TODAY we see the apartheid regime facing a deep and irreversible crisis. All its political strategies of reforming apartheid have failed dismally. Brutal repression under successive states of emergency has failed to dent the spirit of resistance among our people. The disastrous policies of successive Nationalist Party governments has resulted in economic chaos. Spiraling inflation is the order of the day. Sanctions, boycotts, and disinvestment have isolated apartheid South Africa as the pariah of the world.
Friends of the apartheid government argue that sanctions would result in black workers losing their jobs. We say that it is the abnormal situation in this country which produces such results. For us the central issue is: What is the most effective strategy to remove suffering?
We are in no doubt that sanctions are, to a very large extent, responsible for making the government responsive to the demands of our people. We call on the world to intensify the sanctions campaign.
As the crisis against apartheid intensifies, the ruling class is becoming more and more fragmented. More and more white youth are resisting military conscription. We embrace these objectors as true patriots. In the police force, Lieutenant Rockman and others have begun to show the way. We call on policemen to resist anything that is against the people.
The sight of hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters using the streets and cities of our townships as ballot boxes should inspire us to intensify the struggle for total liberation.
The ANC has consistently, throughout its history, been committed to the policy of peace and negotiations. In 1952 I, as Secretary-General of the ANC, together with Dr. Moroka, the then-president of the ANC, wrote to Prime Minister Malan, calling on him to negotiate.
In 1955 we invited all organizations, including the National Party, to the Congress of the People. They did not come.
In 1958 Chief Luthuli, the then-president of the ANC, wrote to Prime Minister Strydom, urging him to negotiate.
In 1960, the ANC was banned and thousands of leaders and members were jailed or forced into exile.
In 1961 comrade Nelson Mandela, who was underground at the time, wrote to Prime Minister Verwoerd and asked him to call a national convention.
Our pleas fell on deaf ears.
That is why we formed Umkhonto We Sizwe, the Spear of the Nation. To defend our people and to fight for our freedom.
We stood for peace in 1912 when we were formed, we stood for peace in our long struggle of resistance, we stand for peace today and we will stand for peace tomorrow.
In spite of countless bitter experiences, we will not allow the past to stop us from constantly searching for the shortest possible path to freedom.
We call on the regime to:
release all political prisoners and detainees unconditionally;
lift all bans and restrictions on all proscribed and restricted organizations and persons;
remove all troops from the townships;
end the state of emergency and repeal all repressive legislation;
cease all political trials and political executions.
If such a climate is created the ANC is prepared, as the Harare Declaration says, to discuss the suspension of hostilities on both sides. There can be no question of us unilaterally abandoning the armed struggle.
To date, we see no clear indication that the government is serious about negotiations. All their utterances are vague.
Now the government talks about ethnic elections to choose the leaders of the black people. This is unacceptable to us.
We are looking forward to the election of a constituent assembly elected on the basis of universal adult franchise. This is where the true representatives of the people will discuss the future.
In the meantime, our duty is to intensify the struggle until we are able to get the regime to discuss the issue of normalizing the situation in South Africa.
The defiance campaign must continue. We cannot wait on the government to make changes at its own pace.
The struggle against apartheid is a struggle of all humanity.
We are interested in the new phase of political openness and peace that is unfolding all over the world. By eradicating apartheid we will be contributing to peace at home and to world peace.