Statement by Mfanafuthi Makatini in the Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly, 27 November 1981

On behalf of the African National Congress, its National Executive Committee and the entire oppressed and struggling people of South Africa, I am honoured to express our gratitude to the Assembly for granting us the opportunity once again to express the avowed will of our people to achieve its stated goal: the establishment of a democratic State in South Africa.

Please accept the apologies of Comrade President Oliver Tambo, who has been prevented by pressing and unavoidable obligations from being with us today. It was his intention, on the eve of the seventieth anniversary of the founding of ANC on 8 January 1912, personally to present the aspirations of the struggling masses of South Africa and to make an appeal to this body at this crucial stage of our struggle.

It has therefore become my pleasant task to congratulate Mr. Kittani on his assumption of the presidency of the thirty-sixth session of the General Assembly. His country`s and his own personal commitment to the noble fight for justice, peace and social progress on behalf of the oppressed inspire us with confidence to execute our struggle with even greater vigour. We hope that under his able leadership this year`s debate on apartheid will further strengthen the international campaign for the isolation of that abominable apartheid regime, lay the foundation for its total destruction and pave the way for the inevitable triumph of the ideals and objectives contained in the ANC Freedom Charter - objectives that so closely conform to the lofty purposes enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The maintenance of peace and security is one of the cardinal purposes that were unanimously endorsed by the founding fathers when, in the wake of the Second World War, they met to establish the United Nations. To that end they resolved that the United Nations would "take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression". Ever since then, and indeed for nearly the past two decades, the General Assembly has repeatedly determined that apartheid is a crime against humanity and constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

On the basis of that position the General Assembly has repeatedly called on all Member States to sever or refrain from establishing diplomatic, economic, military, nuclear, cultural and sports relations with the apartheid regime. In this connection, the General Assembly has also called on all Member States to give moral, political and material support to the national liberation movement of South Africa in support of the legitimate struggle that it is waging in all forms, including armed struggle, for the seizure of power by the people and for the establishment of a democratic State based on the principle of universal suffrage.

ANC, the undisputed leader and authentic representative of the struggling people of South Africa, expresses its appreciation and gratitude to all those Member States whose policies have been in active solidarity with the struggle of our people to rid the earth of the scourge apartheid.

The countries of the non-aligned movement have declared that there will be no peace, security and stability in southern Africa until the apartheid system is destroyed and replaced by a democratic State based on` majority rule guaranteeing the birthright of the South African people as a whole, regardless of race, colour, sex or creed. Immensely encouraged by the role of the OAU in the liberation struggles of Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Mozambique, Angola and Zimbabwe - victories that dismantled the erstwhile Pretoria-Lisbon-Salisbury racist axis and drastically changed the balance of forces in favour of the South West Africa People`s Organization(SWAPO) and ANC, the sole and authentic representatives of the struggling peoples of Namibia and South Africa - and mindful of its unswerving commitment to the total liberation of the beloved African continent, we of ANC, on the twentieth anniversary of the formation of Umkhonto we Sizwe - spear of the nation - solemnly declare that we shall not cease to carry forth the struggle nor shall we ever lay down arms until freedom is achieved.

It is with deep humility that we express recognition and gratitude to the OAU in general and the neighbouring States in particular for the great sacrifices that their .Governments and people - our brethren - have continued to make on our behalf. We wish to declare from this rostrum that that trust, confidence and solidarity in common combat and suffering by our brothers and sisters and progressive mankind the world over shall not be betrayed. Furthermore, let it be known that we shall not betray the brotherly Namibian people fighting under the leadership of SWAPO and who, for a number of years, have borne the major burden of this our common fight against the common enemy based in Pretoria. We shall intensify the armed struggle and all other forms of struggle within the borders of that beleaguered but beloved motherland, South Africa. Indeed, in the spirit of brotherhood and comradeship, we shall not tire to play our historic and strategic role of ensuring the speedy liberation of the whole of southern Africa.

We salute the nations of Belize, Vanuatu and Antigua and Barbuda on their attainment of independence and admission to membership in the Organization. To us, their independence and attainment of statehood is yet another reservoir of strength and source of inspiration in our struggle for liberation.

