decide whether we have an NEC (meeting) over the weekend or we decide on an NEC after consulting?
S. Tsh : I want a meeting over the weekend.
A Pah. : The meeting is vital. That leadership is being overstretched. For the first time we are talking in different voices. In an overall assessment, a meeting is urgent.
J. St : I support an NEC at earliest. Even at the weekend. I am worried about saying to NM to go to de Klerk without support. We are weakening him.
T. Mb : There is a leadership inside. They read the structures first. We have confidence in them.
JS : (Summarises) NM will see de Klerk. He wil let us know what they will be saying. We will get a report and we will suggest to internal that we want an NEC meeting. We have reached a consensus. HM will convey (it)(to the leadership). As for the (re)entry, we have taken a decision to do so in consultation with the other side. De Klerk says he is going to do something (about it). If we decide to act now seemingly to preempt measures which de Klerk contemplates (that) would put us in a bad light. Let us come to this question later.
T. Mb : Yesterday we went to report to the Chairman of the FLS the positions of the movement. KK said President Mwinyi had asked for an FLS meeting on Sunday and they had agreed. (That) they are worried about the Natal violence. (It could) exacerbate divisions, and must be urgently addressed. They had expected the 11th April meeting would address the violence. (But) in the light of the postponement they felt they should intervene as FLS. They say the political processes starting 11th April are important. (And) specifically they propose MDM, Inkatha so that FLS could impress on Gatsha need to find a solution to the violence. The decision was unanimous (for) meeting possibly within eight days where they want to make this input. (They argue) the future of the region is in the balance, and they urge strongly that we move on this question.
CH : There is general concern inside and outside about violence in Natal. It is serious diversion and the FLS initiative is inevitable. I think ourselves should support it. I think we should also inform our comrades inside.
J. Nhl : Let us await response from inside before we communicate with FLS.
JS : In principle we don't oppose FLS and we agree to consult urgently.
P. Jord : But there is a danger here. We are elevating Gatsha; creating a de facto parity with Gatsha. He has used Machiavellian methods.
A. Pah : Two things are emerging. It seems the FLS are beginning to intervene and a clear warning we are not in a vacuum. My feeling is CH is absolutely right. We can't complain that it will elevate Gatsha.
J. Nhl : I am worried. I think there's a lot to be read into this (initiative). We shouldn't remove the possibility that Inkatha henceforth be invited by FLS.
T. Mb : It is obvious the comrades (internal) will say we are in the middle of dealing with the matter; it would be better is an FLS intervention is necessary it should be after we have done our bit.
A. Pah : It would be useful if we fed Head of State with affidavits showing Gatsha's role and what we have done. DIA should do this with DIP.
JS : (Summarises) We have a common view. T. MB will convey question (inside).
R. Momp : We ought to decide when a statement is issued. I am worried we don't respond in time. [It was agreed that a maximum of one week should elapse after an event before a statement is issued.]
S. Mf : There are request that we consider the old and sickly to go in. Comrades are now coming to us and saying : "My father has died, I want to bury him". The SACC have said they will not assist such cases.
R. Momp : The aged and so on should be viewed individually.
T. Mb : We need to avoid a process of entry which is disorganized. We should say the situation hasn't changed.
J. Sel : I think that formula should stand. When the (repatriation) process begins we will then consider priorities.
P. Jord : We should give a briefing as soon as possible. [Agreed.]
S. Mf : The Department of Education has submitted (to Secretariat) a memo on the Social Order Unit in Mazimbu. (He explains content.)
J. Sel : This item should be discussed with the regional officials. The Chief Representative (for instance) is unhappy with the Secretary for Education's (approach). [Agreed.]
S. Mf : (1) Angola wants to meet ANC leadership – at least two NEC members by Monday 9th. [Agreed the Secretariat should find out at what level proposed meeting to be and the Secretariat to decide (suitable) delegation.]
(2) NM has been invited to the 10th Anniversary celebrations of Zimbabwe independence. [Agreed the DIA to attend. The international work of the NEC members should be handled by DIP. Latter to coordinate with NEC.]
(3) Religious leaders are coming to Lusaka around 20th April. Inter-departmental representatives should be alerted and take charge of arrangements to meet them.
(4) Medical Conference in Maputo – matter being attended by Health Department.
(5) Query, re: ANC leadership in Transkei – [Agreed to refer to WS.]
T. Mb : NM phoned a few days ago about the question of the house. The leadership of the MDM agrees (that he should occupy). We should ascertain with WS consultation has taken place and immediately prepare a statement. Kind of delay it (the issuance) so an impression is not given the NEC had met to discuss a house matter.
JS : NM wants it to be known that it is a decision of the Movement. [There was discussion about whether it should be MDM which issue statement OR whether there was need to delay.]
T. Mb : There will be a meeting with de Klerk on Thursday. After that we will issue the statement because then it will be easier.
P. Jord : I propose the "TZ report" and NAT report be on agenda for next Tuesday. [Agreed. Also that Review Board and Tribunal should report.]
J. Nhl : We need to pay attention to NM's health. The Soviets have offered…..
JS : There are two aspects: medical attention and rest. He is receiving top class (medical) attention. It's a valid point but I am not sure if check up in Soviet Union is appropriate now.
R. Mom : The rate at which his programme is arranged causes alarm. He should be given time off. Let's take heed of our President's experience.
JS (Summarises) : I think we all agree.
J. St : I got a letter yesterday about release from detention (he reads).
People have come to ask why these people have been released. These three were tried publicly and at end everyone was satisfied. The question here is that the Secretariat doesn't express horror at the crimes. It is incorrect that no preparations were made for (their) transfer to serve sentences. Under what authority did the Secretariat decide? Can we be assured Mazwi isn't going to be sent home?
P. Jord : We shouldn't be seen to undermine justice in the ANC. The process of release should have involved structures authorized.
J. Nhl : Better they are transferred to East Africa. [Agreed]
G. Sh : These comrades were publicly tried. If they have done something good it should be brought to the public.
S. Tsh : Mazwi seems to think he isn't on parole. His status ought to have been explained to him.
CH : The movement will do itself good to consider amnesty. [The case of Thozamile Makhetha recalled. Agreed it can be reopened.] PMC discussed an IDASA initiative to discuss a military conference. [He explained proposed participation and agenda.] The PMC endorsed the initiative but said a proper date ought to be considered. MHQ felt the meeting was premature but PMC insisted. The Conference is now planed for May.
(Meeting approved the Conference.)
S. Mf : Can we have an explanation about the Press Conference?
CH explained. PJ denied knowledge and there was a suggestion an explanation ought to be sought from MHQ.
Chairman closed the meeting at 12:45 hours.