Please take note that this article was written prior to the answer that we have received yesterday afternoon from President De Klerk in response to the ANC's memorandum
It is said that South Africa's progress has been based on "economic windfalls and political disasters". The political disasters continue. The economic windfalls have been supplanted by a wholly mismanaged economy.
Unemployment is running as high as 40 per cent! Millions of Rands of taxpayers' money, supposedly earmarked for black advancement, are embezzled by government officials with impunity. The social fabric of our country is being torn to shreds by the violence sweeping through the black townships. The NP Government, it's surrogates, the state security forces and the police have been, and continue to be, directly and indirectly involved in this violence.
Such is the havoc created by the NP Government. Unless we immediately find a way out, it will cast a long shadow over future generations.
When the Government of F.W. de Klerk yielded to pressure for a negotiated solution which would bring out a united, democratic, non-racial and non sexist South Africa, there were expectations that this process would soon realise a stable basis for addressing the numerous problems of our country.
Two and a half years down this road we are at an impasse. The essence of the problem is that the ruling minority Government continues to look for ways and means by which it can guarantee itself continued exercise of power regardless of the support by which it can muster in democratic elections.
The notion of "power sharing"which the NP of F.W. de Klerk is putting forward is that the political majority, no matter how large, should be subjected to veto by the political minority. periodic and regular multiparty elections, which the party of F.W. de Klerk is rejecting under the guise of seeking a so-called 'power sharing' arrangement.
That is why they insisted at CODESA II that the Constituent Assembly should take decisions by an extraordinary high majority of 75%. That is why they still adamantly insist that the new constitution should not be a constitution enacted by an elected Constituent Assembly. That is why they insist on the decisions of the Constituent Assembly being subject to veto by a second house. And that is why they wanted regional powers, duties and functions to be pre-determined at CODESA so that the sovereign power of the Constituent Assembly shall have been eroded.
And yet on all previous occasions when whites amongst themselves adopted South African Constitutions by Referendum, the National Party has always maintained that a simple majority of 50 per cent plus one suffices.
Our position is that the Constituent Assembly should take decisions by a two thirds majority, as happened in Namibia. This would ensure that the new constitution has a broad enough base of support to lay the foundations of a stable democratic society in the future.
We cannot accept an undemocratic constitution in order to address the fears of a minority party about its own future at the cost of democracy itself. As long as the Government of F.W. de Klerk insists on a minority veto, in whatever form, the negotiations deadlock will remain.
The longer this outcome is delayed the more difficult it will be to reach an agreement and the more difficult it will be to govern in the future.
It is this stubbornness of the NP government in clinging to a minority veto that makes it inevitable that the voteless majority have to pursue genuine negotiations, side by side with exerting maximum internal and external pressure, particularly through a mass movement for democracy, peace and justice.
For as long as our people are denied the democratic vote, they shall have to vote with their feet.
It serves no purpose that the NP government whip itself into a frenzy trying to blame violence on the mass campaign for democracy conducted by the ANC and its allies. We have always sought solutions that will reduce conflict and defuse tension.
It was only through all-round internal and external pressure that the NP government was forced to acknowledge the need for a negotiated solution. If negotiations are to have any prospect of success, such pressure is now more than ever necessary.
There is indeed an explosive situation prevailing in our country. The reason for this lies in government intransigence and in it's involvement by omission and commission in the violence. up against their enslavement.
Discipline has always been the hallmark of our campaigns. Commentators are unanimous. The peoples's Assemblies held on the 2nd February, 1992 were peaceful and disciplined. So too were the more than 70 rallies held throughout the country on June the 16th. This is the tradition in which we have mobilised our people to exercise an inherent right no authoritarian rule can take away from us.
All the efforts of the ANC and all the energies of our people are being mobilised today to force the Government away from the perilous path it is following. Now, more than ever, all South Africans, black and white together, need to join hands for democracy, peace and justice. We can ensure that elections for a democratic Constituent Assembly take place before the end of this year. Indeed, we have to make sure that it happens. Time has run out.
Issued by: African National Congress
Department of Information and Publicity.