Compatriots, brothers and sisters,
Today, January 8th, we observe the 77th anniversary of the people's movement, the African National Congress. I have the pleasure to extend greetings of the New Year to you and our friends everywhere. We mark this anniversary at the end of yet another significant year of struggle. Whatever its capacity for repression and death, the apartheid regime continued to suffer reverses both within South Africa and in the region.
The Decade of Liberation
Today's anniversary ushers in the last twelve months of a decade which we, together, designated as the Decade of Liberation. In assessing the distance we have travelled on the road to liberation, we need to set ourselves tasks whose accomplishment will bring us nearer to this cherished goal. This last year of the 1980s must and shall see us maintain and quicken the forward movement so that we close the decade poised for victory.
We say this with confidence, having shown in the theatre of struggle that our people have the capacity and the will to make decisive advances on all fronts. The 1980s have seen us muster the most gigantic, organised and active political force for the liberation of our motherland. The townships and the workplace, the schools and universities, the churches, mosques and temples, and the villages and farms have become important sites of struggle for the eradication of racial tyranny. Umkhonto we Sizwe is developing into an effective army of the people - its combatants, together with the revolutionary masses, delivering more and more effective blows against the regime. The contingent of world forces engaged in the anti-apartheid struggle has grown both in number and effectiveness. Increasingly, the ANC is recognised as the alternative power.
This reflects the depth of the all-embracing crisis afflicting the apartheid ruling clique. Its ideology, policies and programmes have, one after another, crumbled in the face of the people's resolute march. For the racist regime, the 1980s will go down in history as a decade of ever-deepening crisis.
Unprecedented Wave of Terror
In an attempt to extricate themselves from this quagmire, the racist rulers have acted with a desperation that is as vicious as it is characteristic of a regime in its death throes. The regime's unprecedented wave of terror has left death, detention, restrictions and long terms of imprisonment in its wake. This criminal regime has reduced our country into a huge prison - its administration, courts and regulations tailored to maintain and intensify white domination by every conceivable means.
The most urgent challenge, at the close of this decade, is to defeat the regime's attempts to reverse our gains; for us to build on these gains, and create the conditions for the birth of a new South Africa - at last unshackled from centuries of colonial bondage. Our actions during the course of last year showed in no uncertain terms that we have it within our power to achieve this objective.
We Salute Our Martyrs, Heroes and Heroines
At this point, we would like to pay tribute to all those patriots, inside and outside our country, who have perished or passed away during this past year, among them Dulcie September, Stanza Bopape, Sebolelo Mohajane, Johnny Makatini, Benedict Moshoke, John Motshabi, Irene Mkwayi, Hector Nkula, Michael Lucas, Sicelo Dhlomo and John Gaetsewe. These are our heroes and heroines to whom we, as a people, are eternally indebted.
Some, such as Dulcie September and others, including citizens of the Frontline States, have perished at the hands of the murder squads of the Pretoria regime, which has remained true to its nature as a terrorist State, bent on maintaining itself in power at all costs. Others, among them Albie Sachs, are maimed for life, victims of the same campaign of terror.
We pay special tribute to those gallant combatants of Umkhonto we Sizwe, who fell in the course of action: among others, Attwell `Mpilo' Maqhekeza, Xolile `Valdez' Sam, Patrick `Naledi' Mvundla, Butiki `Bizzah' Mosimane. They and other brilliant commanders of the people's army, such as Lungisa `Don' Qokweni, Vuyisile Sefako and Odirile `Mainstay' Maponya, have blazed an heroic path to victory, and their sacrifice will be forever honoured.
We also lower our banners in memory to our people mowed down in the streets of Pretoria and elsewhere by the AWB psychopaths, who are inspired by the doctrines which have underpinned white minority rule.
Yet others of our people have, in their thousands, suffered under the state of emergency with its detentions, brutal torture and countless assassinations. Trials on trumped-up charges have led to convictions and execution of scores, with many more awaiting their turn on the gallows. Among those convicted recently are such tried and tested leaders as Popo Molefe, Patrick Lekota, Moss Chikane and Tom Manthata.
