SATURDAY - 1st FEB. 1947, 8 P.M.
Dr. A.B. Xuma (in the chair) Messrs. J.B. Marks, C.S. Ramohanoe, R.G. Baloyi, J.E. Malepe, L.K. Ntlabati, A.M. Lembede, S.P. Sesedi, A.P. Mda, Mrs. A.M. Jacobs, Cllrs. A.W.G. Champion, R.V. Selope Thema, Z.K. Matthews, Dr. R.T. Bokwe, Messrs. J.N. Jacobs, H. Selby Msimang, James A. Calata (Secy. Gen.) D. Tloome (Secy. B.) and J.S. Mpinda (Sgt.-at-arms).
Apologies for their absence were received from Mrs. M. Xuma and Mr. M.M. Kotane.
IT WAS DECIDED:
"That minutes of the last Executive be deferred until the arrival of the Secretary-General"
2. CONFERENCE RESOLUTIONS:
The chairman reported that the Working Committee had considered the resolutions [of December 1946] and made certain recommendations which were in the hands of members.
On a motion by Mr. Ntlabati, seconded by Mr. Ramohanoe,
IT WAS DECIDED:
"That letters of congratulations be addressed to the delegations of the countries referred to in resolution No. I, which championed the cause of democratic rights at UNO, for the oppressed Non-European majority in South Africa"
After a motion by Mr. Msimang, seconded by Mr. Baloyi, calling for the rejection of the Working Committee's recommendation, pledging full active support to the struggle of the Indians, had been debated,
IT WAS DECIDED:
"That resolutions 2 and 3, hailing the decisions of the United Nations General Assembly, on the treatment of the Indian minority in S. A.; and paying tribute to the Passive Resistance campaign by the gallant men and women of the community, be deferred until a decision had been arrived [at] on the question of co-operation with the other non-European national organizations."
RESOLUTIONS 4 AND 5 IT WAS DECIDED:
"That the working committee's recommendation that a considered statement on Recognition of African Trade Unions be issued, be adopted, giving expression to the inclusion of the African mine workers and agricultural workers"
Co-operation with other non-European national groups. At this stage a letter from the Joint Passive Resistance Council was read. A lengthy debate ensued on this issue, ranging from the question of unhappy relations between the Indians and the Africans in certain areas, resulting from the attitude of the Indians towards the Africans economically, to that of the need to fight with all non-Europeans on a common ground for full citizenship.
"That this meeting of the national executive hereby resolves that the working committee, with powers to co-opt, be delegated to arrange the venue and date, within the month of February, for a meeting of repÂresentatives of the three national groups for exploration of the basis for co-operation''
THE MEETING ADJOURNED AT 11:30 P.M.
SUNDAY 2ND FEBRUARY - 9:45 A.M.
4. UNOPPOSED MOTIONS
Motions of condolence were moved to the following:
A. To the family of the late Mr. S.P. Akena by the Secretary-General. B. To the family of the late Mrs. Lutuli, by Mr. R.G. Baloyi C. To the family of the late Mr. Kgosana, by Cllr. R.V. Selope Thema. The Secretary-General apologized for the absence of the minutes of the previous meeting, as he had treated this meeting as a special executive.
THE APOLOGY WAS ACCEPTED.
At this stage it was agreed, on a motion by Mr. Ntlabati, seconded by Mr. Malepe that the President-General give his report.
5. REPORT BY PRESIDENT GENERAL:
Delivering his report the President-General thanked members of the executive for their good work during his absence, as well as members of the N.R.C. for the stand they had taken. He gave a brief outline of the proceedings at UNO re fleeting the debates on the complaint of the S.A. Indians and the proposed annexation of S.W. Africa by the Union Government.
He reported that in the course of his efforts in America, he submitted a memorandum on behalf of the A.N.C. to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, outlining the following African disabilities in South Africa:
A. Freedom of movement.
B. The status of the African Chiefs.
C. Political rights.
D. Economic Disabilities.
E. Social Services: health and housing.
After a lengthy discussion and comments on the report of the President General, Cllr. Thema moved a vote of thanks to the report of the President-General on behalf of the executive.
Resolution 8: Boycott of the Elections. The following resolution was moved by Mr. Msimang:
"This national executive committee interprets the resolution directing a boycott of all elections under the 1936 Act, as an ideal dependent for its success entirely on a powerful and nation wide campaign, or as a weapon to be resorted to after all constitutional means have been exhausted in the struggle for the attainment of full political rights in accord with the first part of resolution No. 7 and, therefore, resolves to demand for full political rights i.e. Direct representation in all councils of State-Parliamentary, Provincial and Municipal representation. It is convinced that the kind of representation provided by the 1936 Act is a fraud and a deception."