We salute our comrades-in-arms, the Frente Revolucionaria de Timor Leste Independente [FRETILIN], the liberation movement of East Timor, the Puerto Rico Socialist Party, the Frente Popular para la Liberacion de Saguia el-Hamra y de Rio de Oro [POLISARIO] of Western Sahara, SWAPO, and the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] of occupied Palestine, the sole representative of the Palestinian people in its struggle against the Zionist entity called Israel, the close collaborator of the illegitimate Pretoria regime. We also express our solidarity with the peoples of Chile, El Salvador, Grenada and Nicaragua in their fight against international imperialism.

Five years have elapsed since the Soweto uprising and massacre which triggered world-wide indignation and condemnation. It has now become clear that the highly orchestrated rhetoric about the need for change has given way to stepped up brutal repression, militarization, arms build-up and a brazen policy of destabilization and aggression against the neighbouring countries. The socio-economic condition of our people has worsened as they continue to be denied basic human rights and forced to live in abject poverty deliberately created and perpetuated by the apartheid regime. White minority rule not only continues, but has become more ferocious as the anger and resistance of our people threaten its existence. The apartheid regime has also stepped up its repression against student, community and trade union leaders and activists in a vain attempt to stem the rising tide of strikes, boycotts and protests that have continued unabated since 1976.

Furthermore, and in an attempt to divide and weaken the ever-broadening front of patriotic forces drawn from all ethnic and racial groups and mobilized under the banner of ANC, the Pretoria regime recently resorted to the diabolical manoeuvre of granting limited voting rights to the so-called Coloured and Asian communities as part of its strategy to divide and rule the blacks. We salute the Indian people for dealing a deadly blow to this plot designed to isolate them from the mainstream of the unfolding revolution. The attempt to make them third-rate partners of the white racist criminals against the vast black majority has met with dismal failure as the successful ANC-organized boycott of the so-called Indian Council elections demonstrated only two weeks ago.

The apartheid regime has also stepped up the tribal fragmentation of the indigenous African people as part of the policy of bantustanization aimed at having the so- called Bantu homelands serve not only as reservoirs of cheap labour but also as dumping grounds and concentration camps for the jobless and homeless hundreds of thousands who are daily being forcibly moved from the urban areas.

The projected proclamation on 4 December of the barren and impoverished Ciskei as another so-called independent entity is part of the strategy in terms of which millions of indigenous blacks are being declared foreigners in the land of their birth, while the hated tribal chiefs are provided with tribal armies intended to be used against ANC activists and freedom fighters. However, the mounting anger of the people in the Ciskei and other bantustans, where the agents of the Pretoria regime have resorted to a spate of political assassinations, continues to grow and threatens to transform these intended internal buffer zones into internal sanctuaries for the combatants of Umkhonto We Sizwe, spear of the nation.

Six ANC freedom fighters have been sentenced to death following brutal torture and arbitrary trials which were marked by the broad application of the so-called principle of common purpose and conspiracy designed to pave the way for the imposition of capital punishment on all opponents of the apartheid regime, who are to be charged for any armed action that has taken place in the country regardless of direct knowledge, or involvement in the commission, of such acts.

The Fascist character of the apartheid regime once again manifested itself on Thursday last week, when, through its agents, it savagely murdered Griffith Mxenge, a prominent black lawyer, who, after serving a term of imprisonment on Robben Island, earned the admiration of the oppressed people and the hatred of the regime by his tireless role in providing legal defence for ANC freedom fighters and other patriots who daily face arbitrary trials for their opposition to the system of apartheid. The deceased, who had last been seen entering his car opposite his office, was found stabbed to death and his body brutally mutilated in a manner reminiscent of the tactics resorted to by the racist commando group that invaded Mozambique and killed 12 ANC refugees at Matola, on the outskirts of Maputo, at the beginning of the year.

This dastardly crime and the other assassinations recently carried out in the Ciskei, where the mother and father of Thozamile Gqwetha, the leader of a black labour union, were burned to death in a mysterious fire, as was Deliswa Roxisa, an activist of the South African Workers Union, who was shot by the police, seem to point to a new pattern that includes the killing of Joe Gqabi, the late ANC representative recently murdered in Zimbabwe. They point to a new pattern that marks a tactical departure from the killing in prison cells of over 50 political detainees, including Steve Bike. Today, in a vain attempt by the perpetrators to escape condemnation, the most feared and hated leaders, activists and their loved ones are being assassinated outside prison. ANC has appealed to all justice-loving Governments and non-governmental organizations strongly to condemn this latest act of terrorism by the Pretoria regime.

