We are marking two important occasions in the history of our protracted struggle at a time when the revolutionary fervour amongst all sections of the black oppressed majority has reached unprecedented heights and has plunged the ruling racist cliques into deeper and deeper levels of political and economic crisis. A distinctive feature of this all-round crisis facing the oppressor class is that the initiative has shifted into the hands of the people and continues so to shift. We are on the offensive to put an end to the cruel system of national oppression and economic exploitation. It is a process that the Pretoria rulers can neither defuse nor halt. Within the confines of the apartheid system there is no way out of this crisis situation. The real solution lies in the victory of the revolutionary forces, the dismantling of the apartheid machinery and the transfer of political and economic power to the democratic majority. Each year, as our forces advance on the enemy, this, our cherished goal, becomes clearer and nearer.

In a statement issued recently, Thabo Mbeki, a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC and Director of the Department of Information and Publicity, had this to say:

The enemy of our people, the Pretoria regime, is carrying out its programme of implementing the provisions of its new apartheid constitution. The friend and instrument of the bloodthirsty generals of the so-called SA Defence Force, PW Botha, has now been installed as President of racist South Africa. He has proceeded to appoint various persons to his Cabinet and to his Ministerial Council, all of which will be presided over by Botha`s war council, the so-called State Security Council. For the fascist rulers of our country. in terms of the implementation of this constitutional scheme, things are therefore proceeding according to plan. The domination of our country by a small band of fanatical, racist tyrants is being further refined, reinforced and strengthened.

The question that faces the democratic movement of our country is whether, from our point of view. things are proceeding according to plan. Are we achieving our objectives of making our country ungovernable? Are we challenging in action the right of the apartheid regime to rule our country? Can we truly say that we have mounted such an offensive that the enemy finds it difficult to stop our forward march to liberation?

We take this opportunity once more to salute our so-called Coloured and Indian compatriots for their overwhelming rejection of Botha`s apartheid constitution. The enemy lost. We won a historic victory. This fact is of major importance to the development of our offensive today and will similarly be of major importance in the further intensification of our struggle tomorrow. The great thing is that in our planning, in our thinking, in our mobilization, we must proceed from the basis that we inflicted a humiliating defeat on our enemy. We registered a victory which Botha and De Klerk themselves had to acknowledge as fact ... that more than 80% of the Coloured and Indian sections of the black population of our country stayed away from Botha`s polling booths, as a conscious and organized act of rejection of the constitution of the oppressor.

It is necessary that we analyze and understand properly the implications of this massive boycott of the apartheid elections. By rejecting the latest constitution we were rejecting the kind of society which that constitution reflects and seeks to entrench. As a conscious political act and in an organized manner, 4,000,000 South Africans joined together to reject everything that Botha stands for, to declare their opposition to everything that Botha will seek to promote and encourage using his dictatorial presidential powers. This fact constitutes a very important element in the victory of the democratic movement of our country ... Furthermore, these masses went beyond the mere rejection of the system of apartheid.

They both rejected the apartheid system and opted for a united, democratic and non-racial South Africa. They opted against forming an alliance with the racist white minority for the domination of the African majority. Instead, they demonstrated their resolve to remain part of the democratic movement of South Africa, knowing full well that the struggle for a united, democratic and non-racial South Africa necessarily entails suffering and sacrifice. Thus, on the 22nnd and 28th of last month, 4,000,000 of our compatriots pledged that they would not be cheated by the prospect of arrest, detention, torture and even murder by Botha`s assassination squads, but would fight side by side with the rest of the people of our country to bring about a South Africa which would belong to all its people, to bring to power a people`s government truly representative of all our people without regard to race, nationality or colour. Equally important is the fact that this was a pledge not to serve in the enemy`s armed forces, to fight against conscription. It was a clear declaration by millions of our compatriots that, if need be, they will choose to die fighting for a free South Africa rather than perish in defence of the unjust, immoral and criminal system of apartheid.

The fact of that pledge, that oath of commitment to the struggle for liberation, was yet another important component part of the victory of the democratic movement of our country, exactly because the enemy sought, by means of bribes, intimidation and lies, to detach our Coloured and Indian compatriots from that democratic movement. In essence our victory, therefore, consists in the fact that we have managed to further strengthen the mass army of liberation. We have succeeded to mobilize and unite millions of people to reject the legitimacy of the apartheid regime, to unite behind the organized democratic forces of our country as their authentic representatives and to accept consciously the perspective of a united struggle for a free South Africa, refusing to be misled by false promises of reform and gradual adaptation or amendment of the apartheid system…

ES Reddy