"Minority white rule and non-whites in the union"

This is a most timely and vital conference called to consider the means and ways of meeting the acute situation of the growing number of unemployed workers, especially non-whites, in the Republic. This awful plight of workers, especially the non-white workers, derives from oppressive minority rule.

This is tragic in a country with substantial wealth potential. The overall picture of the Republic of South Africa is one of colossal material development and prosperity. Nature, happily, has bountifully endowed her with rich and varied material resources. These she has exploited most successfully by harnessing the abundant human resources of her muti-racial society. All her people have contributed, at great sacrifices sometimes, to this phenomenal progress.

To add to her fortune her people, though racially different, are descended from a sturdy virile stock. But unfortunately her non-white people have been most niggardly rewarded and steadily undermined physically and spiritually by frustration and want. White minority rule has meant to us poverty wages, most depressed incomes in rural areas, endemic unemployment, now most acute and severe, most stringent pass laws that needlessly land in gaols thousands yearly, influx control regulations that forcefully confine able-bodied men to depressed overcrowded rural areas, the so-called Rehabilitation Schemes that deprive us of our stock and crowd us in so-called rural villages which will soon be slum areas. One cannot exhaust nor adequately portray the ugliness of apartheid ills.

Much could and should be said by the Conference on destructive apartheid policies and practices. To further mention a few: how dare you be silent about such evils as job reservation, denying non-whites opportunities to qualify in and be employed in skilled occupations in industry and commerce, giving non-whites dummy institutions that deny them direct link with statutory bodies and agencies, including Parliament, at local and national levels and increased taxation under which we groan?

The entrance to Liberty House demands that we actively support organisations that work for non-white upliftment and emancipation, especially in the political sphere. Economic power and political power go hand in hand. That is why minority white rule denies us both. We are oppressed mainly through political action. Relief will only come when we come to exercise an effective political influence in the body politic of the nation. Political action is the master key to Liberty House!

All this calls for a fearless active opposition to separative and repressive policies and laws, for, in some way, each such policy or law affects our welfare and that of our fatherland.

It is in this light that fake institutions - Bantu Authorities, Indian Advisory Boards, Coloured Advisory Councils, Bantu School Boards, bodies or procedures provided under the "Native Labour (Settlement of Disputes) Act," should be viewed. They are intended to slow down, if not completely halt the people`s liberation efforts. It is sad that some in the ranks of the oppressed become victims to these neutralising, if not indoctrinating, efforts by the government. We should see these dummy bodies for what they are - means of oppression that add heavily to our financial burden through heavy additional taxation they impose on us directly and indirectly for the maintenance of these institutions and the public services connected with them. Do not forget that it is the government policy that the already impoverished non-whites, especially the Africans, should carry the brunt of the cost of the public services carried out for their benefit.

The irony of it all is that often he [the African] is forced to finance apartheid projects that he regards as harmful to his true welfare. Such is the case with Bantu Education, the Promotion of Bantu Self-Government and other carricatures of democracy. The unambiguous government policy is crystallised in the apartheid motto, "Do for yourselves Africans," and this by the poorest section of the community. What a violation of the canons of civilised governments!

Whatever the government might say, the separative, suppressive policies of white rule, especially during the thirteen years of Nationalist Party rule, have greatly undermined world confidence in South Africa. This has earned her world disdain and censure, a creeping economic instability, and strained race relations, especially as between black and white.

Is it surprising that we are witnessing acute unemployment warranting the convening of this Conference to discuss the deplorable situation? No country can thrive and grow to greatness under conditions that breed discontent and enmity and negative amity and peace. Apartheid does just this. It is a nursery of the maladies that paralyse and ruin a country. Along the apartheid road the Republic of South Africa may soon find herself on the brink of disaster. The disaster can still be averted. Our hand of friendship is still outstretched. That is why we are going all out to urge for a coming together at a National Convention to determine the future of our multi-racial South Africa whose noble destiny is to be a non-racial democracy.

Our suffering under white rule has given birth to a freedom struggle that is fast becoming an effective liberation movement in which devoted freedom fighters can play a decisive role. Workers and peasants have already recorded some significant contributions to our freedom efforts. I applaud them. But much remains to be done and so much is still expected of them. Workers must effectively demand their one-pound-a-day or else leaders in industry and commerce will go no further than piously acknowledging that you are paid starvation wages and that 80% of the African people live below the bread-line. Both workers and peasants must give a lie to false government propaganda which suggests that but for us, so-called agitators, you the people, are satisfied with your lot under the so-called beneficent white rule. What a mockery of you! What an insult on you!

Silence and acquiescence to the status quo would lend truth to malicious propaganda and justify action by the authorities towards your silent groanings. You can only negative it by participating effectively in the liberation struggle. This is a duty we shirk to our shame and undoing as a people. The task before us is great and hazardous.

Now that it has a fresh mandate to rule us with an iron hand the Nationalist Party government will stop at nothing to ensure our enslavement for the benefit of the whites. What can it not do when intimidation by threats of force, arrests, banishments, lying propaganda are the order of the day and when even white women - Women`s Pistol Clubs - are being armed to ensure unthreatened internal security. For our part we threaten no one. We only demand our natural heritage, freedom.

Our response to this challenge must be to match their cruel and intimidatory efforts with greater determination and devotion along lines of effective non-violence.

May the spirit of this Conference transform timidity and indecision into boldness and determination and silence into speech and action.