South African’s National Liberation Movement

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National Consultative Conference


National Preparatory Committee Composite and Organisational Report

16 June 1985

Part One

Introduction and Organisational Report

    1. On the 26th of June the National Executive Committee released a call to all members of the ANC, instructing the membership to prepare for the holding of a National Consultative Conference. The call pointed out that the NEC came to this decision on the basis of the conviction that the time had come for the widest possible consultation to take place within our movement, around three principal issues, these being:
      • The assessment of the situation within our country and internationally;
      • Consideration of measures designed to strengthen our movement and consolidate our gains; and
      • The defeat of enemy manoeuvres and charting the way forward.
    2. After the issuance of the call, a National Preparatory Committee (NPC) was constituted under the leadership of the Secretary General, Comrade Alfred Nzo. The NPC was set up as an organ of the NEC, charged with the task of co-ordinating preparations for the NCC and reporting to the NEC.,The committee was to be composed of ten (10) members, six of whom were drawn from the NEC, four from the general membership. These were:
      1. The Secretary General Alfred Nzo as Convener of the NPC.
      2. Deputy Secretary General and Deputy Treasurer General, Comrade Dan Tloome, as Deputy Convener of the NPC.
      3. Thabo Mbeki-NEC
      4. Joe Nhlanhla-NEC
      5. Simon Makana-NEC
      6. Josiah Jele-NEC
      7. James Stuart
      8. Pallo Jordan
      9. Peter Ramokoa
      10. Manala Manzini
    3. The NPC began its work the following month, July 1984, setting out a programme towards the earliest possible convocation of the NCC. Its first order of business was the scheduling of regular meetings to assign tasks and monitor progress. Initially the meetings were held regularly, on the average once a week. As the tempo of work increased, three members of the NPC, including Comrade Dan Tloome, were constituted into a permanent working group.
    4. During its work the NPC issued a series of documents and circulars meant to initiate and guide preparations.
      1. Of these, three were basic documents:
        1. Broad guidelines-Part I

This paper dealt with the following key issues:

          • The state of our organisation and its various formations e.g. our People`s Army, Umkhonto we Sizwe. the Women. Youth. etc.
          • The internal political situation, the ANC underground.
          • Structures, Constitutional Guidelines, and Open Membership.
          • The armed struggle.
          • etc
        1. Broad Guidelines-Part 11 This paper dealt with the international political situation and its bearing on our struggle.
        2. Broad Guidelines-Part III A & B

A dealt with the Strategy and Tactics of the ANC.

B outlined the tasks put before our organisation and people during the year 1984 as laid out in the January 8th, 1984, NEC statement.

      1. The NPC also commissioned papers from departments and units to serve as discussion papers on a number of questions which had generated enthusiastic debate among the membership. These were:
        1. PMC document, Planning for People`s War.
        2. Nature of the South African Ruling Class.
        3. Role of the Youth in the National Liberation Struggle.
        4. Role of the Women in the National Liberation Struggle.
        5. On the trade union movement and workers` struggles (from Sactu).
      2. Also released for discussion by the membership were the following NEC documents:
        1. ANC Structures.
        2. ANC Code of Conduct. The Broad Guidelines were circulated through Regional Preparatory Committees to all units and branches for discussion. Units sent in their views and recommendations to the NEC. As a result of the difficulties we encountered in obtaining reliable couriers to distribute these papers to our far-flung membership, documents b) and c) reached the regions late.
    1. Methods of operation in each region:
      1. After its launching the NPC instructed all Regions to create Regional Preparatory Committees. These were machineries created to guide preparation for the Consultative Conference in each region.
      2. Tasks of Regional Preparatory Committees:
        1. To channel instructions from the NPC to the region.
        2. To guide the membership in the region during the period of preparation for conference.
        3. To send to the NPC all recommendations and views expressed by units, branches and individuals.
        4. To prepare and hold Regional Conferences as the last phase of preparation before the National Consultative Conference.
      3. From the reports received all regions except for those with very few members, formed Regional Preparatory Committees.
      4. The NPC advised that where possible Chief Representatives should only serve in the RPCs as ex-officio members, without having to hold any portfolio in the RPC. This was to ensure that neither the work of preparation for the NCC nor the mission work should suffer.
      5. The preparations by units were ml the basis of the guidelines and documents tabulated above. However, the membership was further called upon to make contributions on any other question of importance which it felt needed the attention of Conference.
      6. All recommendations from units and branches were to be sent to the NPC through Regional Preparatory Committees. These views from the units and branches have been brought together in summary form to constitute Part II of the composite report. We should point out here that this report is belated. Initially it was scheduled to come out before all regions held their regional conference, with the aim of enriching the general membership about opinions and views expressed by other branches and regions.
    2. Not enough was done by our Internal Machineries to involve our units (inside the country) in pre-Conference discussions. Some PHQ units did canvass the views of selected individuals and units but integrated these within their own regional reports; others started late to debrief the functionaries. However, by May the process of canvassing views of internal units and the leadership of the mass democratic movement had got off the ground in earnest. The Broad Guidelines for discussion have been dispatched for this purpose. Although reports have not reached us in the expected amounts before Conference, we believe the contribution from inside the country will be of timeless value to the entire movement and struggle.
    3. Regional Conferences:
      1. Each region was to hold a regional conference to be attended by delegates elected from branches to discuss and reach a regional consensus on the issues raised in the guidelines and other matters of interest.
      2. Regional Conferences were also to elect delegates to the National Consultative Conference on the basis of a quota allocated to each region by the NPC.
      3. All elections of delegates were to be conducted through a secret ballot.
      4. Recommendations from Regional Conferences are contained in Part 111 of this composite report.

Observations Made by the NPC on Regional Conferences

      1. Except for Tanzania, where the Regional Conference had to be reconvened for the purpose of reelection of delegates to the NCC, all regional conferences were successfully held.
      2. Some regions were not in a position to hold regional conferences because of the conditions of stay of the ANC membership in the said areas. For example, the ANC students in the Socialist countries were not in a position to meet because of the fact that the only time available for them to meet was during the vacations.
    1. As originally conceived. the Guidelines did serve as a stimulus for wide-ranging intra-movement discussion. Besides, the units raised many other pertinent questions and made numerous recommendations before and at Regional Conferences.
      1. We received a total of 82 papers from the regions: a total of 13 as individual contributions; a total of 19 from units, of which 16 were from PHQ units.
      2. The NPC received regional documentation from eight centres where we have RPCs and where Regional Conferences were held. These were: Angola, Canada, Maputo, Tanzania, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The documentation included reports on Regional Conferences as well as commission reports. Most of these have been reproduced for the Conference delegates.
    2. A month and a half before Conference all members of the NPC (save Comrade Secretary General Alfred Nzo and Josiah Jele, who, due to other commitments could not take part in NPC work from the start), were relieved from all other duties to work in the NPC on a full-time basis.

Below we summarise the views and recommendations from individuals and regions.


Discussions and Recommendations before Regional Conferences

Units, branches and other organisational formations, as well as some individuals throughout the movement contributed to the various recommendations listed below. Participation by units at home was relatively poor and their contribution consequently negligible. This section of our report does not include recommendations from the various Regional Conferences. These Regional Conference recommendations are summarised in the next part of this Report.

The following recommendations were received.

1. Crisis of the Apartheid Regime

The nature of the South African ruling class and its relationship to the white minority, and to international capital, was widely discussed and the subject of several papers and recommendations. It was recommended that ANC `elucidate the concept` of the colonial nature of the regime and the national democratic content of the revolution should be continuously stressed inside our country.

With regard to the all-round crisis facing the regime it was felt that this was, apart from its purely economic causes, exacerbated by the regime`s war of aggression in Angola and Namibia; expenditure on armaments to suppress the national liberation struggle inside South Africa; the growing militant struggles of the working people and the nationwide resistance of all our peoples. These have led to the split within the Nationalist Party and Afrikanerdom and the division between local and international capital.

