South African’s National Liberation Movement

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National Conference​


Resolution on foreign policy

6 July 1991

Adopted resolutions on Foreign Policy

The 48th National Conference of the ANC, meeting in Durban, South Africa from 2-6 July1991:

Reaffirming that the Freedom Charter, the basic policy document of the ANC, constitutes the firm foundation for the conduct of the ANC`s international relations;

Recalling the foreign policy guidelines elaborated at and adopted by the ANC National Consultative Conferences at Kabwe, 1985 and Johannesburg, 1990;

Further recalling the decisions of the ANC-sponsored World Conference against Apartheid, for a Democratic South Africa held in Arusha, Tanzania, ill 1987;

Further reaffirming that both the Harare Declaration of the Organisation of African Unity and the United Nations Declaration on Apartheid and its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa define the basis of an internationally acceptable solution of the South African conflict, and therefore outline the parameters within which the relations betweenSouth Africa and the rest of the world can be normalised,

Recognising that the conduct of the ANC`s foreign policy must take into account the realities of contemporary international relations, characterised in part by:

  1. A general universal tendency towards the establishment of political systems whose features include multi-party democracy, respect for individual human rights and movement away from centrally-planned economies;
  2. a tendency towards the disappearance of the cold war and a departure from the conduct of international relations on the basis of a bi-polar world order, dominated by the conflicting interests of the super-powers and the two military blocs, Nato and the Warsaw Pact, which latter is being phased out;

Cognisant that the resolute struggles waged in South Africa by our people, under the leadership of the ANC and the rest of the democratic movement, supported by the international community, have resulted in a shift in the balance of forces inside South Africa, a circumstance which is leading to the redefinition of the relations between South Africa and the rest of the world;

Aware that our foreign policy must be informed by the understanding that South Africa has entered a critical period in the struggle to end the apartheid system and establish a non-racial and non-sexist democracy and that the white minority regime has been obliged to accept the demand for genuine negotiations, as outlined in the Harare and UN Declarations, which, among others, envisage the following stages:

  1. The removal of obstacles to negotiations;
  2. The acceptance of interim mechanisms to oversee the period of transition from apartheid to a new democratic order;
  3. The adoption of a democratic constitution, the democratic election of a representative parliament and the establishment of a new government;

Also aware that the victories scored by the democratic forces, including the fact that the regime has been obliged to repeal the so-called legislative pillars of apartheid, have given rise to a tendency among a growing number of countries towards the premature lifting of sanctions against the apartheid regime as a reward for the measures undertaken by the De Klerk regime;

Cognisant of the fact that ways and means should be found by which to arrest the process of the erosion of sanctions to ensure that the democratic movement does not lose this weapon, which will be required until a democratic constitution has been adopted;

Reaffirming that the main thrust of our foreign policy must be the attainment of the objectives contained in the Harare and UN Declarations, namely, mobilising the world community to assist towards the speedy eradication of apartheid as well as helping to move the process of negotiations forward towards the creation of a non-racial and non-sexist democratic South Africa;



The primary objective of sanctions is to end apartheid. Since, despite the measures which the regime has been compelled to take, apartheid is still in place, the international community must continue to utilise this weapon to maintain pressure on the regime to expedite forward movement to the attainment of the objective of a non-racial democracy.

Because it is essential that the sanctions weapon is not lost, the international community should be urged to listen to the view of the democratic forces and not seek to reward the apartheid regime. Sanctions must therefore be used creatively in order to arrest the erosion that has occurred, push the peace process forward and attain the objective of a democratic South Africa as speedily as possible.

Accordingly, sanctions should continue to be used as a necessary form of pressure.

Specified groups of sanctions should be used to achieve the strategic objectives listed below, each one of which is critical to the process of transformation:

  1. The removal by the regime of obstacles to negotiations, as stipulated in the Harare and UN Declarations, as well as the implementation of effective measures by Pretoria to end violence;
  2. The installation of an Interim Government according to agreed transitional arrangements and modalities on the transition to a democratic order;
  3. The adoption of a democratic constitution and the holding of free and fair elections for a nonracial parliament and a representative government.

In this connection, the National Executive Committee as a matter of urgency is called upon in consultation with our allies, to determine the precise formulation of this process, acting in broad consultation internally and in coordination with the anti-apartheid forces worldwide.

These forces include the Organisation of African Unity, the United Nations, as well as non-governmental anti-apartheid and solidarity forces.


The anti-apartheid movement worldwide has greatly assisted in creating an extensive world constituency that has compelled governments to place the issue of apartheid on their political agendas. This constituency has also served as an important source of material assistance.

During the period of transition from apartheid to democracy, the role of the international anti-apartheid movement will continue to be highly critical in strengthening the hand of the democratic forces. In this regard, the anti-apartheid movement has the task to sensitise the international community towards its obligation of assisting the people of South Africa to effect the transformations which will result in the suppression of the crime of apartheid and the institution of a social order which mill uphold the objectives contained in the Universal Declaration on I lumen Rights and the Charter of the United Nations.

Furthermore, the world anti-apartheid movement should prepare adequately for an important post-apartheid role. Such a role is dictated by the enormous socio-economic inequalities that will remain the legacy of apartheid and that cannot be addressed by a mere removal of apartheid legislation from the statute books.

Conference resolves that, within a year, a conference of the international anti-apartheid movement should be convened in South Africa to addressthese issues.


The international community should be mobilised to assist the ANC and its allies, the force that constitutes the main agent of political change in South Africa, by providing material and financial resources to help us realise the following objectives:

  1. To empower the anti-apartheid forces to carry out the tasks of transforming South Africa from an apartheid to a democratic society. In this context, the people`s army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, needs to be assisted in order to facilitate its future integration into a new national army that will defend the country and the democratic order, while upholding the principles of the sovereignty of nations, regional stability and international peace and security;
  2. To assist in the evolution of development policies that will address the socio-economic imbalances resulting from apartheid, through training and research;
  3. To assist post-apartheid South Africa to eliminate these imbalances and meet the expectations of the people. In this regard, the ANC must encourage such initiatives as the establishment of a South African Development Bank along similar lines to the Bank of Reconstruction and Development with regard to Eastern Europe.


The ANC, in pursuance of the objective of a democratic South Africa, must promote regional and international cooperation to meet the following perspectives:

  1. Further to advance the struggle for the liquidation of the apartheid system and the transformation of South Africa into a non-racial and non-sexist democracy;
  2. Actively; to promote the objectives of democracy, peace, national independence, stability, development and prosperity, as well as promote Pan-African solidarity and mutually beneficial cooperation among the peoples, committed to the view that South Africa and its people will live with the rest of the world in conditions of peace, friendship and cooperation;
  3. To Promote programmes directed at the protection of the environment;
  4. To help create a world free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. In this regard, to seek to promote the objectives of Africa and the Indian Ocean as nuclear-free zones and areas that would also be free of foreign military forces and bases;
  5. To work towards the admission of the democratic South Africa in such organisations as the SADCC, the PTA, the OAU, the ADS, the Lome Convention, the Non-Aligned Movement and the re-establishment of relations with the World Bank, the IMF and the United Nations.


Conference resolves that the NEC should reactivate the Commission on International Affairs, bearing in mind the new situation, to ensure wider participation within the movement with regard to discussion of foreign policy questions.

Conference further resolves that all regional committees of the ANC should establish sub-committees on international affairs which would liaise with the Department of International Affairs on foreign policy questions.