The period we are going through is characterised by a sharpening confrontation between our people and the racist regime. Pretoria has unleashed a desperate onslaught to break the people`s resistance and block the path of our further advance towards the seizure of power. At this moment the enemy is trying to recapture the strategic initiative seized by the democratic movement of the masses.

The Botha regime has been compelled, for the third time in three years, to impose a state of emergency, indicating that it can no longer control events except through a state of martial law.

On May 6th, the fascist regime staged another show of arrogance. Through the racist elections the regime sought once again to demonstrate that power resides only in the hands of an insignificant minority and will remain there for the foreseeable future. To achieve this, the racists relied on the state of emergency, an unparalleled show of force, brutal suppression and external aggression. Botha and his generals saw this exercise as a means of consolidating their hold on power and shifting the spotlight of South African politics from the basic issues confronting our country.

Events during the first half of this year disproved this illusion:

  • The first four months of 1987 have witnessed a rising militancy and resolve among the black workers unprecedented in the history of our struggle. There have been more workers` strikes during these four months than the whole of last year. More and more workers have begun to combine various forms of struggle in pursuit of their demands and are embracing the policies of the liberation movement.
  • In a series of impressive general strikes we have demonstrated the united strength of our entire people, raised the issue of people`s power and reduced Botha`s election to a side show.
  • The giant democratic trade union federation, COSATU, has grown and is making advances in many industries.
  • The attempts of the regime to break the rent boycott have not borne any significant results. Instead, the people are devising ever better methods of collective self-defence.
  • The two successive states of emergency have failed to destroy the movement for people`s power. Despite the innumerable difficulties we have encountered, the regime`s fundamental aim of reestablishing its control is being vigorously challenged at all levels.
  • The actions of Umkhonto we Sizwe and popular self-defence units and combat groups have increased both in number and effectiveness. And a greater number of individuals and groups are participating in organised actions of people`s war.
  • Growing contingents of the oppressed people are mastering the methods of underground struggle and resistance.
  • The youth have moved decisively to occupy their post as the shock troops of the national democratic struggle. They have made an invaluable contribution to the successes scored in the current revolt; in defiance of State terror they have launched SAYCO, the largest democratic youth organisation ever seen in our country.
  • Virtually all sectors of the mass democratic movement are recovering from the initial effects of the emergency, as demonstrated by the launch at national level of a broad spectrum of new organisations. Most significant is the growing unity of our heroic women.
  • The futility of the white elections has created the potential for more of our white compatriots to join the extra-parliamentary struggle.
  • Despite Botha`s ill-gotten electoral success the tensions and divisions within the racist camp have not been resolved.

We enter the second half of 1987 with an unflagging determination to hold on to the strategic initiative and to advance further to people`s power.

The regime is engaged in a campaign to:

  • weaken and destroy the people`s vanguard, the ANC, the UDF, COSATU, and other democratic organisations
  • sow mayhem and destruction in the region
  • find puppets from among the black masses to man their apartheid structures
  • reverse the tide of isolation that has enveloped its miserable laager.

We have it in our power to defeat these schemes and advance more rapidly to the goal of people`s power. Botha and his clique have been weakened but they have yet to be defeated.

We call on all democratic and patriotic South Africans to ensure that the month of June witnesses a massive revolt on all fronts:

  • Let us act in unity to challenge the state of emergency and all acts of repression.
  • Let us observe June 16th, South Africa Youth Day, in a manner that befits the heroism of those who made this day the landmark that it is. This day should see a most massive demonstration of our resolve to be free - through general strikes and heightened mass and armed actions. A special role in this period is to be played by the youth.
  • June 16th brings into sharper focus the struggle for people`s education. Through our actions in this period and beyond, we should remove the regime`s forces of occupation from the school grounds; create and strengthen democratic structures of students, parents and teachers in every school, college and university; and move ahead to implement our demand for people`s education.
  • Let us mark June 26th in the tradition of the democratic resistance it has come to symbolise.

We call on all sectors of the democratic movement to come to the defence of COSATU. Let us defeat the machinations of the fascists aimed at immobilising this noble creation of the South African working class. Let us strengthen COSATU and act in unity in all regions and localities and at national level to ensure that it grows in width and depth. Let all factories, mines, farms and other enterprises become the bases of the democratic trade union movement.