They now join in the apartheid prisons such outstanding leaders of our people as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Raymond Mhlaba, Andrew Mlangeni, Elias Motsoaledi, Wilton Mkwayi, Oscar Mpetha and others.
Pretoria's Rule by Force
These detentions, assassinations, executions and acts of aggression should alert us to one of the central features of our situation - that the Pretoria regime is as determined as ever to use maximum force, not only within our country but also in other parts of our region to protect and defend the system of apartheid. None should therefore entertain any illusion that the regime is softening in any way.
We also live with the reality that many townships continue to be occupied by the soldiers and the police. The enemy is attempting to control these areas through the Joint Management Centres, which are instruments of repression established to implement a thoroughgoing counterinsurgency strategy. The centrepiece is, once more, the use of force against the democratic movement and the people as a whole.
Judges and the Courts: Accomplices in Murder
Recent developments have clearly demonstrated the role of the apartheid courts as an integral part of the machinery of repression. In essence, the Delmas judgment means that it is a crime punishable by death to engage in a mass, nonviolent struggle for the democratic transformation of our country. The judges, magistrates and prosecutors employed to administer the injustice of apartheid have stood out clearly as accomplices of murder, abduction and torture. People who, by any civilised standard should never have been charged - like the Sharpeville Six and others - were sentenced to death by invoking the doctrine of "common purpose" and stretching it so as to quench the judicial thirst for the blood of the blacks.
The use of the courts in an attempt to suppress the democratic struggle is in keeping with the plan of action implemented by the Pretoria regime last year, when it virtually banned the UDF, some of its affiliates and other organisations and imposed severe restrictions on COSATU. Many of the state of emergency and other detainees who have been released have also been placed under very restrictive banning orders. The newspapers, New Nation, South and the Weekly Mail, have been banned for varying periods.
Programme of Crisis Management
Clearly, the oppressors seek to immobilise the people, paralyse their organisations, silence our leaders and thus leave the political stage clear for their futile attempts to prop up the doomed system of apartheid.
The regime has been forced to embark on a programme of crisis management, which includes the state of emergency and the National Security Management System as a whole, precisely because it has no way out. And yet the more the racists try to control and manage this crisis, the worse it gets. To respond to this situation the regime will, of course, resort to an even more brutal campaign of repression than we have so far experienced.
At the core and in the leadership of the regime is a clique of bitter-enders who have the instruments of State power in their hands. These are prepared to murder and maim, to destroy and turn our country into a wasteland, solely to protect their illegitimate rule.
Pretoria's Crushing Election Defeat
In an effort to strengthen its unjust rule, last October the Botha regime sought an election showpiece for its racially compartmentalised local government system. The racist ruling clique did all in its power to make these elections a success, in order to regain control. It hoped to get some blacks to parade as credible representatives of the oppressed. Using these stooges, it planned to reconstitute local government structures which would serve as one of the components of its constitutional schemes and hide the reality of army and police control of our townships and the country as a whole.
In the name of so-called democracy, the genuine democratic forces were subjected to the jackboot; millions of rands were lavishly spent to buy collaborators and lure the people to the voting booths. The aged and the infirm, in particular, were intimidated and coerced to vote.
In the event, the regime suffered a crushing defeat: only a few notorious puppets availed themselves; and the turnout was as miserable as the stooge candidates the regime could find. Our people's victory, a product of the joint efforts of all the democratic and anti-apartheid forces, is of strategic importance.
We salute leaders and activists of the mass democratic movement who braved all odds to spread the boycott message far and wide. Also at the forefront of this campaign were religious leaders who defied the enemy's restrictions, risked arrest and prosecution as well as other possible acts of terror, to mobilise our people not to take part. They acted despite the cowardly bombing by the regime's agents of the Head Offices of the South African Council of Churches and the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference and other acts against the rest of the religious community. By their brave actions, they advanced the cause of justice and peace in our country. They also laid the basis for decisive actions in the months to come.