We should deepen and exploit the crisis by mobilising in the rural areas; draw in white democrats closer to our movement; oppose the petit-bourgeois influence in the black community; make the May Day strike call effective, increase the effectiveness of our propaganda among the white community; hitting at the enemy personnel; and maintaining the disinvestment campaign. Furthermore, while taking due account of the difference between the rural and urban masses, the ANC should leave no stone unturned to make enemy institutions unworkable.

The ANC has clearly defined its attitude towards the SADF. However, this has been misunderstood by some forces. Some seem to feel that `it is okay` to participate in the racist army with a view to subversion, intelligence gathering etc. We need to clarify our attitude towards conscription. We need to identify all military-related targets as legitimate and intensify our drive against the SADF in order to further demoralise the white youth.

The ANC needs to pay greater attention to non-student white youth and try to harness `youth culture of rebellion` to the revolutionary struggle. Of white students who have performed useful services for the movement, only the most disciplined should be recruited into the underground movement. One paper raised the point that the NPC Guidelines on the ruling class focuses only on the Nationalist Party/Afrikanerdom split, apparently exempting the English-speaking white community.

Divisions within the white ruling class are not fundamental; they are, however, manifestations of the crisis of apartheid and as such should be exploited. It was also noted on the issue of negotiations that if we were to have `talks` with the regime, it should be from a position of strength. The ANC must find ways of reaching wider sections of the white community and devise ways and means of using the legal press. Through the democratic trade unions, we must find ways of reaching the white workers.

Complaints were raised that though our movement has succeeded in mobilising whites in various campaigns, there is little follow-up. There were suggestions that we target specifically `white` grievances — conscription, education, the war in Angola and Namibia and so on. We must infiltrate liberal and other white bodies. Also in order to increase our work among the white community, the ANC must spell out alternatives to military service, methods of draft resistance and so on.

Although a few voices expressed partial and conditional support for the creation of a COD-type organisation (ie provided it will draw liberals into the movement or for anti-conscription purposes, etc). doubt was expressed about the wisdom of setting up such an organisation. We need to win over more whites into the movement, therefore the `principled stance against liberals` is misplaced.

Dummy Institutions

The mass offensive against the racist regime in recent years, and especially against its dummy institutions, have rendered these partially ungovernable. The ANC must, however, more clearly define the role and place of the black petit-bourgeoisie, both in our society and within the context of the national liberation struggle.

We must adopt a clear policy in this regard.

    • Tri-Cameral Structures:

A strong view is that black puppets in the Tri-Cameral `parliament` should be dealt with in the same way as Botha and Company. They should be considered legitimate targets and their `parliaments` rendered unworkable. Another view was that we should examine the possibilities of using the Tri-Cameral structures to infiltrate and penetrate enemy structures and organs.

    • Urban Councils:

The main thrust of recommendations was that we need to infiltrate all dummy institutions. ANC should give sufficient backing to the community to destroy the Urban Councils within the context of making the country ungovernable and creating rudimentary organs of people` s power. Others recommend that urban councils must be destroyed from without by stepping up the boycott and isolating those who participate in them. Some recommendations were that we should examine the possibilities of fielding protest candidates who are elected to make the Urban Councils unworkable.

    • Bantustans:

Considerable attention was given to the question of the Bantustans. It was generally felt that in view of our weaknesses in the Bantustans and relative acquiescence there we review our policy towards Bantustans. It is no longer enough to denounce the fraudulence of these racist institutions; we must devise effective means to mobilise the people to oppose these regimes .

We must give consideration to opposition parties within the Bantustans, boycotts and building up ANC structures in these areas. The more notorious puppets should be eliminated whilst opposition parties in these Bantustans must be targets for infiltration and, if found suitable, assisted covertly with finance etc. Bantustan armies should be targeted for infiltration. It was strongly recommended that specific machineries be set up in forward areas to deal specifically with Bantustans.

2. Mass Struggles

The majority of papers and recommendations referred to the support. popularity and prestige the African National Congress enjoys in our country. Yet we seem to lack the capability to translate this into concrete organisational capacity. It was generally felt that we have concentrated too much on the urban areas at the expense of rural mobilisation. We need to devote greater attention to the rural areas. In Zimbabwe they exploited traditional elites to great effect, could we not learn from it? The call `Seize the Land` can become a powerful mobilising factor. Furthermore, the manner in which we have conducted the struggle has increased some misconceptions because our armed attacks seem unrelated to mass action. ANC seems unable to adapt and respond adequately to shifts and changes in day-to-day struggles. We seem unable to exert our will inside the country because the leadership is in exile. To correct the above a number of suggestions were made:

  • The key leadership must be inside the country.
  • We must infiltrate every organisation.
  • We must initiate political, organisation among every sector .
  • We must improve the flow of propaganda and information. The ANC`s presence inside the country must be felt.

The ANC is perceived (internally) as an underground organisation, out of touch with the people – in fact it has a purely military image and there is little understanding between the military and political (forms of struggle). We should therefore:

  • Bridge the gap between ANC popularity and actual strength at home by building a strong and effective underground. ANC must begin to build cells inside organisations of democratic opposition.
  • The M-Plan for mobilisation must be revived.
  • Regional leadership must be professional revolutionaries .
  • Set up specialised bodies for military work, propaganda work, etc.
  • It was also felt that we need to not alienate people who could be our allies tomorrow. Examples of Sacos and UDF quoted. This paper also poses the question: can wayward ultra-leftists be wooed?
  • Give effective organisational training to migrant workers and those from rural areas.
  • Intensify propaganda war against SADF and SAP throughout the country, including the Bantustans
  • There can be no neutrality in the struggle. Educate the masses of our people as to the role and place of the SADF and SAP in our society.
  • Work for the creation of civic organisations throughout the country and establishment of a National Civic organisation, affiliated to the UDF.
  • Organise unemployed workers.
  • Intensify educational work in trade unions, church, cultural and youth-women groups.
  • Recognise and improve the work of Radio Freedom.
  • Place the BCM on the agenda of political education inside the country. ANC must persistently try to organise and influence BCM.
  • Encourage existing white democratic organisations through direct contact and political work in them to establish national organisations.
  • Assist and improve the work of the mass democratic movement.
    • Women and Youth Mobilisation:

The question of women and youth mobilisation received extensive consideration, and a number of recommendations were made. Although differences emerged on whether women` s and youth organisations should be extended into the country, it was unanimously recommended that `ANC develops a coherent political, ideological and theoretical basis for women`s struggle and its relation to the overall national liberation struggle`. It was agreed that the question of the liberation of women within the context of national liberation has been stimulated bv the activities of 1984 – Year of the Women. This should not be the end. The ANC must identify the factors that inhibit full participation of women in the struggle, and develop a strategy and tactics to achieve fuller participation of women in the struggle and movement; organise on a regular basis such activities as will provide for an exchange of views on the question of women`s emancipation. We must train effective women and youth leaders.

One body of recommendations is that, for security reasons, it might be unwise to set up separate departments in an underground movement at home. Women and Youth Sections should be steered towards working with legal bodies. Women and Youth work inside the country should aim at the creation of a National Women and Youth organisation under the influence of the ANC. There is an urgent need to draw in the working youth rather than the students only into legal organisations at home.

Another view was that Women and Youth Sections should be extended inside the country and draw militants from existing legal organisations into the ANC. It was further recommended that Women and Youth Sections inside the country should adhere strictly to underground rules and regulations for the political mobilisation of our people into a powerful political force.

Recommendations supported the idea of separate women`s organisations but warns against the danger of `ghettoising` women`s problems in these organisations .

Strong views were also expressed on the role and place of women, and sexism, within our movement. There was no anti-sexist tone in Sechaba and other ANC publications. It was further recommended that we confront the `patriarchal attitude` among Congress men.

