Defeat those who subvert United Nations Decisions
Four days ago, in commemorating the twentieth anniversary of its singularly important decision calling on all Member States to break cultural, diplomatic, economic and military relations with South Africa, this august body honoured certain personalities for their outstanding role in pursuit of the world campaign in support of the struggle for the eradication of apartheid.
In paying the well-deserved tribute to certain governments, non-governmental organisations and individuals who have been in the forefront in the implementation of this decision and of the mobilisation of world public opinion in that direction, speakers eloquently recalled the reasons that led to what was an unprecedented development in the history of the United Nations.
The international community had come to the conclusion that the countless appeals repeatedly addressed to the South African racist regime since the inception of this world body had not only fallen on deaf ears but had also met with the persistent buttressing of the apartheid system. This action-oriented consensus involving the overwhelming majority of mankind was also predicated on the determination that apartheid is a crime against humanity and a threat to world peace and international security. It was an historic decision welcomed by the oppressed and struggling people of South Africa as a response to the appeal made by their national liberation movement, the African National Congress, in 1958, and was seen by them as the first step toward comprehensive and mandatory sanctions.
The conclusions arrived at by the Security Council Group of Experts in 1964(1) that sanctions against South Africa were imperative and feasible, further heightened expectations for concerted international action. The total isolation of the Pretoria regime would certainly weaken it and complement the efforts of the struggling people in South Africa.
As we take the floor on behalf of the African National Congress and in the name of the majority in South Africa, we draw strength firstly, Mr. President, from the commitment of your country, Hungary, to the principles of freedom, justice and peace, as well as your own uncompromising opposition to the apartheid system. 2 Imre Hollai of Hungary was President of the General Assembly.
We are confident that the deliberations of this august assembly in the twentieth year of the issue of sanctions will serve to advance our common cause.
Secondly, we read in the Secretary-General`s report a timely warning that the future of the United Nations, to the strengthening of which the overwhelming majority of the Member States are committed, depends on the collective implementation of decisions democratically adopted by this world body.
Thirdly, we take the floor after a vehement condemnation of apartheid and a scathing indictment of the Pretoria regime`s collaborators by the Chairman of the Special Committee against Apartheid, Ambassador Alhaji Maitama-Sule. The statement he presented today enters the records of the General Assembly as one of the great landmarks of its 37th session.
We take this opportunity to renew our sincere appreciation and gratitude for the highly commendable work done by the Special Committee under his illustrious leadership. His country, Nigeria, and his government and people have been and continue to be a powerful source of strength in the struggle for the total liberation of Africa.
Mr. President, the situation prevailing in South Africa today continues to provoke worldwide revulsion and condemnation. As in previous years, the year 1982 has been marked by a series of murders of patriots, numerous arrests, sadistic torture of thousands of opponents of the regime and countless other crimes committed by the regime against our people in a bid to stamp out the revolutionary movement fighting for the overthrow of the apartheid system.
The need for a powerful international demand for the release of political prisoners and detainees is heightened with each passing year, as patriots like 73-year-old Oscar Mpetha, 70-year-old Walter Sisulu, Elias Motsoaledi, Dennis Goldberg, James Mange, Thandi Modise, Ahmed Kathrada and hundreds of others continue, with Nelson Mandela, to languish in jail. Six of them, Anthony Tsotsobe, Johannes Shabangu, David Moise, Jerry Mosololi, Marcus Motaung and Simon Mogoerane have been sentenced to death and their fate hangs on the weight of international opinion. We have even reached the extraordinary situation where the police have the power to prohibit public funerals, alternatively to tell the bereaved what hymns to sing at the graveside, what sermons to read, what to include and what to exclude in a funeral oration.
Despite this enemy offensive, even because of it, the struggle for the emancipation of our country is moving apace with irrepressible determination.
United in their action, clear in their definition of both the enemy and the objectives of their struggle, the workers, particularly the black workers, the youth, the women, the masses in the rural areas, students, professors and the religious community are engaged in actions not only to block the implementation of racial policies, both in general and in the detail, but also to bring down the apartheid system itself.
The role and participation of an increasing number of white patriots in the liberation struggle constitutes the foundation of the new nonracial democratic South Africa which is the objective of our struggle.
The heroic role of Umkhonto we Sizwe in contributing to the development of this powerful movement of the people of South Africa against an inhuman system, cannot be overstated. Under the inspiration of the world solidarity movement and the increasing might of the international forces ranged against racism, apartheid, fascism, colonialism and imperialism, our people and their army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, are marching on single-mindedly towards the conquest of power and the liberation of our country.
The rejection by our people of the so-called reforms must be seen in this context. In this sense, any manoeuvres the Pretoria regime has resorted to, like its repressive measures and aggressive acts, serve only to deepen the determination of the people and heighten the intensity of the liberation struggle. At best the efforts of Botha and his friends in the outside world to present the regime as an agent of progressive reform are a cynical ploy to deceive the gullible. The most persistent feature of the present-day South African political landscape is the steadily worsening crisis of the racist regime. Sandbagged police stations and military outposts, intermittent paramilitary roadblocks outside black townships, brutal and oppressive raids on black people`s homes and areas are all symptomatic of a regime in the grip of fear and engulfed by a sea of hostility from the citizens of its own country.
Mr. President, the International Year of Mobilisation for Sanctions against South Africa is coming to an end. But the demand for mobilisation stands at its highest.
The African National Congress, together with the majority of the people of South Africa, deeply appreciates the efforts deployed by the United Nations Organisation and the international community to put maximum pressure on the apartheid regime in support of our liberation struggle.