Indeed, the restrictions imposed on mass democratic organisations have brought out into even bolder relief the central role of the underground vanguard and the armed struggle. We salute cadres in the underground, including combatants of the people's army, whose tireless efforts helped to crush the regime's attempts to shore up apartheid.
Where do we go from here?
Yet the fundamental question is, where do we go from here? Despite the massive boycott, the Pretoria regime will certainly proceed with its plans to reconstitute the system of local government in the black areas, which we swept away in the struggle. It will also aim to establish its regional service councils, its provincial executive committees and its so-called national council.
All these structures are of central and decisive importance to the regime because they represent the heart of its political programme. They are an attempt to dress up apartheid in the hope of keeping it in place. The regime sees its constitutional project, represented by these councils and committees as fundamental to its very survival. We must therefore expect that the racist regime will fight with everything it can lay its hands on to ensure the success of its constitutional schemes.
All constitutions address the question of political power. The constitutional manoeuvres of the regime are its assertion that power shall continue to be in the hands of the white minority; that this minority is happy to attach powerless subordinates to itself and that the whole apartheid pyramid will be presided over by a ruthless clique who call themselves a State Security Council.
Whatever new words the Pretoria regime might seek to invent to describe its aims, it will not succeed in camouflaging the reality of continued white minority rule. Notions such as power-sharing without domination, group rights, minority rights, self-determination for the various groups, a nation of minorities, the extension of democracy and so on all mean one thing and one thing only - apartheid by another name.
To all this, the overwhelming majority of the people of South Africa have their response. It is that the people shall govern! It is that a system of one-person, one-vote in a united, democratic and nonracial South Africa is the only one that can bring about justice and peace to all our people and to the region.
The boycott of the October elections was a decisive affirmation of the illegitimacy of the apartheid regime and all its structures. Therefore, we have an obligation to ensure that these structures are not imposed on us. United around the day-to-day issues that confront us - such as high rent and service charges, housing, taxation, high transport fares and lack of basic facilities - and indeed on the basis of our perspective of people's power, we must act to destroy these structures. We must launch the biggest offensive at all levels to smash the local authorities, regional service councils and the so-called national council.
The successful accomplishment of this task is of vital importance for our future. Its fulfilment will compel the Pretoria regime to seek genuine and lasting political solutions in keeping with the perspective of a nonracial democracy.
The Botha regime is actively considering calling elections this year to renew the apartheid tricameral parliament. Almost five years after its establishment, this institution has, as we predicted from the start, proved to be nothing more than yet another structure for the perpetuation of apartheid.
The very existence of a separate white parliament has always been a deep insult to the dignity of the black people. Those of our white compatriots who count themselves as part of the anti-apartheid forces and participate in this racist parliament, which has no mandate from the majority of the people, must address, together with the mass democratic movement, the question of the most effective means of replacing this institution with a people's parliament.
Act Against the Common Enemy
The unprecedented events in the Bophuthatswana and Venda bantustans last year have once more demonstrated the utter bankruptcy of Pretoria's bantustan scheme. Yet these uprisings, involving soldiers and the rural masses, have also brought to the fore our organisational weaknesses in the countryside. The lessons deriving from these events should be put to good use as we intensify the struggle for people's power in all parts of our country. It is crucial that we raise these struggles to higher levels and continue to put before the rural masses the perspective of the seizure of the land.
Once again, to those from among the oppressed who still choose to serve the enemy, we say: you cannot hope to be accepted by the people. If you have so much as a shred of conscience left, act together with the people now against the common enemy to bring about the collapse of such institutions as the local government structures, the bantustans and the tricameral sham.
ANC's Constitutional Guidelines
In keeping with the intensified efforts to address the question of power, the ANC has tabled for consideration by all the people of our country a set of Constitutional Guidelines. We urge everybody to discuss these and make proposals so that finally a position emerges which reflects the broadest national consensus. In building that consensus, the possibility will be created for all of us to advance more purposefully together for the birth of the new South Africa which we, together, will have helped to define.
