Objective of Freedom Charter
“The most important political document ever adopted by the ANC is the ‘Freedom Charter’. It is by no means a blueprint for a socialist state. It calls for redistribution, but not nationalisation, of land; it provides for nationalisation of mines, banks, and monopoly industry, because big monopolies are owned by one race only, and without such nationalisation racial domination would be perpetuated despite the spread of political power. It would be a hollow gesture to repeal the Gold Law prohibitions against Africans when all gold mines are owned by European companies. In this respect the ANC’s policy corresponds with the old policy of the present Nationalist Party which, for many years, had as part of its programme the nationalisation of the gold mines which, at that time, were controlled by foreign capital. Under the Freedom Charter, nationalisation would take place in an economy based on private enterprise” – Nelson Mandela’s statement from the dock at the opening of the defence case in the Rivonia Trial Pretoria Supreme Court, 20 April 1964
- White Monopolies
“There must be an end to white monopoly on political power, and a fundamental restructuring of our political and economic systems to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are addressed and our society thoroughly democratised” – Nelson Mandela – Our March to Freedom is Irreversible, 1990
“Accordingly, during the last three years, the opponents of fundamental change have sought to separate the goal of national reconciliation from the critical objective of social transformation.
In many instances, they have sought to set these one against the other, with a view to the elevation of the first of these aims to a position of hegemony, with national reconciliation defined as being characterised by such measures as would compensate the white minority for the loss of its monopoly of political power by guaranteeing its privileged positions in the socio-economic sphere.
In the detail, we have seen this reflected in the assertion that our programme of affirmative action to address the racial disparities we inherited from the apartheid system, is permissible and can be pursued, provided that it is carried out within such bounds as would be acceptable to those who occupy positions of privilege.
Thus, whenever we have sought real progress through affirmative action, the spokespersons of the advantaged have not hesitated to cry foul, citing all manner of evil – such as racism, violation of the constitution, nepotism, dictatorship, inducing a brain drain and frightening the foreign investor” – Report by Nelson Mandela to the 50th National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) 16 December 1997
“It is one thing to pronounce a commitment to a representative public service; and another to condemn the selection of blacks, the disabled and women – both black and white – into managerial positions.
And dare we remind ourselves that those of us who went into the
executive were astounded at the absence not only of these groups, but also of white men who did not come from the then “correct ethnic group”.
“We have set out to change all this. And by doing so, we believe we have made South Africa the richer – with our society benefiting from the skills base that the whole nation offers.
If this is cronyism, we proudly plead guilty” – Nelson Mandela in debate on State of the Nation Address, Cape Town 10 February 1999
- Counter-revolutionary forces halt fundamental change(Regime Change Agenda)
“The defenders of apartheid privilege continue to sustain a conviction that an opportunity will emerge in future, when they can activate this counter-insurgency machinery, to impose an agenda on South African society which would limit the possibilities of the democratic order to such an extent that it would not be able to create a society of equality, that would be rid of the legacy of apartheid.
During the period under review, the counter-revolution has also sought to regroup to create the possibility for itself to act decisively to compromise the democratic system at whatever moment it considered opportune.
Accordingly, various elements of the former ruling group have been working to establish a network which would launch or intensify a campaign of destabilisation, some of whose features would be:
the weakening of the ANC and its allies; the use of crime to render the country ungovernable; the subversion of the economy; and the erosion of the confidence of both our people and the rest of the world in our capacity both to govern and to achieve our goals of reconstruction and development.
This counter-revolutionary network, which is already active and bases itself on those in the public administration and others in other sectors of our society who have not accepted the reality of majority rule, is capable of carrying out very disruptive actions. It measures its own success by the extent to which it manages to weaken the democratic order.
Consistent with the objectives we have just mentioned, it has engaged in practical activities since our last Conference which include:
the encouragement and commission of crime; the weakening and incapacitation of the state machinery, including the theft of public assets, arms and ammunition being among these; the hiding of sensitive and important information from legal organs of state; and the building of alternative structures, including intelligence machineries as well as armed formations.
Evidence also exists that elements of this counter-revolutionary conspiracy have established or are maintaining a variety of international contacts.
Some of these are neo-fascist groupings. Others are old contacts established during the years of the international isolation of apartheid South Africa.
And yet others belong among establishment forces which, for one reason or another, are afraid of and are opposed to the fundamental transformation of our society” – Report by Nelson Mandela to the 50th National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) 16 December 1997
- Foreign funded NGOs
“Returning to our own reality we must make the point that our experience of the last three years points to the importance of non-governmental organisations (NGO’s), community-based organisations (CBO’s) and grassroots-based political formations in ensuring popular participation in governance.
