South African’s National Liberation Movement

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National Consultative Conference


Report of the Commission on Foreign Policy

17 June 1985

A. Basis of our Foreign Policy

The foreign policy of the ANC derives from the concrete realities of the situation obtaining within South Africa itself and is, in turn, influenced by the climate and balance of forces internationally. The international situation at the time of our Conference being characterised by the world peace and democratic forces engaged in the frustrating of constant attempts of the aggressive imperialist circles, led by the United States, to regain lost initiatives by escalating the arms race and the build-up of nuclear weaponry both on earth and in space; by support for reactionary regimes and interference in the affairs of other nations and unheedful of the fact that all mankind today recalls the horrors of militarism and Nazism defeated forty years ago, and is determined that these shall not be repeated.

The South African state is colonial, racist, fascist and capitalist in its nature; it is colonialism of a special type, with the white minority population exercising the authority of a colonial power over the black majority population within the same geographic territory. The major contradiction therefore exists between the forces of national oppression on the one hand, and those of national liberation on the other.

This contradiction cannot be resolved by the colonisers themselves reforming the colonial system out of existence. The South African state, which is the effective colonial power, will itself have to be abolished and destroyed through struggle by the colonial and oppressed majority of the South African population.

The ANC pursues the strategic goal of the seizure of political power by the revolutionary forces of our country; the transfer of that power as well as economic power from the white fascist minority to the democratic majority, for the creation of a democratic, non-racial and unitary South Africa as envisaged in the Freedom Charter whose 30th anniversary we celebrate at this time.

Our struggle has grown and intensified both within the country and externally, to a level where its victory is no longer in doubt. We have registered significant achievements in our efforts to get the international community to recognise the true nature of the apartheid system, to denounce this system and to work for its destruction.

There exists today an extensive worldwide anti-apartheid movement which reaches into virtually all countries and draws in millions upon millions of people of various shades of political opinion, all united in their condemnation of the apartheid system, and ready to make their contribution towards its elimination .

As a result of the struggle of our people, under the leadership of the ANC, and the consequent exposure of the apartheid system, the racist regime was suspended from the United Nations Organisation in 1974. The South African liberation movement in general, and the ANC in particular, has come to be accepted by the broad sections of the international community as the authentic representative of the South African people – – in direct measure as the apartheid regime is denounced as criminal and illegal.

The work of the anti-apartheid movement, stimulated and encouraged by the ANC, has done sterling work towards isolating the racist regime internationally in the fields of diplomacy, politics, culture and sports. In this connection the Conference should commend those international artists and sportsmen who have used their talents in support of our struggle. In spite of the support given to apartheid South Africa by multinational corporations and governments of the Western powers in particular, inroads have been made against the policy of investment and collaboration by these through the activities of the anti-apartheid and liberation support movements, especially in such areas as Great Britain and North America. Economic and military, including nuclear, collaboration of Western powers and Israel continues to be exposed by the worldwide anti-apartheid movement.

Here the Conference should pay tribute to the campaigns for South African freedom being carried out in the USA – a campaign which has angered the US administration and helped to undermine its attempts to convince the world and the South African people of the dishonest `constructive engagement` policy.

We also hail the support given to the ANC by the OAU, the Non-Aligned Movement, and other international organisations, and should press for full recognition by such bodies and our acceptance as the sole representatives of the South African people. We should further work for the strengthening of public activity in Africa in support of our struggle, while welcoming the support of governments.

We should seek greater co-operation with authentic liberation movements, those people fighting against colonialism, Zionism and fascism and for their inalienable right to self-determination, independence and freedom in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

All these activities and their successes have contributed to the international crisis within the world reactionary forces and to that within South Africa. We should strengthen our efforts on the international front still further – an important front for the downfall of the racist regime.

The escalation of our struggle internally continuously pushes the regime into committing various acts of desperation in an attempt to salvage itself from the ever-deepening crisis at home and abroad. But each new venture has only succeeded in worsening its position and gained us further solidarity and support.

The latest of these acts is the criminal and unprovoked aggression against the Republic of Botswana. This bloody and gross violation of Botswana`s sovereignty, resulting in the death of South African patriots and Botswana citizens, has further outraged the international community and embarrassed the allies of the regime.

Such a situation is favourable for the intensification of our campaign for the total isolation of the Pretoria regime, which we initiated as far back as 1959.