Step up the Campaign for the Unconditional Release of all Political Prisoners and Detainees
We have to make our advance towards this goal side by side with the rest of the leaders of our people who, to this day, remain prisoners of the apartheid regime. Whatever the change in the location of his imprisonment and the conditions of his incarceration, Nelson Mandela remains a prisoner. So do most of the leaders with whom he was sentenced.
We salute all the anti-apartheid forces for their decisive action on this issue and, in particular, for the history-making observance last year of Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday. Now is the time to escalate the campaign for the immediate and unconditional release of Nelson Mandela and all other political prisoners. Their release will not come about as a result of any change of heart on the part of their jailers; it will take place because the pressure exerted, both within South Africa and abroad, will be such that the racist regime has no choice.
As our leaders emerge from the prison cells, it will be necessary that we welcome them back with all the honour and accolade due to them. They are among the titans of our struggle who, as leaders of all our people, should be sharing the task imposed on us by the continued existence of the apartheid system; statesmen who should never have been in prison, but who should have been free to participate in governing our country and helping to build it into a land of freedom.
The campaign for the release of political prisoners and detainees should also address the issue of our compatriots illegally sentenced to death. Let the demand to save their lives resound everywhere, especially on this, the tenth anniversary of the judicial murder of that outstanding hero of our struggle, Solomon Kalushi Mahlangu. Many other patriots have been illegally executed, and many more are on Death Row, awaiting execution by judicial order.
We are very pleased to welcome to our midst that great stalwart of our revolution, Harry Gwala, who has just emerged from a second term in Pretoria's jails, and whose contribution to our cause has been of great significance. It is a great pleasure for me to announce the decision of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress to invest Harry Gwala with the highest award of the struggling people of our country, Isitwalandwe-Seaparankoe.
We welcome him into the ranks of that honoured group of men and women who carry this high title, fully confident that he will continue along the path of struggle to which he has dedicated his life. We also welcome that other stalwart, Zephania Mothopeng, President of the PAC, who has suffered at the hands of the regime in the service of the people. We wish both Harry and Zeph good health and strength to see freedom day dawn as it surely will.
Victory in Angola and Namibia
As the past year drew to its close, agreements of historic importance were arrived at concerning the security of the People's Republic of Angola and the independence of Namibia. These agreements represent a most decisive advance in the struggle for the total liberation of our continent and the establishment of peace in the region. We welcome them and look forward to their implementation without any delay.
These developments are a direct result, in particular, of the crushing defeat suffered by the apartheid war machine at Cuito Cuanavale in southern Angola. Humiliated, and its military doctrine and strategies in a shambles, the racist army was forced to retreat from Angola in shame. The African National Congress pays tribute to the valour and fighting skills of the armed forces of the People's Republic of Angola, the Cuban internationalist forces and the fighters of SWAPO, who have, in combat, buried racist Pretoria's aggressive dreams of conquering Angola.
What has been achieved is also a direct consequence of the struggles waged within South Africa and Namibia. These struggles, including the growing resistance to service in the racist army by many young South Africans and Namibians, contributed to the weakening of Pretoria's war machine. So did the international campaign to isolate apartheid South Africa in the economic, military and other fields.
This is a vital lesson which we, who are still engaged in struggle for our emancipation, understand in its full meaning: the apartheid regime has not suddenly become part of the liberation and peace forces of our region and continent. Peace and independence in this part of our continent will come about as a result of the struggles and sacrifices made by the masses of the people. In the same vein, we should maintain maximum vigilance to ensure that the Pretoria regime does not default on the agreements, as it has so often done in the past.
We take this opportunity to reiterate our fraternal greetings to our brothers and sisters, our comrades-in-arms in Namibia who, after so many years of arduous struggle and sacrifice under the leadership of SWAPO, have brought their country on to the threshold of freedom and independence. On our part, we pledge to do everything in our power to facilitate this process, recognising the fact that the agreements signed in New York on December 22, 1988, constitute an advance of great strategic significance for our region and for our own struggle.