We call on all communities - urban and rural - to establish and strengthen people`s committees. Where the enemy repression has weakened them, let us rebuild and defend the organs of people`s power like the apple of our eye. In the place of leaders detained or killed, let a thousand organisers take their places. Each and every resident should ensure that the street and village committees continue to operate. Each and every democratic organisation should strengthen the people`s committees.

We call on all the people, in particular the youth, to form and engage in self-defence units and combat groups in action against the fascist army, police and death squads - the vigilantes. Let us use all the means at our disposal to render the regime`s forces less and less effective. As units of Umkhonto we Sizwe merge with popular fighting detachments, they shall impart to them the skills of people`s war. Such a joint offensive against the fascist murderers shall further reinforce the people`s revolt, which will progressively reduce the regime`s capacity to defend itself.

We call on workers, youth, students, women, the religious community and their organisations to act decisively against the regime`s structures of repression, in particular the so-called Joint Management Committees.

We call on the businessmen to desist from participating in and financing the Joint Management Committees and other repressive structures of the regime.

  • Let the regime`s death squads - the vigilante hordes - be made inoperative in all localities. It is the task of the democratic movement to deny the regime the social base from which it recruits these forces. The extent of our work among the unemployed and the rural communities will determine the extent to which the regime can use our brothers against us.
  • Let us identify and isolate the incorrigible and professional hirelings and let them feel the wrath of the people.
  • Let us defeat the regime`s attempts to revive the network of spies and informers, which we had immobilised during the height of the current revolt. Through action we must ensure that none within our midst becomes a tool of the racist oppressors and murderers.

We call on the people throughout the country to refuse to pay rents and improve our means of collective self-defence so that those already engaged in the rent boycott shall not be isolated and defeated.

We call on COSATU and all trade unionists to resist any attempt by the regime and the employers to crush the rent boycott by deducting rent arrears from the workers` meagre wage packets.

We call on all sectors of the democratic movement and all our people in their organised formations to support the COSATU campaign for a living wage.

We call on our people in the bantustans to rise against the tyrannical puppet administrations. More especially, we call on the people of KwaNdebele to nip in the bud the "independence" scheme as they so heroically did last year. Our campaign against this scheme should aim at destroying the bantustan machinery once and for all. All our people, in every corner of South Africa, must join in the campaign to prevent the KwaNdebele sell-out.

We call on all democratic and anti-apartheid forces to intensify the campaign for the unconditional release of all political prisoners and detainees. On August 5th, our leader, Nelson Mandela will have spent 25 years in prison. Let us wage a massive coordinated campaign for their release, uniting all groups and individuals genuinely interested in the resolution of the crisis afflicting South Africa.

We call on the Coloured and Indian communities to intensify the struggle in their localities and act in unity with the rest of the democratic forces. Let us build and strengthen grassroots organisations, engage in action to make the system unworkable and move ahead to establish organs of people`s power. The ghetto councils and parliament stooges should not be allowed to operate in our midst.

We call on those of our white compatriots who oppose the system of racist domination to redouble their efforts for the creation of a democratic South Africa. Let us advance from the recent campaign against the racist elections as a more formidable broad front uniting all democratic, patriotic and anti-apartheid forces. The future lies with the forces of peace and democracy. The time to isolate the fascists is now. Only through action shall we minimise the bloodletting and destruction into which Botha and his generals are increasingly drawing our country.

We call on those serving in the regime`s institutions and armed machineries to withdraw from their evil deeds, and join the overwhelming majority in the struggle for a better South Africa. You have no reason to defend white privilege.

We call on those whom the regime intends to appoint to its National Statutory Council to refuse to be drawn into this sinister scheme designed to perpetuate the apartheid system. The demand of the moment is for a nonracial, united and democratic South Africa.

We call on all South Africans who genuinely want to see democracy, peace and prosperity for our country to unite in action for a speedy end to racist rule. This is the moment to build the broadest front possible against the diehard racists and warmongers. This is the time to end racist oppression, destruction and war against the peoples of South Africa and southern Africa.

There can be no retreat! Many lives have been lost; many have been tortured physically and psychologically; many more have been driven from their homes and live the life of fugitives. But their blood, their courage and their suffering have spurred us to fight on until final victory. At this hour of decision, the ANC salutes all of you; heroes of indomitable will and determination. Fighters true to the traditions of our brave forebears.

Advance to People`s Power!

O.R. Tambo


African National Congress

ES Reddy