The pre-Conference meetings and regional conferences have been of immense value in carrying out a thorough review and assessment of our relations and efforts internationally. On the basis of the reports and papers presented at our Second National Consultative Conference, it has been the task of this NCC on Foreign Policy to reflect the opinions and views of the membership on the current and strategic plans for the further isolation of the South African racist regime.

The latest aggression against Botswana and South African patriots once more vindicates our position to the international community that racist South Africa constitutes the main source of tension and war in Southern Africa; that racist South Africa poses a threat to the independence, stability and development of Africa and gravely undermines world peace.

Strategic Goals

The upsurge of mass political action by our people, led by their vanguard the African National Congress, has contributed significantly to the rising support of our struggle on the international front. This situation has opened new vistas for the consolidation and strengthening of our efforts on this front, which represents one of the pillars of our strategic goals.

The objectives of the foreign policy that the ANC should continue to relentlessly pursue are:

  1. The total isolation of the white minority regime in South Africa, leading to the imposition of comprehensive and mandatory sanctions under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.
  2. The recognition and support of the ANC as the sole and authentic representative of the overwhelming majority of the people of South Africa.
  3. The establishment of bilateral and diplomatic relations between the ANC and governments, as well as with the international democratic forces committed to the establishment of a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa.

Towards the attainment of the above-mentioned objectives the ANC should intensify its campaigns:

  1. To expose the criminal and aggressive nature of the apartheid system.
  2. To call for the termination of political, diplomatic, economic, military, sporting and cultural ties with the racist minority regime.
  3. To withdraw the membership and rights of participation of the racist minority regime from all international bodies and fora.
  4. To popularise the ANC, its policy, strategy and tactics and on this basis secure the maximum moral. political, diplomatic and material support for our movement and liberation struggle.
  5. To further consolidate our close co-operation with Swapo of Namibia in pursuance of the common struggle against a common enemy.
  6. To strengthen relations with the African states, in particular with the Front Line and neighbouring countries, and urge the international community to provide all-round support to these countries.
  7. To consolidate our relations with those Western governments and parties with whom we have bilateral relations and to encourage others to give unconditional support to the ANC. To further strengthen relations with the democratic and progressive organisations and peace movements in the Western countries, including those countries that pursue policies of collaboration with racist South Africa, and to work to win more and more to our side.
  8. To consolidate our relations with the socialist countries and the world anti-imperialist movement, to fight for the unity of this movement and, within its ranks, to contribute to the international struggle for national independence, democracy. social progress and peace.
  9. To forge and consolidate our relations with international political, religious, cultural and sporting bodies and inter-governmental organisations.
  10. To strengthen relations with those governments in Latin America, the Pacific, Asia and the Arab countries with whom we have bilateral relations and to encourage others to support the ANC unconditionally. To further strengthen our relations with the democratic and progressive organisations in these countries.
  11. To co-operate closely with authentic liberation movements of those people fighting against colonialism, Zionism and fascism and for their inalienable right to self-determination, independence and freedom in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Recommendations on Organisation of the International Department

To achieve the strategic goal of International work, the Conference recommends that the International Department:

  1. Should be responsible for the formulation of foreign policy in consultation with the NEC.
  2. Should prepare an annual planned programme of work and activities.
  3. Should present an annual report assessing achievements and identifying obstacles as well as proposing solutions.
  4. Should be manned by:
  1. Head
  2. Deputy Head
  3. Administrative Secretary
  4. Secretaries for:
  • African Affairs
  • Western European Affairs
  • Socialist Community
  • North, South and Central American Affairs
  • UN, UN Agencies and International Organisations
  • Information, protocol etc.
  • Asia and Australia
  1. Should set out tasks and job specifications for the aforementioned personnel.
  2. The appointment of chief representatives should be reviewed every five years. Appointment of personnel should be preceded by political briefing, basic training in diplomatic work and office routines.
  3. Should ensure the smooth ;hand over in case of transfer of chief representatives and other personnel
  4. Should strictly ensure that chief representatives provide detailed quarterly reports on their work:
  • Recommends that meetings and consultations of all chief representatives are held at Headquarters at least once every two years. In addition, regular regional consultations could be held where feasible. In between these consultations/meetings briefings should also be arranged with NEC members on missions abroad.
  • Should liaise with DIP to facilitate a regular flow of information for the representatives.
  • Should co-ordinate with all other departments in their international tasks.
  • Should send delegations to areas where the creation of support units is necessary.
  • Should ensure that delegates assigned to international conferences are properly briefed and ~hat such delegates present reports for necessary assessment and follow up. These reports should be made available to other departments which in turn would also make similar reports available.
  • Should plan special programmes or campaigns for specific target areas, eg. West Africa, Japan, Arab countries, Front Line States, etc.
  • Should initiate international and regional conferences, seminars and workshops with the aim of mobilising solidarity and support.
  • All departments at Headquarters should co-ordinate their work in external missions through the International Department.