There were complaints about the backseat role of women in the movement as a whole, and serious abuse of womenfolk. The latter needs to be investigated, it was recommended

    • Recommendations Dealing Specifically with the Youth

More involvement of Youth Section in internal work is recommended through greater participation in PHQ`s strengthening of the Youth Section`s internal mobilisation committee; the creation of collectives within the Forward Area machineries to deal with Youth work, and more discussion of internal work within youth units. It was further recommended that:

  • Youth Section should take up a more active role in PYM and consideration be given to our being in the PYM Secretariat.
  • Youth Section must be assisted in maximum mobilisation of youth in Front Line Areas.
  • Firmer contact with labour movements, especially in Front Line States.
  • Youth should now work towards creating a UDF-type national organisation to bring about unity between students and the working youth.
  • That the Women and Youth Section penetrate rural areas and the Bantustans for mobilisation of the rural masses – similarly among the white community.

3. ANC/SACP/Sactu Alliance

The question of the alliance between the ANC on the one hand and Sactu and the SACP on the other was also discussed. Units called for the strengthening of the alliance, and deliberated on the place and role of our allies in the National Democratic Revolution. In this regard, suggestions were such as:

  • Close co-ordination externally and internally.
  • ANC should build up working class leadership in the work-place.
  • ANC should build cells among workers at factory floor level.
  • Such leadership should be mobilised into local, regional etc leadership structures.
  • In our propaganda we should make a distinction between union membership and the leadership.

4. National Structure and Constitutional Guidelines

It was recommended that we need a closer definition of the functional bodies of ANC; how they relate to each other, intersect, allow greater participation of broad membership in decision-making.

    • NEC and Leadership

ANC leadership has acquitted itself well in spite of difficulties, hence we are in a position to raise the struggle to a higher plane. There can be no justification for continued exclusion of capable comrades from the NEC. We should consider whether the ANC`s original mission has been fulfilled Care should be taken not to dilute the national character of the ANC. Perhaps one member of the NEC should come from minorities

Underground leadership should be set up within RSA, and that this is the most vital phase ahead. For such a step to be realised, the proper conditions should be created. This does not necessarily mean that a certain percentage of the NEC in exile be sent into the country after the Conference Nonetheless:

    • We need to look at the disfunctionality of ANC structures (which) because of lax discipline has resulted in people at home performing better than ANC externally.
    • Over-extension of manpower-complaints that too many tasks seem to devolve on certain people only
    • We need to review the organisational structure of our movement and to reaffirm and adhere strictly to the principle of `one man, one job`.
    • The organisation is inaccessible to people inside the country.
    • We need to set up leadership structures inside the country
    • Structures should take into account the need for decentralisation of decision-making away from HQ, drawing up guidelines for decision-making at lower levels.
    • Calls for control committee to ensure progress in all structures.
    • Enhancement of political life inside the movement.
    • More frequent contact between NEC, comrades from forward areas etc and comrades in camps.
    • Guard against automatically co-opting veterans from Robben Island onto the NEC and other senior bodies.
    • NEC must be divided between those dealing strictly with internal work to `do away with the practice of NEC members spending most of their time on overseas trips`.
    • ANC Membership

All members must clearly understand ANC policy programme, Strategy and Tactics; must belong to units and/or branches; those who earn a salary should contribute part of it to the Movement `tax`.

On the question of `Open Membership` three distinct views are held. These are:

    1. The overwhelming majority view is that all South Africans, irrespective of race, colour or creed, who accept the policy and programme of the ANC, should be eligible for membership at all levels, including the NEC.
    2. A distinctly minority view is that membership of the ANC should be restricted to Africans only.
    3. Some felt that whilst they held the view expressed in (a) above, the three leading positions in the ANC, that is of President, Secretary General and Treasurer General, should be restricted to African leaders.
    • Political Life within the Movement

In order to enhance political life within the Movement:

    1. SG`s Office should be geared towards assuming responsibility for political life in the Movement; ensuring that RPCs function effectively; circulation of documents and posing questions to stimulate discussions within the Movement.
    2. Improving ANC organisational capacity-need to increase our efficiency by shortening decision making process.
    3. The leading role of the working class should be reflected in all organisational structures.
    4. Calls for a Commission of Inquiry into Mazimbu, where, it is alleged, there exists a low level of political consciousness, low morale, maladministration, corruption and a negative attitude to MK. Punishment at school seems ill-conceived where murderers are bundled together with failures. There is no rehabilitative punishment. The Scholarship Committee must be purged of tribalism, regionalism and favouritism.
    5. Create a Political Department to deal with this aspect of work, including running a political school.
  • Constitutional Guidelines
    • ANC has no written constitution in force at present, but it has certain constitutional usages which should be codified to regulate the actual functioning of the Movement.
    • We must have a constitutional document setting out the framework within which we must work; and setting out relations within the Movement amongst ANC structures.
    • There is a need for constitutional guidelines laying down frequency of conferences and the terms of office of the NEC.
    • Restructure constitution to conform with present-day demands of the struggles.
    • Recommends there be constitutional guidelines providing for rights and obligations of membership;; declaration of commitment; revival of oath of allegiance of MK; codes of conduct for various layers of leadership and general membership.
    • Recommends that social misbehaviour be separated from political indiscipline; all departments to have their own disciplinary committees.
    • Constitution should be upgraded to reflect the present qualitatively higher stage of organisation and struggle and must take into account the decisions of the NCC.

5. Cadre Policy

A number of papers and recommendations received on the above call for a comprehensive, coherent cadre policy to be developed and implemented with the greatest urgency. The various recommendations are presented in the following form:

    1. What does a Correct Cadre Policy Imply?
      • Knowing one`s people
      • Proper promotion of the cadres
      • Ability to use people to the best advantage
      • Systematic assistance to cadres
    2. Objective of Cadre Policy

To produce cadres with the following qualities:

      • Absolute loyalty and devotion to the movement.
      • Closest possible contact with the masses.
      • Ability to find one`s bearings independently and with courage to assume responsibility in taking decisions .
      • Disciplined and hardened in the struggle against the enemy.
      • Revolutionary stamina, strength of character and power to carry it through.
    1. Cadre Policy
      • Comrades deployed in forward areas should be the `cream of the crop`, with high political understanding, exemplary discipline and sense of responsibility.
      • Need for revitalisation of political life of the Movement, from top down.
      • Need for an ANC political school.
      • Improve conditions to provide literacy, political, educational and vocational skills for MK cadres.
      • Create conditions for recruitment of completed students to provide political and military training.
      • Cadres chosen to represent ANC be given adequate political training, including diplomatic work.

There were more complaints that in certain sectors of the ANC, cadre policy is seriously flawed by favouritism, regionalism, and even tribalism. Place some of the blame for this on the Movement`s security organs which (it says) require overhaul and review of personnel.

    • Introduce adult education programme for veterans.
    • Manpower Development Department should ensure effective deployment of personnel.
    • There is a general need to improve the quality of ANC cadres. We must do away with illiteracy in our ranks and upgrade the cultural level of all ANC members
    • ANC needs to give guidance on studies and retraining programmes, adult and vocational training so that we can re-allocate MK cadres not immediately deployed or unfit for the battlefield.
    • We should now start consciously planning to man a government by preparing our personnel for other purposes .
    • Specialist political and military training for all officers and men of MK, especially in Angola.
    • Continuous political and military upgrading of cadres.
    • Selection and training of women for political work at home and in camps.
    • Cadres should not stay too long in camps.
    • Commanders in Forward Areas should continuously study the situation at home and in their own areas of operation.
    • All-round political or military training with specialisation in all fields, in guerrilla and regular warfare.
    • Preparation of core of trained specialists for regular army.
    • Ill-conceived deployment of personnel results in wastage.
    • Recruitment units inside must be linked to the appropriate machinery.
    • Internal leadership still relies too much on guidance of external leadership. This situation needs rectification.