It is against this background that the African National Congress, in consultation with the fraternal Government of the People's Republic of Angola and other friendly African countries, has readily agreed to move our military personnel from Angola, so as not to allow the racists and their allies to use the presence of ANC military facilities in Angola as an excuse for blocking or otherwise delaying the process now in motion. The armed struggle, however, will continue and will be intensified.
In the months ahead especially, SWAPO will need the support and assistance of all its friends, and we call on the international community to provide this assistance on a scale commensurate with the critical stage the Namibian struggle has reached.
United Action in Militant Mass Defiance
1989 is also the fortieth anniversary of that outstanding document of our struggle for liberation, the Programme of Action. Its adoption and implementation, which effectively commenced with the trailblazing Defiance Campaign of the early 1950s, opened the way for the mass political offensive which, together with other forms of struggle, has today led us to the situation where we can confidently say that victory is in sight.
Drawing on and continuing that experience, and developing on the heroic actions of church leaders and other patriots last year, our approach must be one of militant mass defiance. We must ourselves decide what needs to be done and do it. The actions of defiance we embark upon should be targeted against the many restrictions of the state of emergency; the attempts to intensify racial segregation, group areas, anti-squatting measures and forced removals; rent, service charge collection and taxation. The spirit of defiance should permeate all the other campaigns we undertake.
An important element in the actions of defiance is the bold stand taken by growing numbers of white youths who - despite the banning of the End Conscription Campaign - have come to realise that they have no business fighting in defence of apartheid. It is of the greatest importance that more young whites should adopt the positions of the courageous 143 conscripts, and others before them, and defy the order of the regime to enlist them into the apartheid murder squads. We hail all these young white patriots, among them Charles Bester, David Bruce and Ivan Toms, and urge them to always stand firm, for the sake of all our people. Further, we call on all soldiers and police - black and white - to defy the orders of their superiors to kill, maim and torture innocent people - men, women, children. Instead, they must turn their weapons against the real enemy of the people, the apartheid regime.
What the tradition of defiance and struggle now demands is that we must defend and consolidate the gains that we have already made, continue to draw the greatest numbers of our people into action, cement the unity of these masses and tighten the bonds of common action that unite our struggling organisations. We must draw new forces into the struggle and work for the greatest possible isolation of, and an intensified offensive against, the murderous racist regime.
In organisational terms, the actions of the regime against democratic structures and activists mean that the enemy is forcing more patriots to operate in a clandestine manner. The experience accumulated should be popularised. At the same time, all possible avenues of struggle must be explored.
Once more, this situation emphasises the decisive importance of the underground structures of the ANC. As in previous years, it remains one of our major tasks further to strengthen the ANC underground and ensure that it plays its role as a people's movement charged with the responsibility to head our liberation effort.
The unity of and within all arms of the mass democratic movement has never been of greater importance than it is today. Nothing should be allowed to stand in the way of this essential unity. This movement has an historic mission to mobilise our people into action. To carry out this task, all its components have to be strong and organised, linked to one another and operating as comrades-in-arms and natural allies. The readiness of the masses to engage the enemy through militant action was amply demonstrated last year, above all, during the unprecedented three-day general strike in June and when they boycotted the apartheid October elections. None can doubt that the fighting spirit of our people is very high.
Let every community, whether in the towns or the countryside, be drawn into struggle around the day-to-day issues which directly affect the people. These struggles make up a very important component of our general offensive against the apartheid system.
One of the most important of these issues, which can be taken up at the local level, is the plight of the millions of our people who live in appalling conditions in shanty towns in many areas of our country. These millions can and must be organised and mobilised into struggle around such burning issues as comfortable and affordable housing, proper health, education and sanitation facilities.
Peace Among the Oppressed
Of importance also is the need to confront the cunning machinations of the JMCs, which are trying both to buy over sections of our people and to foment conflict among them. As part of this programme, vigilante death squads have been formed in many townships, wreaking havoc in the service of the regime. These bands hope to impose themselves on the people. We call on those men and women, our fellow oppressed and exploited, who have been drawn into these activities, not to allow themselves to be used by the regime. Whatever the difficulties, we have to work to ensure that our communities remain united in their understanding of the nature of the apartheid regime and in their resolve to act together in unity for the destruction of the apartheid system.
