The first question the President of the ANC was asked is whether he was satisfied, or the ANC satisfied about the level of support that is emanating from the member States of the OAU.
TAMBO: We would like to see more support because the situation demands maximum support. We do get support from the African States, through the machinery of the OAU and its Liberation Committee based in Dar es Salaam. We get support bilaterally from individual African countries, and the current Assembly of Heads of State and Government is another expression of the support which our struggle receives from the countries.
Concerning the recently held historic talks between the ANC and a group of Afrikaner liberals in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, journalists wanted to know whether there was anything more that the ANC expected from these talks other than just talks.
TAMBO: The meeting in Dakar is a continuation of a process of contacts which we seek to make, as the ANC, with the white community in our country which is denied knowledge about our struggle, about the ANC itself, and its objectives for the country, as well as the reasons for the methods of struggle we use. The regime seeks to keep this information away from the white community. But we see it as in the interests of all the people of South Africa that they hear what the ANC has, as an alternative to the apartheid system, and that it is firmly supported by the majority of South Africans. And those whites we have met previous to the Dakar meeting have discovered something they did not know about the objectives of the ANC. So, this was a continuation of that process.
The President was asked further why the ANC has met these white Afrikaners when these Afrikaners had an opportunity to have changed the situation in South Africa during the 6th May elections.
TAMBO: Yes, that is all the more reason why we should meet them. Those we met have learnt a great deal and perhaps they would have handled the situation differently if we had met them earlier. But it is our duty to constantly guide the people of South Africa as a whole as to the way out of the apartheid system. In particular, it is whites who are being misled about the ANC.
A man like Van Zyl Slabbert, is he really an alternative to the apartheid system, a man who walked out of his own party, the Progressive Federal Party, not long ago?
TAMBO: Precisely, we trust him precisely because he did that. He left the South African Parliament because he came to the conclusion that no change can come through that institution, that apartheid racist parliament. By getting out of parliament, and of course not to embarrass his own party, to get out of the party and join extra-parliamentary forces of change, that is the only sort of change, a very correct move and we have called on the rest of the members of the Federal Party to leave that body and join us to work for real change. Helen Suzman has been there for 33 years, and in the end her party is thrown out as the official opposition, but not for want of trying on her part. It is just that she is working through an institution that is not going to bring about changes.
President Tambo was asked to comment about the recent resolution in the United States Senate calling on the Frontline States and other African countries to denounce the so-called necklacing inside South Africa.
TAMBO: We were quite frankly surprised that a resolution of that kind could come from the Senate, which is dominated by the Democratic Party. And we know that in the Republican Party there are conservatives who are frantically anti-ANC, anti-SWAPO, anti-Frontline States, who are strongly pro-racist South Africa. But it came as a surprise that the Senate should try to blackmail others into doing the work of the racist in South Africa. Of course, we are inspired by the response of the countries concerned who rejected this attempted blackmail. But this is part of a coordinated offensive emanating from Pretoria. This campaign has started in earnest in South Africa, and we notice that it is building up in the United States of America. We expected it to be spearheaded by well-known conservatives, such as groups like the Heritage Foundation, but it is possible that they are beginning to bring their influence to bear on Congress. We do not think however, that these efforts will succeed. Botha will not eliminate the opposition to the apartheid system. It can`t be eliminated.
The President of the ANC was asked to comment about the brutal assassination of Eric Mntonga.
TAMBO: The assassination of Mntonga shows how angry the Botha regime was that the meeting in Dakar should have taken place. Botha regards these contacts with the ANC as treason on the part of those who take part in them. Statesmen, university professors, and others have been prevented from making contacts with the ANC by Botha.
But this time, as against the small numbers of people who have been trying to meet us there were 61 and he could not do anything about it. There were too many to prevent, and he was naturally furious. That anger has been taken out on Mntonga. There can be no doubt that the Botha regime must be held responsible; its agents and white supporters must be held responsible for the murder...