6. People`s War (Armed Struggle)

Several units make the point that their purpose is not to point fingers but rather to bring to the attention of the Movement matters of grave concern which, if left unattended, will impede our struggle. Our present tactics seem to be aimed at registering our presence rather than serious military conflict, consequently we have failed to expand and draw in the masses who have become spectators: our actions encourage mass passivity. Failure to follow up gives the enemy time to regroup and counter-attack. There is still no organised ANC or MK presence inside the country and as a result we have failed to counter the enemy`s five year plan. Rather than remedy this situation, our MHQ go in for ill-advised plans instead of building up our forces inside the country.

Rear bases are untenable for our struggle, therefore the commanding personnel should go into the country. Commanding from the rear has caused a time lag between events and our response and encouraged negligence and faulty preparations. Decisions to this effect have been taken and await implementation.

The Movement as a whole should be put on a war footing and leading bodies (PMC) should move closer to home so that they are in closer touch with the actual situation.


  • There should be a shift from armed propaganda to a People`s War. The ANC needs to generate greater commitment, tighter discipline and, though centralism is important, democracy in the governance of our activities is equally important.
  • Greater attention must be paid to build MK units among workers and peasants, drawing in the unemployed.
  • MK training should seek to produce an all-rounder who can impart the skills of a soldier, agitator, propagandist, etc, to people inside the country. Stress must be put on MK fighters as political militants.
  • Cells for intensification of armed struggle.
  • Training of MK cadres inside the country.
  • We should go in for sabotage of plants and infrastructure, draw factory workers into sabotage teams and halt immigration of skilled workers from Europe.
  • Armed propaganda, especially in rural areas, must be intensified.
  • Engage enemy in mine warfare.
  • Create politico-military units in factories, farms, mines and other places of work.
  • Attack enemy personnel.
  • Improve general training courses (with inclusion of courses such as MCW).
  • Create PMCs within localities of other nationalities for recruitment, training, etc.
  • All members of ANC must undergo military training.
  • Work towards obtaining arms from the enemy.
  • Find ways of involving war resisters in MK work.
  • Prepare special units which will form the core of a (future) regular army.
  • Recruit more women into MK and set up special structures for this purpose with co-operation of ANC Women`s Section. Women should be involved in MK work.
  • Infiltrate the SADF, SAP, etc.
  • Comrades complain bitterly about wrong deployment of personnel due to favouritism and other destructive tendencies which (they say) have become endemic. No account is taken of actual inclinations or interests of cadres. There is too much (social) distance between selectors and selectees.
  • Others claim that there appears to be no accountability at army level in the movement. A number of examples are listed of serious errors about which there has been no adequate accounting which have led to more casualties. The cause (they allege) is that no proper accounting, cross-checking or verification of reports is done.
  • Proper care should be taken of infirm and injured comrades. The facilities at Temeke and Dakawa are wholly inadequate.

7. Umkhonto we Sizwe

  • MK should increasingly be posed as the alternative to the SADF.
  • The political department and commissariat in People`s War should be strengthened with cadres of a high political commitment and consciousness, to safeguard the general welfare and discipline of MK. Commissars should receive special political and military training.
  • All punishment should be corrective and must be approved by the commissariat.
  • Inclusion of various old comrades in various administrative organs of MK, especially in Angola.
  • Rights and obligations of all MK members should be clearly spelled out and strictly enforced.
  • Comrades should be constantly briefed.
  • Visits to camps by leadership should be regular.
  • Military training should be compulsory for all ANC members.
  • The problems at Somafco with regard to students who would like to join MK should be resolved.
    • Composition of MK

The present imbalance of predominantly students and ex-students must be corrected by:

    1. MK must become predominantly an army of workers and peasants. It must be a true people`s army, and we must also do away with ingrained prejudices against women.
    2. ANC must play a more active role in workers` mobilisation.
    3. Special structures to recruit workers and peasants, and Coloured and Indian communities into MK.
    4. Review recruitment of whites into MK.
    5. Youth Section should launch a drive to recruit these sectors into MK.
    6. Movement must create special structures to deal with practical problems of recruitment from these sectors.

8. Security Department

There were complaints about the arbitrary powers which the security department seems to have to arrest, detain and assault people. It is suggested that this be remedied by systematic accounting of all lower to senior bodies: commanders` reports should be accompanied by rank and file reports. Commissariat should serve as a link between the cadre and leadership and should take up complaints of rank and file. Regular official reports on casualties, arrests and defection; thorough briefing of all combatants on deserters, arrests etc should be made.

The security department should be manned by mature people and only politically mature people should be given responsibility in the West. Reference was made to alleged mistakes made in the past in the selection of cadres for the front.

Position of security officers should be clearly elucidated and they must be subordinated to Commanders, Commissars and Chief of Staff. We need to stop certain practices which are counter to the policies of the Movement e.g. ways of getting information from those arrested.

9. Department of Information and Publicity

It`s recommended that DIP be strengthened internally. Our propaganda and publications must be distributed more efficiently. Says most whites are ignorant of ANC, its history and aims. We can rectify this by making more information propaganda available. Quality of ANC publications well printed but content poor. It would be better to have a more amateurish press but with better content. Specialised propaganda units in vernacular (and Afrikaans) languages required.

More profound discussion of ANC policy and the Freedom Charter needs to be injected into mass movement at home. Proper place must be accorded to the national dimensions of the struggle. Freedom Charter should be translated into vernacular and Afrikaans languages, and distributed on a continuous basis throughout the country. Need to pay attention to use of universities, research outfits, etc for military/ counter-insurgency research.

10. Forward Areas


  • Security lapses that occur in forward areas and undefined methods of handling enemy agents are identified in the forward areas.
  • Forward areas machinery under political commissariat .
  • Forward areas must be seen as transit areas and those not directly engaged in work there should be withdrawn. Discipline of comrades working in such areas must be priority. This must correspond to the requirements for underground conditions.
  • We must strengthen our links with the people in the forward areas, as this is our immediate rear base.
  • Need to separate other structures in forward areas from diplomatic missions. Suggestions include coordination body including missions, cell structures, political commissariat, etc.

11. International Work

Most recommendations, resolutions etc stress the changing balances of forces in favour of Socialism, national liberation and social progress; the importance of the alliance between the Socialist countries and National Liberation Movements, and the need to prevent imperialism reversing this in our region.

Suggest there is a need to examine the reasons why the Nkomati Accord caught ANC off guard. We should step up the oil sanctions campaign internationally. We must take advantage of SA travellers and students abroad who will return home, etc, to gain access to certain levels of the community. SA exiles must be brought closer to the ANC through a conscious effort .

The movement must intensify and invigorate international solidarity work. Form Anti-Apartheid Movements in Africa as well as broad Peace Movements. Intensify co-operation with other National Liberation Movements in Africa. Expose role of imperialism with regard to PAC. Increase frequency of Amandla Cultural Ensemble tours abroad. International work is weak in Latin America, West Africa, Asia and Middle East. Cadres must be trained specifically for this work. We must make a concerted drive to expel RSA from the UN and win exclusive recognition for the ANC.

Campaign should be launched to:

  • Win recognition of the ANC as the sole legitimate representative of the oppressed.
  • Arrive at de facto diplomatic recognition of ANC by friendly countries.
  • Isolate the PAC on the African continent.

We must also develop closer contact between ANC offices and grassroots of host countries. Close gap created by absence of ANC offices in some countries. Train representatives in Diplomacy and International Law.

Where there is a large student representation, liaison with representation should be formalised. Revival of International Coordinating Committee and annual meetings of representatives to coordinate programme of international work. Strengthen solidarity work on African continent through grassroots organisations. Socialist countries remain our staunchest allies, but we must avoid complacency. We should step up publicity and information work, especially through students in these countries.

ANC must counter racist offensive through campaign to win support, avoiding over-dependency on particular countries. A budget to ensure proper allocation and utilisation of funds.