The campaign of destabilization and wanton aggression being carried out by the Pretoria regime against neighbouring countries has now reached alarming proportions and calls not just for strong condemnation. It also calls for urgent and collective military support of those countries whose sole crime is, in the exercise of their right to self-determination and in their loyalty to the United Nations resolutions. to dare express moral and political support of and solidarity with the opponents of the inhuman apartheid system.

Angola has, since the invasion of 1975, been the victim of the permanent and undeclared war of aggression in which thousands of defenceless civilians have been killed in cold blood while the economic infrastructure is systematically destroyed. Mozambique has also been the target of periodic military incursions, as was the case during the Matola raid and other less publicized acts of aggression by the Pretoria regime. Zimbabwe has been the victim of economic and military sabotage while over 5,000 former Sellous scouts, together with hundreds of dissidents from Mozambique, Zambia and Lesotho, are being financed, armed and trained in preparation for destabilizing those countries.

As members know, Lesotho is not a front-line State. It is true that it has been steadfast in the strict compliance with at least two of the United Nations positions and appeals to all Member States in general, including the neighbouring countries, to provide education for the ever-increasing flow of student refugees who flee repression and slave education in South Africa. The other United Nations position that is strictly implemented by Lesotho and one that has earned the anger and hatred of the Pretoria regime that is now harbouring, financing and arming the so-called Lesotho Liberation Army, is the refusal to establish diplomatic relations with Pretoria and the refusal to recognize the bantustans. That principled position taken by that small but stout-hearted country that is so vulnerable to South Africa`s well-known belligerent position, merits the respect and all-round support of all Member States. ANC renews its appeal for financial, economic and military support to all the neighbouring countries. The sacrifices they are making are for the attainment of the lofty purposes of the United Nations and its credibility and respect.

Seychelles, another small peaceful country, whose commitment to the cause of liberation in southern Africa in general and in South Africa in particular and whose compliance with the United Nations call for the severance of all ties with apartheid South Africa was not long ago concretized, by the stoppage of landing rights to South African planes and tourism, has just repelled a ferocious invasion and coup d`etat attempt by a force of over 100 racist South African commandos.

According to yesterday`s Johannesburg Star, that commando raid included American and former Sealous Scouts from erstwhile Rhodesia. When routed by the Seychelles airport guards, who had been taken by complete surprise, as no one could expect an invading force to descend from a passenger plane, the so-called mercenaries hijacked an Air India plane and commandeered it to Durban where they had come from. Again the Pretoria regime`s extraordinary capacity for lying is hard at work, and the world is now being told that this abortive coup d`etat was planned overseas, that the leader of the commandos had informed the South African Government while knowing that it would not have anything to do with such an operation. There is no doubt that this criminal act which constitutes a flagrant violation of fundamental principles of international law is the work of the Pretoria regime.

The statements and acts of solidarity that have continued to come from Washington have no doubt emboldened the apartheid regime to engage in ever-more brazen acts of aggression in pursuance of its terrorist campaign. The assurances given by President Reagan that the United States cannot leave apartheid South Africa in the lurch since it is a friend and ally, the secret talks between the Pentagon officials and the racist generals who head the military intelligence service, the statement by Chester Crocker, the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, that it is not the task of the United States to choose between black and white in South Africa, between the forces of liberation and the forces of oppression and domination as we understand the statement, the vetoing of the Security Council resolution aimed at condemning Pretoria for the aggression committed against Angola, are but a few statements and acts that encourage that regime which has used its Fascist legislation to arrogate to itself the right to intervene in all African countries south of the Equator.

Objective observers cannot but now link the stepped-up acts of aggression by South Africa with the statement reported in the London New Statesman as coming from some of the Washington Administration aides and saying that the United States policy in the future will be that of rewarding those African countries that befriend South Africa, and punishing and toppling those that support SWAPO and ANC. They will link the South African audacity in attempting to overthrow the Seychelles Government with the United States declared policy of supporting the formation of the South Atlantic alliance, involving the navies of some Latin American dictatorships, such as Chile and others, on the one hand, and South Africa, on the other.

It is a well-known fact that in certain United States military and political circles, apartheid South Africa is seen as an important component in the strategic network to build an order to ensure the much spoken of need to secure the oil sea routes and to make the formation of the South Atlantic treaty organization, the intended southern hemisphere counterpart of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO], a reality. Along those lines, the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean has been turned into a formidable military base and military ties between Pretoria and Chile are also being rapidly strengthened. We cannot but be suspicious that the abortive coup d`etat was part of that strategy.