As a matter of urgency, we must leave no stone unturned in our efforts to resolve conflicts that may erupt among the people. We can and must develop a powerful movement for Peace among the Oppressed, drawing in as many sectors of the public as possible. Through this movement and other means, we can create the national climate which would make it possible to end any conflict among the people, denying the enemy the opportunity to drive wedges among the oppressed.
In particular, the continuing ugly situation in Natal has to be addressed by all of us now and not later, and a lasting solution found. We reiterate the position of our movement that this fratricidal carnage must end. The African National Congress supports all genuine efforts aimed at resolving this conflict. We call on those members of Inkatha who still form part of the vigilante squads not to play into the hands of the Pretoria regime, the real enemy of our people. They must refuse to do the bidding of the warlords and their masters, and do everything possible to unite with their brothers and sisters. Peace among the oppressed in Natal must be restored and all enemy attempts to provoke conflict must be rebuffed so that our people can concentrate on the struggle to defeat apartheid.
Build a Broad Front
During this past year, the forces genuinely opposed to the apartheid system made important advances with regard to the building of the broadest possible coalition for a democratic and nonracial South Africa. Despite the banning of the conference that was scheduled to meet in Cape Town last September, it is important that we continue to work on the issue of building this front, for the specific purpose of achieving the greatest possible cohesion among all who are opposed to repression and are committed to struggle for justice and peace.
The crisis of the apartheid system also results in more sections of the white community looking for a way out of this crisis by entering the struggle in various ways. We have a responsibility to reach out to these new forces of struggle, to encourage and support them and help to activise them to confront the Pretoria regime in unity with all other anti-apartheid forces.
Such events inside South Africa as the efforts within the South African Rugby Board to work for nonracial sport, the involvement of prominent establishment Afrikaners in the campaign for the release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners, and the meeting between representatives of the democratic movement and the white business community, all point to the significance of the move among many sections of our people to break with the apartheid regime. As the crisis of the apartheid system deepens, so will this process accelerate.
The response of the regime to the worsening economy and the general situation has been, among other things, a wage and salary freeze, deregulation, and various schemes for privatisation. These measures are beginning to erode the sheltered employment previously enjoyed by white workers. It is becoming clearer to sections of white workers, faced with growing impoverishment, that they have to stand up in the face of economic policies aimed at appeasing big business and strengthening the apartheid regime.
This has opened up some possibilities for these workers to be drawn into struggle, and in action, to realise more clearly that their true interests lie with their fellow black workers and the democratic trade union movement. This will necessarily require careful and painstaking work.
Working Class and Trade Union Movement Under Attack
One of the greatest challenges facing us in this period is the threat facing the working class in general and the trade union movement in particular. Having put COSATU under severe restrictions, bombed its offices and detained and charged many trade unionists, the regime has enacted the Labour Relations Amendment Act, despite popular opposition.
Acting in collusion with the white employers, the ruling clique is bent on destroying the democratic trade union movement and denying the workers all possibilities to act in defence of their interests.
It is imperative that the combined strength of workers is deployed to defeat this vile scheme. As in the past, let us ourselves create the conditions which will force the regime and the employers to recognise our right to organise and to act in defence of our interests.
Of fundamental importance in this regard is the need for trade union unity, and organisation of the unemployed. Yet it is clear that the danger posed by the new law is one that faces all the oppressed and democratic forces.
The entire democratic movement and all other anti-apartheid forces - within South Africa and internationally - should rally to the call to unite and act to defeat this reprehensible law. The employers themselves should know that whatever they might think today, this Act will rebound against them as the battle intensifies within both the workplace and the community at large.
Defeat Enemy Manoeuvres
In struggle, students in the schools and universities have secured some gains in the form of the partial removal of army and police units from such institutions as the University of the North and the release of some student leaders and activists. The perspective the democratic movement advanced a few years ago, to turn the institutions of learning into battle trenches for people's education, still stands. In consultation and joint action with the rest of the community, it is important to defeat the enemy's attempts to immobilise student structures through bannings and detentions. The effort to advance on the course we have set ourselves will be greatly strengthened by the process under way to unite teachers' organisations into a single nonracial body.