Non-ANC South Africans must be mobilised into supportive groups to draw them closer to the Movement. ANC international impact could be improved if we had propaganda materials in other languages.

The need to improve our diplomatic representation so that we have a mission everywhere with cultural, economic and political attaches.

    • Third Force:

Third forces-PAC, BCM and other elements- campaigning against our struggle must be isolated. ANC should treat such groups as part of imperialist strategy to create alternatives to the ANC.

12. NCC-Recommendations

  • The need to involve the internal machinery in the NCC was stressed, taking due account of the security problems.
  • One paper stresses that participants should be chosen on their ability to contribute meaningfully to the struggle.
  • The NCC must be representative of the membership.
  • The need for regular conferences was underlined.
  • One region suggested that the NPC give serious consideration to the idea of having a formal relationship with the press during conference.

To reinforce the principle of accountability, elections must be held at conference. Conference must become a regular feature of Movement life, held at five-yearly intervals. One comrade felt it would be unwise to have open elections as this could lead to loss of experienced leaders and therefore recommends two alternative methods of either endorsing or withdrawing mandate of the current NEC.

Option (a): All regions be balloted on approval or disapproval of list of current NEC. All members polling below 50% should submit to elections at theconference

Option (b): Regions be balloted to give President a mandate to choose his own NEC. If mandate polls below 70% some other method should be tound (author does not suggest one).



This Composite Report on the Regional Conferences will attempt to summarise and synthesise the views expressed by the general membership through their delegates. This exercise, it is hoped, will assist us in distilling the mood of the general membership, the better to arrive at a consensus at the National Consultative Conference.

Our task is complicated by two factors. The first being that in spite of the explicit directives of the NPC, all the regions did not abide by the deadline we had set for the convening of the conferences. Some have thus far even failed to submit their reports to the NPC. Consequently, this is based on four regions.

Second, largely our fault, no explicit guidelines were laid down for the presentation of reports. Most of the regional reports were handed to us in their raw states from which we were expected to cull the salient points and draw these into one composite report.

The approach used identifies some common themes in the reports we have received, commencing with those that occur in all the reports, followed by those that occur in more than one report. In the second part we touch upon themes that occur in single reports. As far as possible we have tried to bring out and highlight the shades of emphasis and stress if such occur in the actual reports without jeopardising the common threads. We have made every effort not to press the variety of views found into a common mould because it is important that both the diversity and uniformity of our membership`s views be fully expressed.

A1: Internal Mobilisation

A1 .1 This was a theme taken up by all the regions without exception. The most salient feature of the present situation was identified by one region in the following terms: That the enemy no longer has the strength and self-confidence to crush us, but we still have not acquired sufficient strength to crush him. All the contributions from the floor and in the overall reports from regions reflect a common concern to rectify this position.

A1.2 One region draws attention to the three year programme embarked upon by the ANC and assesses it as politically successful in that it has

  1. elevated the vanguard role of our Movement;
  2. demonstrated our capacity to hit the enemy at places and times of our own choosing;
  3. deepened the crisis facing the regime;
  4. posed the Freedom Charter, which has now been widely accepted as such, as the only real alternative to continued colonial domination; and
  5. inspired the present mood of mass defiance and created the atmosphere of ungovernability.

A1.3 The shortcomings of the programme are that:

  1. We have failed to move from armed propaganda to the next phase;
  2. Our armed action has thus far not complemented mass action;
  3. We have not drawn the organised working class into the political struggle in sufficient numbers nor affected the rural masses.

A1.4 All the regions recognise the immense problems facing the underground machinery but stress the need to extend existing machinery by reviving the programme to establish Area Political Committees (APCs) which should develop into regional then provincial structures. The mass acceptance and popularity of the ANC must now be translated into organised political support which at least three regions feel could be achieved if we infiltrated and created cells of ANC activists in each mass organisation from the Trade Unions to Women and Youth organisations.

A1.5 It was the commonly held view that our leadership is too far away from the actual theatre of struggle and should increasingly be brought closer to home (all four regions) and where necessary infiltrated back into the country (three regions) or devolve power down to an internally based leadership (one region) which has now become essential.

A1.6 There was also the view expressed that though we regard the working class as the decisive force in our revolution, this is not reflected in reality. All regions called for the rooting of the ANC within the black working class so that it can exercise its leadership role at all levels. Our glaring weakness in the rural areas was also a matter of grave concern which should immediately be rectified. A number of proposals were made to correct this situation. These include a proposal that we mobilise to isolate the Bantustan puppets using the burning issues facing the peasantry as our springboard; another that we establish links with traditional rulers and elite to gain access to the Bantustan masses; a third that we link up with opposition parties as a means of galvanising the people into action. One region suggests that the imbalance between male and female populations in the Bantustans suggests that women and youth might prove more effective as organisers in these areas. Another suggests that the unemployed, the `endorsed out` and forcibly removed from urban areas could become conduits to reach the Bantustan masses.

A1.7 The escalation of the armed struggle is viewed by two units as one other means of mass mobilisation which should be accompanied by infiltration of underground political operatives. Such work can be assisted by the setting up of PHQ/MHQ structures wherever we can reach South Africans.

A1.8 Attention was called to the church and other religious bodies that could usefully serve as an additional means of reaching the people. Other suggestions to improve our internal work were:

  1. Closer coordination and planning of work between DIP and PHQ (2);
  2. Internally based propaganda units, including correspondents for Radio Freedom and possibly even a broadcasting unit (2);
  3. Specialised Women and Youth work units in forward areas (2);
  4. Working towards a nationwide Women`s Organisation (I);
  5. Reviving campaigns (like anti-pass campaigns) that have been allowed to lie dormant (I); and
  6. Raising our publications to a higher standard (1).

A1.9 Special mention was made by one region of the need not to allow funding to stand in the way of internal work. If there was a lack of accounting or irregularities these should be rectified by more efficient structures, not by the withholding of funds.

A1.10 One region pointed out that at least two thirds of DIP work is internally oriented and should be regarded as an essential component of mass mobilisation. Our researchers could also assist in the effort by identifying and producing more profound studies of various strata, classes and sectors of the population.

A2. Armed Struggle and its Place in our Strategy

A2.l The discussions of the internal situation in each instance were linked to the armed struggle, testifying to a commonly held view that it is the pivotal aspect of the liberation struggle. In a perceptive introductory passage, one region locates the present phase of the armed struggle in the context of the crisis of the racist regime, characterised by the splits in the ruling class`s ranks and their need to militarise South Africa to confront the forces of liberation.

A2.2 All the regions pressed for an escalation of the armed component of the struggle and a shift away from the phase of armed propaganda towards claiming more enemy lives, attacks on personnel-be they police, military or civil service. There was a consensus also that though armed propaganda had served to register both our presence and our capacity to strike the enemy at will, it might become counter-productive by giving the impression that we want to avoid inflicting casualties on the enemy.

A2.3 All regions reflect the general feeling that our major point of weakness is the rural areas and the Bantustans. The only exception to this is the urban areas of the Ciskei. There was a clamour for increased attention-politically, militarily and in other respects to these areas.

A2.4 At least two regions were of the opinion that we should work immediately towards creating guerrilla zones inside the country. One region felt that the MHQ needs to move nearer home and that some leading (military) personnel now be infiltrated into the country .

A2.5 One region warned that our tactics might lead to a situation in which the masses become spectators rather than active participants. The theme of self emancipation must be stressed and means found to make it a reality. Another points out that we have come to rely too heavily on external logistical support and should now shift to greater reliance on internal resources, including the seizure of arms from the enemy. From the same region there is a complaint that we have adhered too strictly to legality in forward areas whereas we should sometimes break the law and use the territories without the consent or knowledge of our friends. It further suggests that to root MK inside the country may require the prior elimination of enemy agents so as to create a more favourable atmosphere for operations.