Certainly, Mr. President, the past twenty years has witnessed a growing isolation of the apartheid regime. To that extent, the international community, through its consistent pursuit of the purposes clearly spelt out in the General Assembly`s sanctions resolution of November 6, 1962, has succeeded in weakening the Pretoria regime.
But we have to face up to the reality that over this period of the struggle for mandatory sanctions, the regime has succeeded in defying world opinion on a whole series of issues.
Faced with the determined resistance of the oppressed and exploited inside South Africa, the regime has externalised the conflict through a strategy of overt and covert aggression, including a campaign of destabilisation, against the neighbouring States. These crimes against African independent States have the direct and indirect encouragement from various quarters in the West. In this regard special mention must be made of the role of the incumbent United States administration, which has declared itself an ally of the racist regime. Emboldened by the assurance of the United States support, the racists aborted the Geneva Conference on Namibia, unleashed a wave of atrocities against the Namibian people, invaded the People`s Republic of Angola and continue brazenly to occupy portions of its territory; they are openly training, equipping, financing and arming counter-revolutionary gangs to spread terror and mayhem in various countries in southern Africa and they are still deeply enmeshed in conspiracies to stage a mercenary coup in Seychelles. No country in southern Africa is secure against the Pretoria regime`s harassment and aggression. As a matter of stark reality, Pretoria has turned our whole region into a war zone.
There is another important dimension to the declared alliance between Washington and apartheid Pretoria, Mr. President. We refer to the insistence by both on the withdrawal of Cuban troops from the People`s Republic of Angola as a precondition for the independence of Namibia. It is however heartening to note that this demand has been disowned by France and other members of the Western Contact Group. But, Mr. President, the United Nations keeps silent on this issue at the risk of being seen to condone conduct which amounts to the Namibian people being held by Pretoria as hostages whose release to self-determination and independence is conditional upon the conclusion of a bilateral agreement between two sovereign States on terms dictated or approved by racist Pretoria and its ally.
The parallels between the Middle East and southern Africa are as clear as they are sinister. The onslaught on the Lebanon, the massive massacre of Lebanese and Palestinians, the attempt to liquidate the PLO and the Palestinian people, all of which were enacted with impunity by Israel have been followed minutely and with unconcealed interest and glee by the Pretoria racist regime which has designs for perpetrating the same kind of crime in southern Africa in the expectation that, like Israel, it will be enabled by its allies to get away with murder.
It would seem obvious, Mr. President, that we must make a more determined and united effort to persuade and compel those countries which continue in their support, encouragement and defence of the apartheid system to terminate their ignoble relations with the apartheid regime.
In the first instance we must give maximum encouragement to the anti-apartheid movements in these countries as well as to other organisations and groups that have joined in the struggle to rid the world of racism.
Secondly, this movement of solidarity within these countries should be encouraged and, where possible, assisted to expand its activities to reach out to the broad masses of the people who, through their organisations and in the greatest possible numbers, can themselves begin to impose sanctions against South Africa.
Many important initiatives have already been taken in this regard, including consumer boycotts, and the withdrawal of investments and accounts from companies and banks that have dealings with South Africa. The heroic resistance of the people of New Zealand to the racist rugby tour of their country earlier this year gave a powerful impetus to the struggle for the sporting and cultural isolation of the apartheid regime. In Australia, workers have refused to handle South African imports and exports, ships or aircraft. The expansion and intensification of these forms of popular pressure will force reluctant and collaborationist governments to act in accordance with the resolutions of the General Assembly.
The overwhelming majority of oil-producing countries have imposed an oil embargo against apartheid South Africa, and yet, thanks to the activities of the oil companies, this commodity continues to reach South Africa. We cannot overemphasise the need for effective measures to ensure that United Nations Member States, committed to the struggle to end apartheid, do not continue to oil the machinery of apartheid.
Thanks to the support of Western countries, racist South Africa continues to enjoy membership of various international bodies and specialised agencies, among them the International Monetary Fund. Accordingly, South Africa still benefits from such membership, as the recent case of the IMF loan demonstrates. The decision by the IMF to grant Pretoria a loan of 1.07 billion dollars, in defiance of a resolution of the General Assembly, sharpens the need for the expulsion of the racist regime from the IMF.
In our struggle, Mr. President, we seek to liberate not only ourselves but we are also thereby contributing to the worldwide struggle for independence, democracy, social progress and peace. In the coming period we shall require even more support from this Organisation, from its Member States and from the millions of people throughout the world who are an important second front in our continuing offensive.
We cannot close, Mr. President, without addressing a special word of support and solidarity to SWAPO and the people of Namibia, the PLO and the Palestinian people, the POLISARIO Front and the people of the Sahrawii Arab Democratic Republic, to the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front and the people of El Salvador, and to FRETILIN and the people of East Timor, as well as all other peoples struggling for their national liberation. We affirm our solidarity with the Frontline and other independent States in southern Africa.
Our common experience with these sister peoples and our common commitment to the cause of liberation, independence, social progress and peace must inevitably mean that we suffer together. But equally a victory on one front reinforces the struggle and ensures victory on other fronts. Nothing can break the solidarity that unites us.
During this coming period, perhaps more than ever in the past, we shall, Mr. President, depend on your support and encouragement, as well as the support and encouragement of His Excellency the Secretary-General, His Excellency the Chairman of the Special Committee against Apartheid and all the other officials of this Organisation.
Together we have the ability to defeat those who subvert the United Nations, its Charter and its decisions. The apartheid regime stands out among such subversive forces. We have a joint responsibility to work for its eradication.
Our common victory is certain.
Thank you, Mr. President.