The objective of anti-apartheid united action faces all sectors of our people. In particular, democratic and anti-apartheid women's organisations have for some time now striven to set up a single national body. The urgency of this task - at both national and regional levels - cannot be overemphasised, on this the 35th anniversary year of the founding of the Federation of South African Women.
During 1988, democratic structures of the youth suffered a serious setback with the detention of a good part of their national leadership. It is a tribute to their tenacity as Young Lions of our revolution, that the youth have continued to organise and mobilise despite the regime's vicious campaign to efface SAYCO from the political arena. While intensifying organisation and mobilisation, the youth and other sectors of the population should make it one of their primary tasks to fight for the release of the leadership and activists of SAYCO.
Intensify Armed Struggle
The armed struggle is more vital than ever before; and everything the regime has done this past year emphasises this. It is only the use of force which enables the regime to remain in power. In pursuit of this same goal, it has banned virtually all nonviolent mass political activity for democratic change. All this emphasises the need for us, while defiantly continuing with the mass political struggle, to participate in and intensify the armed struggle as well. The mere need to defend the people from armed repression imposes an obligation on us to fight on, arms in hand.
We take this opportunity to salute the commanders and cadres of the people's army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, who have, during this past year, raised our armed offensive to higher levels of intensity. We call on the whole of our army further to step up its activities, directing its fire against the enemy which our movement has clearly defined.
We extend our greetings to all our combatants and other cadres who have been captured by the enemy, some of whom are awaiting trial, while others, like the great MK commander Ashley Forbes, have been sentenced to imprisonment. Once more, we reiterate our demand that our armed cadres must be treated as prisoners of war.
No Middle Ground
Every day our country gets more and more polarised into two camps. On one side are the forces that struggle for freedom and democracy in a nonracial South Africa. On the other are those that fight to maintain apartheid and racial domination. The former continues to grow in size and strength, and has established itself as the alternative power in our country. The latter continues to shrink and weaken, despite its access to enormous resources of all kinds. The process to expand and strengthen our forces while reducing and weakening those of the enemy must be encouraged. There is no middle ground between these two South Africas. All have to choose sides. On the side of our democratic future are the millions of workers and rural people, the women and the youth, the intellectuals and the students, (patriotic) traditional chiefs and business-people, the religious community, cultural workers, sportspeople, professionals and politicians - black and white. These, together, constitute the tidal wave that will surely sweep away the apartheid system and take their rightful place as the democratic power in our country.
Democratic Culture of Liberation
In this regard, the overwhelming majority of our cultural workers have increasingly begun to play a more active role in the struggle for freedom. In the process of this struggle, our people have evolved a democratic culture of liberation, a distinctly South African culture, which expresses our deepest aspirations and hopes. The current efforts to create broad nonracial governing bodies in every major sports discipline has become an important new arena of struggle.
We must strengthen and develop these democratic trends in all fields of activity as part of the general struggle to eradicate apartheid. On the other hand, we must consistently and continuously strengthen the cultural, sports and academic boycott of apartheid South Africa. The ANC urges the mass democratic movement and all other anti-apartheid forces to create viable structures and coordinate efforts across the board to facilitate this process.
In the past year, great strides were made to strengthen the base for a heightened international offensive against the apartheid system. Proceeding from this achievement, and acting together with the world solidarity movement, this year we must score new successes in the campaign to impose sanctions against racist South Africa.
It is of the greatest importance that the biggest possible campaigns should be launched in the major Western countries to oblige their governments to impose further and more meaningful economic sanctions, tighten the arms embargo and adopt other measures for the greater isolation of apartheid South Africa, as well as increase their support for the democratic forces of our country.