A2.6 All regions concur that MK cadres should, first and foremost, be trained to regard themselves as political militants rather than soldiers. This requires a high political understanding and this should be the criterion for deployment. Negative traits such as nepotism, regionalism and favouritism should be uprooted.

A2.7 Two regions call for the reintegration of MK veterans into the military in order both to make their combat experiences part of shared knowledge of MK and to increase the effectiveness of our army. Three regions draw attention to the spontaneous creation of armed groups inside the country, such as the South African Suicide Squad, and the need to give them political direction. Some regions also make mention of the evident need to arm the people and/or for MK to offer a military response to massacres like those at Sebokeng and Uitenhage by striking at enemy personnel and inflicting casualties even it`s away from the actual site of the massacre.

A2.8 One region calls for the convening of an extended meeting of the military HQ to include the commanders of the lower units. This region also recommends that key military commanders move closer to the theatre of war.

The general tenor of the reports is conveyed by the call from one region that we foment a state of civil war in which the enemy will begin to feel the pinch.

A3. International Work and Solidarity

A3.1 The reports on International Work and Solidarity began by examining the international situation, noting the growing strength of the forces of social progress, freedom and peace; the increasing isolation of the diehard imperialist forces and their desperate attempts to save their system by fomenting international tension, wars of aggression and fuelling the nuclear arms race.

The ANC (and its allies) are an integral part of the world anti-imperialist front engaged in the struggle to safeguard national sovereignty, preserve and extend peace and ensure social progress. This determines in large measure the allies and supporters whom the ANC attracts and seeks.

A3.2 Notwithstanding this natural affinity with certain international forces, the ANC must strengthen and extend the base of its support throughout the world and make greater inroads into those countries and circles from which the enemy still draws sustenance, win the waverers and neutralise the racists` actual or potential allies. The movement must launch a concerted effort to counter the support the racists enjoy in these quarters and draw into its fold of supporters all progressive, anti-racist and peace forces. Where no solidarity movement exists, we should strive to build one; where such already exist, they must be strengthened and made more effective. The disinvestment campaign in the imperialist countries should be stepped up.

A3.4 In Western Europe and the US, the Nuclear Disarmament Movement could become an important source of support since Pretoria became a nuclear power due to the active collaboration of the FRG, France, Britain and the USA.

A3.5 Though our relations with the OAU, the Front Line States, the Arab League, Non-Aligned Movement and AAPSO are good, we need to pay greater attention to all these, especially the Front Line States. In this region much also depends on how we conduct ourselves in these countries; our relations with political parties and mass organisations and the government of the host country.

A3.6 The Arab States are of strategic significance in the light of the oil embargo and the collaboration between Tel Aviv and Pretoria.

Latin America has always been very much left out of the picture though we now have representation in Cuba. We are still weak in West Africa, the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and Asia.

A3.7 Our relations with our allies in the Socialist countries remain a great source of strength but can still be placed on a firmer footing. We should investigate the improvement of our representation in these countries. Our propaganda output has neglected these areas and there is an urgent need to consolidate our support amongst the people through more propaganda, general information and visits.

A3.8 All these improvements are dependent on the strengthening of the International Department and placing it on an efficient basis. To achieve this we need to establish:

  1. A planned programme of international work based on international policy guidelines arrived at collectively in a Foreign Affairs planning committee.
  2. Annual meetings at HQ, and, at regular intervals, regional conferences of our representatives.
  3. Separate desks for each continent/region at HQ.
  4. A more professional style of work.
  5. Regular reviews of progress, plus annual reports assessing achievements and shortcomings.

A3.9 Two regions recommended greater coordination between International Department and DIP so that our work is reflected in our publications and other propaganda. The SG`s Office should be given the responsibility to keep representatives and missions appraised of Movement policy and developments on the home front.

A3.10 Heads of Mission/Representatives should have a clearly defined tour of duty-a minimum of three years and a maximum of four years in a region (subject to review and renewal)-but with an overlap period to ensure continuity and proper transfer of the instruments of office.

Comrades who man missions should receive some basic training in diplomatic work and protocol and receive thorough briefings on their duties and tasks. All missions should have a secretary on a permanent

B1. Constitutional Guidelines and Organisational Structures

B1.1 The opinions expressed on these topics reflect the absence of clear guidelines over the years which have led to differing perceptions of how the movement should function. In the case of one region, it submitted a draft constitutional document, which is a legalistic rendition of our existing structures plus the region`s suggestion to improve them. The other three regions made a number of recommendations which could serve to improve a draft constitution or be incorporated in such a document.

B1.2 There was a general agreement among regions that all ANC`s organs and structures needed revitalisation and streamlining. There is an evident feeling that we are not performing at our full capacity and that this could be improved by imposing greater control and ensuring accountability. To effect this it was proposed by two regions that a Control Commission be established to oversee the functioning of all our structures and organs and follow up on the implementation of decisions.

B1.3 There was consensus on the necessity of regular conferences and all regions suggested a conference every five years with the NEC reserving the right to convene extraordinary conferences when the need arises. One region recommends that RPCs be given rights to call for a conference. Such a demand will have to be acceded to if it has the support of two thirds of the RPCs. Concern was also expressed about the deployment of NEC members. One region called for the NEC collective to spend most of their time at HQ; another recommends that all members of the NEC be assigned a specific responsibility; a third suggests that NEC members be based in the Front Line States. The membership` s right to elect and recall members of the NEC is recommended in one region. All members of the ANC, irrespective of race, sex or creed, should be eligible to enter the NEC on the basis of competence. Some reservations were expressed about the three top offices being reserved for Africans by a section of one region.

B1.4 All the regions agreed that membership be open and unrestricted to all South Africans who accept ANC policy and are committed to the national liberation struggle.

All senior officials and heads of departments should have deputies. There should be a uniform designation of such positions e.g. Secretary for …/or Director of …; Deputy/Assistant Secretary for …

B1.5 Senior officials, heads of departments and military commanders should be exemplary in their bearing and conduct at all times. There should be a code of conduct for all ANC members and a region recommends one specifically for leadership. Avoid multiple responsibilities.

There were a number of specific recommendations about particular structures such as the SG`s Office TG`s Office and National Commissariat. One region recommends the separation of Administrative Secretaryship from the ECC; that the ECC be given NEC status and that co-ordination between the SG`s Office, TG`s Office and ECC be resolved at the National Consultative Conference.

B1.6 Finance, welfare and logistics at both national and regional levels should be responsible to the TGO; that an Auditor-General, not attached to the TGO, be appointed and that personnel of the various departments in this office receive proper training to avoid wastage and inefficient use of our assets and property.

B1.7 The PMC and its sub-units (PHQ and MHQ) are also subject to a number of recommendations. None of the regions seems to agree with the others about what these changes should be. While one region suggests the collapsing of these two sub-units into one body, another suggests their separation.

B1.8 The MHQ should assume responsibility for all of Angola-including the mission-medical and health care in the region and in all other regions where there is a high concentration of military personnel, recommends Angola. Within military all tendencies towards nepotism, favouritism and regionalism should be combated and clear criteria laid down for promotion, granting of authority and responsibilities. Where it is necessary the Movement should not hesitate to purge those who have lost their commitment to the revolution. A principle of one man, one command should be enforced and the opinions of junior officers should be heard by the upper echelons.

B1.9 Education is a right which all our members should have access to. As such, means must be devised to avail all comrades of formal education. Illiteracy and inumeracy within our ranks should be eradicated.

Security and its preservation is the task of all committed revolutionaries, though one department is charged with special responsibility in this regard. In order to enhance the work of this department it should be improved and strengthened through better selection of its personnel, the inculcation of a high political consciousness and commitment to the struggle. Coordination could greatly improve its efficiency. The abuse of its powers and the tendency to assume that its personnel are above criticism should be ended. Criticism and self-criticism should become the norm in NAT and it should strive to be a good example of ANC morality and values. Negative traits such as nepotism and regionalism should have no place within it and a high standard of professionalism should be the norm. This was the general view in all regions, though some call for more drastic measures to purge this department of its worst offenders and a fresh start be made.