Mr. Marks felt that the mover of the motion was now trying to reverse the decision of conference, an attempt which was a distortion of the spirit of the resolution.
Dr. Bokwe said that there was great confusion in the country about the boycott. There was no time stipulated for the beginning of the boycott and the people did not know what methods should be followed.
Cllr. Champion said Congress had never attempted to put forward candidates for the elections of the N.R.C. The stand taken by the members of the N.R.C. was the initiative of the Councillors themselves. It appeared the executive wanted to dictate to the Councillors. In his opinion it would be advisable that Congress consult with the chairman of the N.R.C. caucus and obtain the full facts. He therefore suggested fall back to its old policy of watching the N.R.C. at a distance.
This view was supported by Mr. Baloyi.
The Secretary-General felt that the resolution by Mr. Msimang was a solution to the problem. There was a strong opinion that some members be returned in order to avoid people with lack of experience coming into the council.
Prof. Matthews said he agreed with Cllr. Champion that this meeting was embarrassing members of the N.R.C. The tactics they had used in the council was to continue the adjournment in order to make the council unworkable. The councillors were prepared to carry on the war of nerves, which the GovÂernment detested. He, however, felt that there was no option but to carry out the resolution, but was not sure whether the result of the campaign would enhance or lower the prestige of Congress.
Mr. Lembede said the masses were ready to act, but the leaders were not prepared to lead. It was a misrepresentation to say people were not ready. He was almost sure if an appeal was made, fifty per cent of the people would follow the lead.
Mr. Ntlabati stated it was remarkable that members should fear to implement the resolution before the attempt was even made. To his mind it was futile to say we should wait until the people were ready.
After a lengthy discussion, IT WAS RESOLVED, on a motion by Mr. Ramohanoe, seconded by Mr. Malepe,
"That this Executive resolves to stand by the resolution adopted by conÂference .'' Mr. Msimang's motion was defeated.
RESOLUTION NO. 9
Mr. Lembede pointed out that it was not necessary to create a council, but that the executive was competent to take over the campaign. It was, however, essential to solicit the co-operation of the Trade Unions.
"That the Working Committee be delegated with powers to conduct the campaign."
Dr. Bokwe suggested, as a token of sympathy, that Congress vote a sum of money to aid the fighting fund of those members who were facing a case of sedition.
RESOLUTION NO. JO. FIGHTING FUND.
Mr. Malepe pointed out that an awkward situation had been created by the Transvaal Province, by having initiated a campaign for a freedom fund which was started already. He felt that such a step would cause much overlapping in carrying out resolution 10.
Mr. Ramohanoe, the Provincial President of the Transvaal, explained that the freedom fund started in the Transvaal was intended to provide funds for the Province. This was a scheme that had been...financial committee of the Province for raising funds.
THE MEETING ADJOURNED AT 2:30 P.M. 3:30 P.M. THE MEETING RESUMED
Mr. Jacobs suggested that it be a policy of Congress that all appeals sent out for donations to the fighting fund must be signed by the President-General.
The chairman explained that constitutionally the provinces had the right to raise funds, but it was considered more advisable that there should be consultation in order to co-ordinate the work and avoid friction and overlapping. He, therefore, suggested that the Working Committee be empowered to go into the matter for the purpose of making suitable arrangements.
After a lengthy discussion IT WAS DECIDED, on a suggestion by Mr. Ntlabati,
"That in order to avoid heavy taxation on the people, resolution No. 10 be adopted and 18 be suspended."
"That in order to carry out the spirit of resolution 10, Congress resolves to start a campaign to raise a fighting fund of i-10,000 for a period of ten months."
REDUCTION OF THE EXECUTIVE
At this stage Prof. Matthews raised the question of reducing the size of the executive in order to keep down the expenses of the organisation. He pointed out that the financial position of Congress could not meet the expenses of so large an executive.
Prof. Matthews accordingly moved, and Mr. Msimang seconded;
"That notice of a motion be given by the executive for the next conference, to amend the constitution to make it possible for the reduction of the executive of not more than seven members."
A counter motion was moved by Mr. Marks seconded by Mr. Baloyi:
"That the size of the executive be not reduced and the relevant clause in the constitution be not amended."
On being put to the vote the two motions were 8 votes for, and 8 against.
IT WAS DECIDED
"That both motions be submitted to the next annual conference."
RESOLUTIONS 11 and 15
FULL TIME ORGANIZERS
The chairman made a brief explanation on the need for appointing full time organizers to cover the provinces under a suitable scheme. This resolution was debated at length with various opinions expressed by members on how such a scheme could be put into operation.
After some discussion IT WAS DECIDED on a suggestion by Cllr. ChamÂpion, as a compromise,
"That resolution No. 11 be adopted and 15 to be suspended."
THE MEETING TERMINATED AT 7 P.M.