The World Must Act
A more favourable climate has been created by the victories that the progressive movement has scored with the signing of the agreements concerning Angola and Namibia. The very contrast between the perspectives contained in these agreements on the one hand and the worsening situation in South Africa and the continuing aggression against the independent States of our region on the other, illustrates the urgent need for the world community to act to end the apartheid system now.
The plan for the independence of Namibia contains no provisions for the continued definition of its people according to racial and ethnic categories. Apartheid structures such as the bantustans have no place in the perspective that the people for Namibia have fought for, under the leadership of SWAPO. What will emerge at the end of the day is a united, democratic and nonracial country.
These developments pose a great challenge both to ourselves and the international community to achieve precisely the same result within South Africa itself, where the Pretoria regime pursues a policy that is a direct opposite to what it has agreed with regard to Namibia. The OAU, the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations, as true representatives of the peoples of the world, have a continuing responsibility to act together with us to keep up the momentum of the struggle for the final liquidation of white minority rule on our continent.
In this regard we wish to reiterate our call to Africa and the rest of the world not to allow the criminal apartheid regime to break out of its isolation. The fact of the treaty concerning Namibia and Angola does not change the reality that a crime against humanity continues to be perpetrated within the borders of our country and in the countries of our region.
We Salute Your Sacrifices
The Frontline States of southern Africa have, at a very high cost, heroically resisted the wanton acts of aggression and destabilisation perpetrated by the apartheid regime. On behalf of our people, we salute them for their invaluable support. Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, together with the rest of the States of southern Africa, require the support of the international community, for the war will not be won and peace in our region will not reign until South Africa is transformed into a democratic country.
The African National Congress takes this opportunity to salute the people of Palestine under the leadership of the PLO, whose struggles and enormous sacrifices have opened up vast opportunities for the victory of their cause. The decision of the Palestinian National Council to proclaim the independent State of Palestine constitutes an important contribution to the establishment of a just and durable peace in the Middle East. On behalf of the struggling masses of our country, the ANC hereby reaffirms its recognition of the independent State of Palestine. We express our full support for the initiative to convene an international conference, with the full participation of the PLO, to find a just solution to the conflict in that region.
On the very first day of this year the people of Cuba celebrated the 30th anniversary of their revolution - one of the most decisive events of this century. The ANC once more warmly congratulates the Communist Party, the Government and the people of Cuba on this historic occasion. The bonds of solidarity and friendship between the peoples of this great internationalist island and our region are cemented in blood, and no force on earth can reverse this reality. We hail the Cuban people and wish them ever greater victories in their efforts to strengthen and advance their socialist society.
We also express our solidarity with the peoples of the Saharaoui Arab Democratic Republic, under the leadership of the POLISARIO Front, and urge the speediest resolution of the conflict in the area, in accordance with the initiatives of the OAU and the United Nations. The struggles for peace and the betterment of life waged elsewhere on our globe are our struggles and we shall ourselves contribute what we can to ensure happiness and prosperity for all humanity.
The extraordinary catastrophe that has befallen the Soviet people as a result of the earthquake in Armenia is a matter that continues to cause great pain to ourselves and all those throughout the world who value life. We reiterate our condolences to the fraternal people of the Soviet Union, as well as the families of the deceased and the injured, and are confident that this great country will soon recover from the ravages brought about by this enormous calamity.
The Challenges Ahead
The period ahead poses many great challenges to all of us - singly and collectively - precisely because it contains within it the seeds for major advances. The issue of a new political order has been placed on the agenda. This reality constitutes a tribute to the historic struggles we have waged throughout the Decade of Liberation. It indicates the extent to which we have succeeded in shifting the balance of forces in our favour.
We must take advantage of this situation and intensify our offensive for people's power. As we observe the fortieth anniversary of the adoption of the epoch-making 1949 Programme of Action, let the spirit of defiance characterise our mass actions for the transfer of power to the people.
Accordingly, the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress declares 1989 the Year of Mass Action for People's Power. Let this last year of the decade be marked by unprecedented mass action for an end to the apartheid system, for the creation of a united, nonracial and democratic South Africa.
Forward to Mass Action for People's Power!
Victory is Certain!