B1.10 One region calls for the separation of the Office of the National Commissar from the DMD; another calls for the abolition of this Office. There was also the recommendation that a commission of Economics and Planning be set up to supervise projects and prepare for the future liberated South Africa.

Though the role of DIP in spreading the ANC message is recognised, all regions call for the streamlining and improvement of the Department`s work. One region recommends improvements in its response time and reaction to events at home.

B2. Political Life within the Movement

B2.1 Two regions addressed themselves to the question of political life within the Movement. Both concur that as the ANC is a political movement, the primary motivation of its members must be their political commitment, which has to be sustained by regular political discussions, analysis and debates. These are the life blood of the Movement. This will assist in, firstly, clarifying the political line of the Movement to all its membership; deepen their grasp of Movement policy and objectives; and thus enhance their commitment to these.

B2.2 Political education is a continuous process which should help in producing the type of cadre we need. Its object must he to inculcate patriotism, hatred of the enemy and oppressive institutions. The sort of cadre who should emerge will be a political leader, who is able to form independent judgments based on the ANC`s general line and political prh1ciples and is able to reproduce himself (politically) by imparting his knowledge to others.

B2.3 To achieve this we must draw up a comprehensive programme of political education which will be under the supervision of a special department, with units in every region. It has to be admitted that the National Commissariat has been ineffective in this respect. One region calls for the reassignment of the incumbent in this office. Political work must include regular assessment of our achievements and state shortcomings, define areas of priority, covering both military and political aspects. It must be oriented to preparing a comrade to work at home and its effectiveness judged on revolutionary practice. The role of commissars within MK must be more clearly defined and the calibre of our army political instructors raised to that of the 1977-79 period in Angola.

B2.4 The ANC should not shy away from the ideological struggle and should seriously take up the polemic against anti-ANC forces inside the broad anti-regime front. There is at present a need to wage a counter-offensive against various trends that counterpoise the national and class struggle. DIP should compile analytical papers on these trends and combat them ideologically. Within our own ranks we must discuss such groups and undertake a critique of their ideas and strategies basing ourselves on our analysis and characterisation of South Africa as a colonial situation.

B2.5 Within the Movement we require a comprehensive theoretical document on the Women`s Question using our President`s address to the Luanda Women`s Conference as a starting point. The questions relating to this matter should also be taken up at unit level and in the branches.

B2.6 Within MK we should embark on a more deliberate policy to upgrade the members of the commissariat. A number of negative trends should be combated. These include militarism, phrase-mongering, destructive criticism, undermining the vanguard role of our movement, distortion of the concept of a people`s army, failure to adhere to a consistent anti-imperialist line in practice.

B2.7 It also points out that formal academic education is equally important in the moulding of a good cadre. Such education should teach respect for and knowledge of the cultures of all peoples, first and foremost our own people and our indigenous languages.

Another region stressed the importance of the branch as the basic unit of political life. All members must be attached to one and should regard regular attendance of meetings as their first duty.

B3. Regional Structures

B3.1 Two of the regions submitted recommendations concerning regional structures. But these took very different forms. Zambia submitted a draft proposal on how to structure RPCs and guidelines for their functioning. This document is in seventeen (17) parts which include:

  1. Chief Representative
  2. Regional Treasury
  3. Regional Finance Treasurer
  4. Logistics
  5. Transport vi) Welfare
  6. Maintenance
  7. Housing
  8. Treasury Secretariat x) RPC
  9. Composition of RPC
  10. Tasks of Chairperson
  11. Political Organiser
  12. Tasks of Secretary
  13. RPCs in Forward Areas
  14. Branches of RPC

B3.2 The commissions sought to explore means of achieving a greater degree of co-ordination within regions, better control and performance of administrative responsibilities and distribution of workload.

Both regions agree that accountability to higher organs and to the membership are the best means of ensuring these. Though a single chain of command emanating from the NEC, through the Chief Representative, is recommended, there is also a call for collective regional leadership and collective responsibility. The region suggests that part of the problem (in the Zambia region) arises from conflicting instructions from different leading bodies. A single chain of command would eliminate this.

B3.3 Zambia region calls attention to the inefficiency of regional treasury structures which it blames on lack of proper supervision which has resulted in serious anomalies. Part of the solution, it suggests, is a healthier movement political life, which should lead to greater motivation and better performance and discipline.

B3.4 Tanzania recommends that all new arrivals in the region be exposed to a uniform cadre developing plains about the shortcomings of the regional health committee and the National Health Secretariat. It calls for the reassignment of the personnel of the latter and drastic revamping of the former. A number of specific suggestions are made with regard to this:

  • Rehabilitation and hospitalisation of psychiatric cases;
  • Screening the entire community for TB and mass vaccination;
  • Treatment of serious cases in friendly countries. B3. 5 A number of Tanzania` s recommendations refer to the school of Mazimbu and the new complex at Dakawa. These include:
  • Revival of the RPC at Dakawa;
  • Inclusion of students of 18 and over in RPC branches;
  • Elective principle to be observed in all RPC structures, including the right of recall.

Two contradictory recommendations regarding the school were made. The first is that all secondary school students be housed in dormitories at the school. The second says that it is not ANC policy to break up families and therefore as far as possible, children should reside with their parents.

B3.6 Tanzania made a list of suggestions on the cultural sphere that we include music, fine arts, speech and drama on the school curriculum. It further suggests that all RPCs appoint or create specific structures to deal with culture.

To improve our security the region suggests that civil defence units (militia?) be organised.

B4. Education and Training

B4.1 Three regions, Angola, Maputo and Tanzania, addressed themselves to this issue. The recommendations from Angola have a strong emphasis on the military, while those from Tanzania deal very specifically with Somafco and our experience with it. Maputo deals with more general principles.

The most important point made is that the ANC has registered a major achievement in building and staffing Somafco as a concrete alternative to Bantu Education. Notwithstanding this, our school still has a number of shortcomings. Its primary objective should be to prepare cadres to serve in the ranks of the National Liberation Movement for the seizure of power and in the post liberation period. In certain respects we have not achieved this.

B4.2 On general Education Policy, it is pointed out that we should give pride of place to developing a genuine revolutionary education in both primary and secondary school; break down the division between mental and physical labour while imparting the humane values of our Movement to students.

B4.3 Somafco, the Tanzanian region claims, is being run along conventional lines and has, as a consequence, failed to provide our personnel needs. If we .am to create a new South African at Somafco, we should guard against too academic a bias at the expense of inculcating values. Thus far the political proscience subjects.

B4.5 Our attitude towards education too should be more enlightened and recognise that it is a continuous process. Adult education programmes should thus be a permanent feature of Movement life.

Within Somafco we should allow for the `full, creative and democratic participation of students, teachers, and the community in educational activities` .

B4.6 To rectify the weaknesses, the Education Department should be strengthened by appointing a Deputy Secretary and an Administrative Secretary. With specific reference to the school a number of recommendations are made:

  1. Seek the advice of leading educationalists on childhood education;
  2. Set up a committee to monitor the child care policy for the ANC;
  3. Recruit more teachers to alleviate staff shortages;
  4. Encourage our cadres to enrol in courses to become primary school teachers;
  5. Introduce examinations in primary school;
  6. Revise curriculum to create a fully-fledged `A`-level programme in secondary school;
  7. Place the labour programme on an equal footing with others;
  8. Have our examinations underwritten;
  9. Introduce career guidance at the school;
  10. Allow students of 18 and over to join RPC branches;
  11. Recruit more South African teachers and phase out international volunteers;
  12. Form student-parent-teacher associations to bring the school closer to the community;
  13. Teach at least one indigenous language at the school;
  14. Employ an Educational Psychologist;
  15. All new arrivals should pass through a student orientation centre;
  16. Scholarship committee should be based at Somafco;
  17. Appoint an Education Officer to monitor all students` progress;
  18. After a period of upgrading, unsuccessful university students should be reconsidered for scholarships;
  19. Somafco has a special role as an ANC development centre and should be seen as exemplary.

