Statement by Oliver Tambo to the Press, 16 November 1984, Addis Ababa

The delegation of the African National Congress is very happy to have participated in the 20th Summit meeting of the OAU which in our view, will go down as one of the most successful in the history of our continental organisation thus far. We consider that it was of extreme importance that the OAU succeeded to overcome the problems that had bedevilled it for some time.

The importance of this was demonstrated by the serious manner in which the 20th Summit tackled the major problems confronting our continent as a whole, central among which are the issues of the liberation of Namibia and South Africa.

The positions adopted by the Summit on South Africa and on southern Africa constitute the basis for a renewed offensive by the African continent against the apartheid regime and in support of SWAPO and the ANC. We say this because in its resolution on South Africa and the Declaration on Southern Africa, inter alia, the OAU has :

Correctly condemned the so-called reforms in South Africa, including the amended apartheid constitution, as a manoeuvre to entrench the racist system.

Reaffirmed that the question of the liberation of South Africa remains central among Africa`s concerns; and

Pledged itself to take practical measures further to isolate the apartheid regime, including the early convening of the Security Council, and has, moreover, strongly condemned the United States policy of constructive engagement.

The Summit also reaffirmed the right of the people of South Africa to take up arms in pursuit of freedom and justice and having commended the ANC, called on our people further to intensify their armed opposition to apartheid, assuring them of the practical support of the OAU to achieve this heightened offensive.

The OAU has reiterated these positions at a time when the masses of our people in South Africa are engaged in intense battles and daring confrontations with the apartheid regime. The African response to these struggles, as represented by the decisions of the 20th Summit, was indeed most appropriate and timely.

The combined offensive of our people, on the one hand, and of Africa, on the other, constitutes a force which the apartheid regime cannot withstand. It is vitally important for the advancement of our struggle that this reinforcement of the bonds of united action among the peoples of our continent takes place so soon after the reelection of President Reagan.

We expect that the times ahead will be difficult, as the apartheid regime and its allies adopt new and more extreme measures in their vain efforts to destroy the ANC and the democratic movement of our country.

But the message that came out of Addis Ababa this week is that Africa - the Africa which includes the ANC and SWAPO - enjoys the strength and the will and the certainty to defeat not only our adversary`s counteroffensive, but actually to vanquish the enemy once and for all.

ES Reddy