The effective and admirable way in which many of these structures have functioned has served to emphasise the point that, in many instances, the public service, however efficient it may be, may not be the best instrument to mobilise for popular involvement and participation.
However, we must also draw attention to the fact that many of our non-governmental organisations are not in fact NGO’s, both because they have no popular base and the actuality that they rely on the domestic and foreign governments, rather than the people, for their material sustenance.
As we continue the struggle to ensure a people-driven process of social transformation, we will have to consider the reliability of such NGO’s as a vehicle to achieve this objective.
The success achieved by many CBO’s based on the contribution of “sweat equity” by very poor communities, points to the need for us seriously to consider the matter of the nature of the so-called organs of civil society
We must also refer to sections on the non-governmental sector which seek to assert that the distinguishing feature of a genuine organisation of civil society is to be a critical “watchdog” over our movement, both inside and outside of government.
Pretending to represent an independent and popular view, supposedly obviously legitimised by the fact that they are described as non-governmental organisations, these NGO’s also work to corrode the influence of the movement.
Strangely, some of the arguments for this so-called “watchdog” role was advanced from within the ranks of the broad democratic movement, at the time when we all arrived at the decision that with the unbanning of the ANC and other democratic organisations, it was necessary to close down the UDF.
Thus we ended up with the situation in which certain elements, which were assumed to be part of our movement, set themselves up as critics of the same movement, precisely at the moment when we would have to confront the challenge of the fundamental transformation of our country and therefore, necessarily, the determined opposition of the forces of reaction.
They lack the issue-driven mass base that is the defining feature of any real NGO and are therefore unable to raise funds from the people themselves.
This has also created the possibility for some of these NGO’s to act as instruments of foreign governments and institutions that fund them to promote the interests of these external forces.
For example, a “Review of the U.S.Aid Program in South Africa” dated November 5, 1996 and prepared by two members of the staff of the US House of Representatives, Lester Munson and Phillip Christenson, has this to say on this matter:
“AID’s program is not so much support for the Mandela government as support for AID’s undisclosed political activities within the South African domestic political arena involving the most difficult, controversial issues in South Africa. By funding advocacy groups to monitor and lobby for changes in government policies and even setting up trust funds to pay for legal challenges in court against the new government’s action or inaction, AID is in some respects making President Mandela’s task more difficult.” – Report by Nelson Mandela to the 50th National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) 16 December 1997
- Racist media
Similarly, we have to confront the fact that during the last three years, the matter has become perfectly clear that the bulk of the mass media in our country has set itself up as a force opposed to the ANC.
In a manner akin to what the National Party is doing in its sphere, this media exploits the dominant positions it achieved as a result of the apartheid system, to campaign against both real change and the real agents of change, as represented by our movement, led by the ANC.
In this context, it also takes advantage of the fact that, thanks to decades of repression and prohibition of a mass media genuinely representative of the voice of the majority of the people of South Africa, this majority has no choice but to rely for information and communication on a media representing the privileged minority.
To protect its own privileged positions, which are a continuation of the apartheid legacy, it does not hesitate to denounce all efforts to ensure its own transformation, consistent with the objectives of a non-racial democracy, as an attack on press freedom.
When it speaks against us, this represents freedom of thought, speech and the press – which the world must applaud!
When we exercise our own right to freedom of thought and speech to criticise it for its failings, this represents an attempt to suppress the freedom of the press -for which the world must punish us!
Thus the media uses the democratic order, brought about by the enormous sacrifices of our own people, as an instrument to protect the legacy of racism, graphically described by its own patterns of ownership, editorial control, value system and advertiser influence.
At the same time, and in many respects, it has shown a stubborn refusal to discharge its responsibility to inform the public.
Consistent with the political posture it has assumed, it has been most vigorous in disseminating such information as it believes serves to discredit and weaken our movement. By this means, despite its professions of support for democracy, it limits the possibility to expand the frontiers of democracy, which would derive from the empowerment of the citizen to participate meaningfully in the process of governance through times access to reliable information.
I know that these comments will be received with a tirade of denunciation, with claims that what we are calling for is a media that acts as a “lapdog” rather than a “watchdog”.
We must reiterate the positions of our movement that we ask for no favours from the media and we expect none. We make no apology for making the demand that the media has a responsibility to society to inform.
Neither do we doubt the correctness of our assessment of the role the media has played in the last three years. All of us know too much about what happens in the newsrooms – Report by Nelson Mandela to the 50th National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) 16 December 1997