B4.7 With regard to other aspects of our Education policy, one region recommends that we identify areas in which blacks are under-represented or excluded and begin training our cadres in these areas. To avoid deskilling and frustration, we must endeavour to deploy our completers in their respective fields in the Front Line States. The DMD, which needs attention, can take charge of this.

B4.8 On the educational struggles being waged at home, the region recommends that these be aimed at destroying the present educational system. `White` education is no real alternative to Bantu Education. South Africa`s schools need to be indigenised-reflecting the culture of the nation as a whole..

C. Cadre Policy

C1.1 All regions addressed themselves to this issue . but only Lusaka had a commission solely devoted to it. The starting point of the commission`s work was the need for a comprehensive cadre policy in order to systematically build the sort of militant, with sterling revolutionary qualities that our movement requires. Besides political and ideological training, to produce such a cadre requires that the style of work of our entire Movement be reoriented.

C1.2 The leadership cannot plan a meaningful cadre policy until it has a clear picture of what our personnel resources are, how they are presently distributed and how many are in the pipeline. To assist in this task the DMD should draw up a comprehensive index of our personnel, identifying the present and anticipated personnel needs of our Movement. Where necessary assistance should be sought to train personnel in fields in which we are deficient and guidance given to students to steer them in these directions. Cl.3 There was a strong recommendation that the ANC establish its own political school, along the lines of party schools in the Socialist countries. The instructors in these schools will have to be thoroughly grounded in ANC policy. Its objectives would be to produce a revolutionary militant imbued with hatred for the enemy and his institutions and a conscious revolutionary discipline.

Cl.4 Academic education is a right which every member of our Movement should have access to. Its acquisition will not only improve the skills of a comrade, but will also improve performance of tasks and instill self-confidence. This should include vocational, technical and university education. Co-ordination could be useful in drawing up a broad policy on this question.

C1.5 Within the structures of the Movement we must introduce a method that rewards good performance through promotions, and corrects sluggards and those who under-achieve by reassignment and, where necessary, removal from a post.

Cl .6 Recruitment should aim at our principal social base, the African working class, so that their leading role is reflected in all structures. At the same time we must strive to achieve a balance between the sexes: greater participation from national minorities, especially in MK.

The gulf that separates our students from MK cadres is unhealthy and must be bridged. This could be done by giving MK cadres more access to academic education and giving students access to MK.

C 1.7 In the military, the health, welfare, educational and cultural conditions of our cadres must be given priority. Properly trained medical officers must be deployed in our camps with regular medical check ups on all comrades as part of the routine. Screening, vaccination and other primary health care measures must be introduced with the emphasis on prevention rather than cure. Psychiatric care and provision for the psychic health of comrades should be part of the medical services provided in the camps.

Cl.8 There are a number of highly trained MK veterans who have been demobilised from the military. Is it not time these were reintegrated to make their contribution?

Cl.9 The problems of ANC`s educational policy, Somafco, etc, should be thrown open to the entire ANC membership to discuss and understand. Two recommendations for immediate implementation are made, that at primary school at least one indigenous language is taught. The granting of ANC scholarships to non-ANC people has caused us problems and embarrassment; it should be ended.

CI .10 The commission emphasised that our struggle must be seen in its proper context, that of the African revolution against colonialism and as an integral part of the world anti-imperialist front.


Conclusion and General Assessment

As the reports and papers from the various regions, units and individuals indicate, the NEC call to the membership to engage in active preparation for the National Consultative Conference was received with overwhelming enthusiasm by the general membership. All regions did their utmost to ensure that this historic occasion measures up to the demands of the situation within and without our country, to the expectations of our people and our allies and supporters.

However, the preparatory period was not without its problems, both objective and subjective.

1.1 After the constitution of the NPC, the first problem we confronted was that all those seconded to it are full time Movement functionaries with responsibilities that otherwise occupy their time. This meant that during the initial stages many tasks were not timeously attended to. All these factors played havoc with the NPC`s original schedules. Consequently we had to alter the projected dates of the NCC twice.

1.2 The single most important factor affecting the NPC was that the facilities at our disposal were not commensurate with our tasks. Transport and other technical facilities were among our major problems in the early stages of the preparatory process. Also, as a result of the difficulties we encountered in obtaining reliable couriers to distribute the documents for pre-Conference discussion to our far-flung member ship, most of them are only available at Conference. 2.1 The pre-Conference discussions, as reflected in the individual, unit and regional contributions received by the NPC, were extremely uneven. There were inevitably wide discrepancies in the quantity of contributions among regions. Some of this was as a result of the novelty of this exercise; some of it was due to maladministration and so on.

2.2 The principal problem arose from the long interval between the Morogoro Conference and this present one. Consequently a sizeable body of the general membership felt that all issues that concerned them – from the minutest personal and regional problems to the macrocosmic national issues – were appropriate for the NCC agenda. There was also an evident feeling in some areas that there was no mutual communication between the general membership and the leadership. This feeling found extreme expression in a tendency to regard the NCC purely as a forum through which the general membership would be able to elect a new leadership which would be (it was hoped) more responsive to its views. As the pre-Conference discussions proceeded, such tendencies receded and a more mature attitude took root amongst the entire membership. The very fact of open, frank discussions no doubt contributed to the emergence and strengthening of this more mature attitude.

2.3 Though the various regions, units and individuals who participated in the pre-Conference discussions approached it with differing ideas, notions and conceptions-some of which appeared irreconcilable at the earlier stages-as the discussions proceeded a consensus on a number of issues emerged, as reflected in the composite report on the regional conferences.

There were of course issues on which there could not be unanimity. Nevertheless we can say with a fair degree of confidence that there are no issues on which there is diametrical opposition which could pose the problem of schism. This should not suggest that there are not a number of strongly held views on a whole range of specific issues. These are reflected in contributions from units, regions and some conferences. However, it would be important to point out that these are shades within a broad consensus on the crucial issues. As a whole the pre-Conference discussions initiated the most democratic and candid dialogue within our Movement for a long time. They brought to light a number of our greatest strengths, but also pinpointed some of our gravest weaknesses.

2.4 The atmosphere in which the call to conference was made-immediately after Nkomati-in large measure contributed to linkages sometimes drawn between these two sets of events, if only because they were sequential. Yet the contributions-regional, unit and individual-all evinced a seriousness of intent and the conviction that whatever the problems, they could be solved only within the parameters of the Movement.

3.1 Because ANC membership is scattered in all parts of the world, there are of course great variations amongst our communities; some exclusively of students; others are predominantly self-supporting individuals in full-time employment. This reflected itself in both the level and quality of participation. One region did not allow the general membership access to the guidelines, though it was the express intention of the NPC that all members have the opportunity to read and study the guidelines. This inevitably affected the membership`s capacity to participate in pre-Conference discussion.

Another region reflected some social distance between the veteran members and the younger comrades. this region also adopted a zonal approach in selecting its regional delegation to the NPC, and the NPC decided that the region reconvenes the last plenary of the Regional Conference for the purpose of elections.

Some areas did not have time to hold proper elections. The NPC instructed these regions to ballot the membership by mail. At least two regions sought to increase their delegations to the NCC.

All of these problems have been ironed out, and we hope satisfactorily resolved.

4. The general membership has invested a lot of its hopes in the NCC. On the key issues of consolidating our unity and raising our struggle to the level of people`s war, there is an overwhelming consensus. Every region expressed the hope that the NCC will contribute towards providing the answer to all the pertinent questions facing the Movement with the view to strengthening it for the fundamental task of seizure of power

The NPC is of the unanimous view that the Movement in its entirety is ready for this, the historic 1985 National Consultative Conference.