The hostility against the African Member States as a whole cannot be in doubt. We appeal to all Member States to treat this with the seriousness it deserves, and to take appropriate collective action. The imposition of comprehensive and mandatory sanctions against the Pretoria regime is long overdue. Should our position be deemed unfounded in the eyes of some, particularly the United States, we call on that delegation to join in the strong condemnation of that invasion of Seychelles and other countries neighbouring South Africa. We call on the General Assembly to consider a separate resolution which should not only urge the Security Council to invoke Chapter VII of the Charter against the Pretoria regime, but should also declare that in future any attack on one Member State will be seen and treated as an attack on all the Member States.

The apartheid regime`s heightened aggressive postures also stems from the fact that in the past 12 months, ANC has significantly intensified the armed struggle and today enjoys an unprecedented high level of support among the people of all ethnic and racial groups who effectively conceal and protect the freedom fighters of Umkhonto We Sizwe , the spear of the nation. According to the regime`s own admission, the armed attacks against police stations, electric power stations, military bases and other strategic installations, have during this year increased by 200 percent. As can be expected, the regime only reports on those that take place in the cities, such as the highly successful attack of the Voortrekehoogte, the biggest military base on African soil, situated on the outskirts of Pretoria. The striking power capacity which ANC has now built can be deduced from the statement of Professor Moorcroft of the Witwatersrand University, that the only thing to save the white minority rule in South Africa would be the outbreak of a third world war.

We wish to appeal to all Member States committed to the fight for the destruction of the apartheid system and the establishment of a democratic State in South Africa to give and increase financial and material support to ANC, support that is commensurate to the requirements dictated by the Fascist and aggressive as well as intransigent character of the Pretoria regime, which has for so long been armed to the teeth and is incorrigibly committed to ever-mounting aggression against the African States.

In condemning once again those countries that continue to collaborate with the apartheid regime in the economic, military and nuclear fields, we wish to recognize the limited but positive steps being taken by some who are now establishing direct contact and strengthening bilateral relations with ANC. We are appreciative of the position taken towards the authorization of ANC offices in Vienna, Bonn, Brussels and Paris - thus adding to the already existing ones in Rome, London and Stockholm, as well as helping further to strengthen the position of ANC in the Netherlands, Ireland and all of the Scandinavian countries.

We continue to be extremely appreciative of the unswerving support we receive from most of the socialist countries. We appeal to all Member States to join in the campaign to secure the release of Nelson Mandela and all South African political prisoners. We thank those Governments that have used their good offices towards the promotion of this important campaign through the naming of public places after, and the conferring of honorary degrees to, Nelsen Mandela and other leading political prisoners like Walter Sisulu and others. This helps to promote the campaign for these illustrious leaders of our people, who will soon be completing their twentieth year in prison. We appeal to those countries that have not done so to consider that form of support.

We appeal to all Member States to join in the campaign to save the lives of six ANC members recently sentenced to death by the apartheid regime and to secure prisoner-of-war status for all captured freedom fighters, in keeping with Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Convention of 1949. We appeal to all Member States and non-governmental organizations to promote and commemorate the seventieth anniversary of ANC on 12 January 1982 and the twentieth anniversary of Umkhonto We Sizwe on 16 December 1981, historic dates preceded by the twentieth anniversary of the receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize by the late president of ANC, Albert Luthuli on 10 December 1981, Human Rights Day.

We appeal to all Member States and non-governmental organizations for the formation of national commemoration committees towards this end, and for the dissemination in their respective capitals of information to be made available by ANC and the Special Committee against Apartheid. We appeal to all to co-operate in the strengthening of the arms embargo and the putting to an end of nuclear collaboration with the apartheid regime.

We appeal to all, including the specialized agencies, to increase significantly the voluntary contributions towards providing educational facilities to the ever-increasing population of student refugees who have fled from the repression of Pretoria and from inferior education.

Finally, we appeal to all to support the South African Congress of Trade Unions in all forms by providing financial assistance. We appeal to the Western States permanent members of the Security Council to facilitate the imposition of comprehensive and mandatory sanctions against South Africa before it is too late for them to escape the condemnation of having been active in their complicity in the crimes committed by that regime against international peace and security. We appeal to all to launch an international campaign of mobilization for sanctions against South Africa.