Memorandum to the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development and Bantu Education by Soweto Black Community Leaders, written by M. T. Moerane,June 29, 1976 (abridged)

"Memorandum to the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development and Bantu Education by Soweto Black Community Leaders," written by M. T. Moerane, June 29, 1976 (abridged)

.... In actual fact this policy [of separate development], with its so-called "homeland" governments, in practice raises more questions than it answers; more problems than it solves and is at best a passing phase; a diversionary exercise; while the realities of the country cry out for real policies that guarantee the rights and ÁƒÂ¢Á¢?¢welfare of all.

If such policies are not evolved and enacted, this country is drifting to situations of confrontation of such a dimension that the current unrest will be like a Sunday school picnic in comparison.

The policy of separate development is built on false historical premises. It is generally claimed that it has a moral purpose, i.e. to guarantee equal freedoms to the different sections of the country. In actual fact its purpose is the entrenchment and maintenance of white privilege and white sectional interests and welfare, at the expense of the Black man.

And that kind of order cannot last but ÁƒÂ¢Á¢?¢will bring strife and disaster to this land. There is a school of thought prevalent among particularly the younger people, that the Black man is in the situation he is in, by sheer reason of conquest.

That if the white man arrogates to himself arbitrarily and unilaterally 87 per cent of the country, leaving the majority Africans 13 per cent, it is by reason of conquest.

That if the white man decides to sit alone in the only real parliament of this country in Cape Town, where the Black man is unrepresented, and he makes the laws that govern all of us, it is by reason of the right of conquest.

According to this school of thought, the only answer to this situation is to fight it out again; and lessons of events in such countries as Mozambique have not been lost on some of our people.

We here admit that many of the disabilities that frustrate the people of Soweto stem from the fact that they are not represented in the parliament and other councils of state that govern and administer this land.

If our workers had the franchise, their votes would count and such rights as Trade Union Rights and decent wages and employment conditions would be guaranteed.

If our people were enfranchised and represented in parliament, they would be assured adequate votes in the budget assuring them free and compulsory education and adequate provision of other public facilities and amenities needed; and if it must come, we would be assured a proportionately reasonable share of the land of this country and its resources unlike in the present setting where we Blacks are like foster children of the South African state, poor and without rights or privileges.

We here adopt the view that fighting it out is not the only nor the best way to resolve the basic political problems of this country of which many economic and social disabilities are a result.

We believe that through sincere dialogue and serious mutual consultation and discussion a way can be found that will assure that our people can have the opportunity to make their contribution in participation in decision making and administering this country, with whites.

Of one thing we are sure; that the status quo, whereby the Black man has no say in these matters even in his own areas like Soweto but is an object of instruction by whites, is outmoded and untenable and must change.

Accordingly we request the Government, in consultation with us, to seek ways and means of giving effect to this desire of providing a meaningful role to our leaders and participation in decision making and administration of national and local affairs, not in purely advisory roles such as in the Urban Bantu Councils.

Meantime, we submit some matters here, which can be attended to immediately with advantage and promotion of racial harmony, peace and an atmosphere of goodwill.

Meantime, we submit some matters here, which can be attended to immediately with advantage and promotion of racial harmony, peace and an atmosphere of goodwill.


References:
• Karis, T.G & Gerhart, G. M (eds)(1997). From Protest to Challenge: A Documentary history of African politics in South Africa, 1882-1990, Volume 5: Nadir and Resurgence,1964-1979, Pretoria: Unisa.

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