Programme of Action

Towards the total isolation of the Pretoria regime, Conference recommends the following action:

  1. Economic
  1. In collaboration with Sactu, the mobilisation of trade unions, especially dock workers, to refuse to service vessels to and from South Africa.
  2. To initiate punitive action against oil companies that circumvent the oil embargo.
  3. Initiate work stoppages in solidarity with the black workers of South Africa.
  4. Convening the UN Security Council Meeting to impose comprehensive and mandatory sanctions.
  5. To maintain close contact and collaboration with support groups, non-governmental organisations, legislators and community organisations to intensify the campaign for legislative action against apartheid in the US and other Western countries.
  1. Culture and Sports
  1. Honour outstanding campaigners against apartheid, including sports persons and artists who have complied with UN resolution on Cultural and Sporting contact with South Africa.
  2. Promote international boycotts of those defying the above Resolutions.
  3. Introduce floating trophies in order to promote cultural and sports contests, towards the mobilisation of public opinion, particularly in Africa.
  4. To promote tours of ANC Cultural Groups, as a weapon for mobilising international support.
  1. Political and Diplomatic

Campaign for the severance of diplomatic relations with the Pretoria regime and the establishment of direct bilateral relations with the ANC.

  1. OAU

Seek exclusive recognition of the ANC as the sole and authentic representative of the people of South Africa.

  1. Non-Aligned Movement

To eventually seek admission as a full member of the Non-Aligned Movement.

  1. Arab League and Islamic Conference

To seek observer status

  1. ANC Missions

To establish additional ANC missions and information centres in Africa, Latin and Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific, and to strengthen the important ones that are understaffed.

  1. UN Specialised Agencies

To appoint resident personnel to selected UN Specialised Agencies.

  1. Youth, Women, Workers etc

To establish close ties with youth, students`, women`s, workers` and religious organisations in Africa and other areas.

  1. Negotiations with the Regime

We endorse the President`s Political Report on his remarks on negotiations with the Pretoria regime and recommend that the NEC formulate a set of preconditions which form the basis for any negotiations.

  1. Religious Organisations

That as a matter of urgency a number of people be seconded to work full time on the religious front and to establish a co-ordinated approach to internal and external work, including the adoption of short-term and long-term strategies for mobilising the religious community in support of our struggle.

  1. South Africans Abroad

To mobilise all South Africans living abroad to support the ANC. All proposed contacts with bodies or organisations in South Africa should be carried out in consultation with the ANC.

Additions in Plenary Session

  1. In view of the volume of work done by the International Department, Conference urges the speedy re-organisation and strengthening of the Department. This must include the programmed selection of potential cadres to work in this Department for training in diplomatic work, exploiting the offers thus far made by our friends and exploring the possibilities of new ones.
  2. The Secretary General`s Office should keep the ANC`s missions and representatives abroad abreast of developments inside the country through regular briefings and ensure prompt feedback and regular reports. Representatives abroad should never make claims or disclaim any matter that they have not thoroughly checked with Headquarters.
  3. The tasks of our Chief Representatives in areas such as Botswana, Lesotho and Zimbabwe should be more clearly defined, taking due regard of the specifics of each area. Conference urges the NEC to be seized with this issue.

In general we need to launch a concerted diplomatic offensive in this area to canvass the support of both government and the mass organisations. We have openings to and varying degrees of access to the mass media in these countries, which should be utilised in a more organised fashion to reach the grassroots.

  1. Conference urges that we strengthen and consolidate our links with the OAU, Front Line States, the Arab League, the Non-Aligned Movement and other international organisations. Special attention needs to be paid to the Arab states in order to win their active support for our struggle.
  2. The Movement must launch a well-planned and concerted diplomatic offensive among the states of Latin America and the Caribbean where the regime seems to enjoy a measure of support by default.
  3. We should work towards the recognition of the ANC as the sole representative of the authentic liberation movement in South Africa by the OAU, the UN and other international bodies.