"We are already going for the farmers" - ANC

Radio Freedom broadcast on why war was being taken into white areas, July 14 1987

Transcript of an ANC Radio Freedom Broadcast, Addis Ababa, on role of Whites in light of the Dakar Meeting, July 10 1987:

Compatriots, a mammoth meeting is under way in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, between a group of senior and high-ranking members of our vanguard movement, the ANC, and a delegation of more than 50 leading Afrikaner academics, the purpose of which according to the participants is to find common ground in dissolving the crisis facing our country today as a result of the obnoxious apartheid system, and to outline solutions to bring about a democratic, non-racial society in our country.

The apartheid Botha-Malan regime and its ruling Nationalist Party has sharply condemned the meeting as ''pointless and counter-productive'', precisely, of course, because it seeks to find ways of ending the evil system that this Nationalist Party is implementing in our country.

As we all know, this is not the first meeting of its kind. In the past 18 months or so, the ANC has held numerous meetings with various groups and individuals coming from South Africa, representing the clergy, students and youth, the business community, political parties and other sectors and sections of our society.

All these meetings have been (?constantly disapproved) by the apartheid Pretoria regime which at times even went to the extent of withdrawing the passports of those who intended to leave for Lusaka to meet the ANC. . .

(ii) Excerpts from commentary:

Compatriots, talks continued today in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, between National Executive Committee members and other senior members of our vanguard movement, the ANC, on the one hand, and a delegation of more than 50 white South African liberals consisting of liberal politicians, academics, writers, businessmen and journalists.

As we all know now, at the centre of the discussions going on is an attempt by the white group to clearly understand what the ANC as the main organisation championing the aspirations of the black people of our country and all democratic forces is spending [as heard] and fighting for. To be precise, what kind of South Africa is the ANC fighting to achieve.

This, of course, is a question which has been asked so many times before and which we have always answered by saying that we are fighting for a non-racial, democratic South Africa, based on our revolutionary document, the Freedom Charter. And of course, many people still want clarification on the Freedom Charter itself, particularly our white compatriots who don't seem to realise that they too have a significant role to play in the destruction of this monstrous apartheid system and the building of new non-racial democratic future side by side with their other non-white compatriots.

Addressing a rally in the USA recently, the President of the ANC, Comrade Oliver Tambo, had occasion to outline briefly what kind of South Africa are we fighting for when apartheid has been destroyed. It will be a humane system, he said, where there will be democracy for all, and not just democracy for whites only. . .

[Announcer] But to achieve that kind of South Africa, where there will be democracy for all and where the wealth will be distributed for the benefit of all, the ANC is currently engaged in a fierce revolutionary armed struggle to destroy the apartheid regime. This armed struggle has been continuing unabated for the past 25 years now and all indications and in fact even the calls of the ANC are that this war must be intensified and escalated to new heights.

This escalation also means that the war must be taken to the white areas of our country. Now, of course, these 50 people who have gone to Dakar [word indistinct] to meet the ANC leadership are all white, and undoubtedly one of the crucial issues worrying them is this call by the ANC that the war must be taken to the white areas. By this call, does the ANC mean that white children and women must be killed in cinemas, hotels and churches? No, say ANC leaders Chris Hani and Aziz Pahad.

This is not a call for a racial war, they say. It is not a call for the blood of unarmed white civilians to be spilled in the streets of the suburbs. It is a call for the intensification of the armed struggle against the apartheid regime's instruments of repression, the army, the police and other elements in these areas.

[Hani voice] It's not a racial war. When we say the war should be taken to the white areas [words indistinct]. Now we say the country is in a state of civil war, but people who have seen this civil war are blacks, because the theatre of the action has been the townships and they have been the rural areas, the homelands and the bantustans.

Very few whites, except on TV screens, have seen the reality of the civil war. For us, for this war to go to its logical development, the whites also must feel what the blacks are feeling. By this, we don't mean an indiscriminate attack on whites. We mean that we must go for the white personnel which is responsible for the repression of our people, for those who have been manning the instrument of repression, for the white policemen, for the white members of the SADF, for those who are in the reservists and in the commando groups.

We must go for installations in the white areas. We are already going for the farmers, because the farmers are an important element of the SADF [words indistinct]. So what we are saying is that MK [umkhonto] units must begin to systematically attack in white areas, so that the whites will not have a false sense of security, but our units are political units. They are revolutionary units. They are not terrorists.

They are not just going to go and pounce (for instance) and crash, or attack (a white church while whites are praying) or just go blindly [words indistinct] go there we must have done a lot of reconnaissance and they probably would be assured that people who are there, who are in the cinema, are members of the police or the army.

We are saying: Comrades, go and attack white personnel in the white areas so that the whites can see the reality of the civil war, so that we should deepen the insecurity of this regime virtually everywhere in our country.

[Pahad voice] It is not the question of taking the war indiscriminately to the white areas. We have always said that the movement's policy has been that we must attack all those sectors and institutions that uphold the policies of apartheid and are maintaining it. It happens that there are many people in the white army.

There are many people manning the police force. There are many people carrying out the atrocities through the security system. These are not indiscriminate attacks against civilians. They are attacks against people who are part of the state apparatus and the paramilitary apparatus of the state and it is a legitimate tactic of the movement to attack them.

Of course, we are not talking of an indiscriminate attack against whites as civilians and of course we are aware that as we hit harder at the enemy personnel, there will be those who will claim that this is putting the whites into the laager. We don't believe that is so. We believe that it is precisely the intensification of our struggle, both politically and militarily, must break this laager that has been created by the white section of our community.

So our task of course remains that we must bring into our camp all those people that can be brought over to our camp, but that does not mean to do this we must not attack enemy personnel. (?I think that is) totally incomprehensible. We are fighting a war and war mean that you have got to take enemy personnel. I mean that is the fact of the matter. . .

According to Aziz Pahad, and Chris Hani also, the whites of our country have a significant role to play in the struggle for the destruction of the apartheid system, in the building of a non-racial democratic South Africa.

[Hani voice] The ANC has always put across our perspective that South Africa is a non-racial democratic South Africa. We have consistently said to our white compatriots that their security and the security of their children lies in not wanting to preserve apartheid but fighting to change it. We have said to our white compatriots that as [words indistinct] they must not be part of the programme, they must become part of the solution. So our message to our white compatriots is that an increasing number of them must join the democratic process.

We are saying to those young conscripts: Don't go into the army because you are being used today and in a more direct way in shooting, murdering our people in the townships, and we are saying to the white youth not to go into the army. More important, we are saying to all sectors of the white community that your task must be, if you want to enjoy the fruits of the new non-racial democratic South Africa your task is to help us to change the system.

So I appeal to the white community: Your privileges, your security, the concept of living protected for all times is an illusion. It is clear that apartheid is in a state of severe crisis and that their interest lies in joining us in our struggle to end apartheid and achieve a non-racial democratic South Africa.

[Pahad voice] Our call to the white people is that the whites must join the blacks. Of the course the struggle has caused many damage [as heard]. There is a mass militant struggle. The whites must get out of parliament, they must (counterfight) the illusion that change will come from that white parliament.  The must join the extra-parliamentary struggle. They must be in the street.  They must join the campaigns of the UDF and the campaigns of COSATU. They must take part in the process the whites to be part, to be an integral part, of the mass struggle. The young whites must join Umkhonto we Sizwe and fight together with us to overthrow white domination.

A few whites have already taken this important and significant step. Some of them have already been [word indisti nct], others will see our triumph. And we think those few are an important catalyst, and that's what they've got to be, followed by many others. We applaud and congratulate those whites who are refusing to serve in the SADF, and their numbers are growing. [words indistinct] they must find their way to Umkhonto we Sizwe. They must find their way into the underground of the ANC. They must find their way into the mobilisation of the white workers in the sense of joining the progressive and democratic TUs in our country.

[Announcer] And according to another senior member of the ANC, Comrade Ronnie Kasrils, the whites also have a role even from within the very death force of apartheid, the SADF itself. Even from there, he says, they can play a pivotal role for the advancement of the struggle, for the destruction of apartheid and the realisation of a non-racial democratic South Africa by weakening the SADF.

[Kasrils voice] Those whites who find themselves conscripted must do everything possible to weaken this military machine. And it can be weakened in numerous ways. It can be weakened by a huge campaign within the white community, within t he whole of South Africa, black and white together, but obviously the white com munity must play a very important role, a campaign against conscription, a campaign against serving in this machine of evil and of death and of destruction.

At the same time, those whites who find themselves within, those who want to belong to the side of liberation must do everything possible from within to weaken this army and they can do so by organising themselves within the SADF. They must agitate from within. They must find the means to organise cells within that organisation, just as happened in Portugal when they were fighting their war against Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissau the fascist army of Portugal had within it a network of democrats who had organised within, people who loathed those colonial wars, and they decided to undermine the Portuguese armed forces from within. They did it brilliantly, and it shows that there is scope for right-minded whites, for democratic-minded whites who happen to be in the SADF to carry out that vital work. It must be done. One can't ignore this. No revolutionary struggle can be victorious if it doesn't affect the armed forces of the enemy, and this is an area of vital work, and a great degree of effort must be concentrated in that direction.

Now, by work of this kind, one is able to undermine that army, one is able to weaken its ability, but to weaken the SADF, to drain it of its morale, to sap it of its strength requires other elements too. It requires the armed blows of Umkhonto we Sizwe and unfortunately the only way that white South African's eyes will ultimately be opened is when they have to shed blood. This is what war is about, and the blows of Umkhonto against the enemy forces will do a great deal. In fact, this is the main way in which the morale of the enemy's armed forces will be weakened.

Source: BBC Monitoring, July 14 1987

Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter