South African’s National Liberation Movement

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Policy Documents

The Reconstruction and Development Programme

A Policy Framework

1 March 1994


This document – The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) – is the end of one
process and the beginning of another. The document is the result of many months of
consultation within the ANC, its Alliance partners and other mass organisations in the
wider civil society. This consultation has resulted in the policy framework contained in
this document.

The process now underway is that of developing the detailed policy and legislative
programme necessary to implement the RDP. In preparing the document, and in taking it
forward, we are building on the tradition of the Freedom Charter. In 1955, we
actively involved people and their organisations in articulating their needs and
aspirations. Once again we have consulted widely.

However, in 1994 we are about to assume the responsibilities of government and must go
beyond the Charter to an actual programme of government. This RDP document is a vital step
in that process. It represents a framework that is coherent, viable and has widespread
support. The RDP was not drawn up by experts – although many, many experts have
participated in that process – but by the very people that will be part of its
implementation. It is a product of consultation, debate and reflection on what we need and
what is possible. For those who have participated in the process it has been invigorating
and reaffirmed the belief that the people of our country are indeed its greatest asset.

The RDP has gone through six drafts. This document incorporates the numerous comments
and proposals arising from our Conference on Reconstruction and Strategy in January
(1994). In the process there has been much public comment – both favourable and critical.
We welcome this, even though we may not always agree with the comment. However, in many
cases, both public and private comments have made very valuable contributions and caused
us to rethink because by doing so the greater interests of all will be served.

With this document we will now consult very widely to ensure that all considered views
are available to the policy making process. We are encouraging local communities to begin
developing their own priorities. Within this framework we are able to organise and develop
further the vast amount of research and information available to us in the developing of
detailed policy.

The ANC and its Alliance partners have principles and policies to which we are deeply
committed, but we will not close our ears to other viewpoints. Let me encourage all to
express those viewpoints. Democracy will have little content, and indeed, will be short
lived if we cannot address our socioeconomic problems within an expanding and growing
economy. The ANC is committed to carrying out these programmes with the support of its
allies and our people.

From 26-28 April (1994) each of us has a right to exercise a choice – without doubt one
of the most important choices any of us will ever make. That choice will determine our
socio-economic future and that of our children. Join us in the patriotic endeavour to
ensure that all our people share in that future.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela