Statement at the General Assembly of the United Nations – 1992/11/18

First of all, and on behalf of the ANC, we take this opportunity to thank you most sincerely for giving us the opportunity to address the General Assembly as it discusses the question of South Africa. We are honoured that you have allowed us to intervene at this relatively early stage of the debate and fully appreciate the significance of the privilege you have granted us.

As an organisation, we are deeply conscious of the desire of the United Nations and the international community as a whole to see a speedy end to the system of apartheid. We wish to assure you that we are at one with the Assembly in seeking the earliest possible transformation of South Africa into a non-racial democracy.

Consequently we are exerting every effort to ensure that a sense of urgency instructs the manner in which we and all other parties in our country approach the process of change. Furthermore, we are of the same mind with all the Member States represented here that, as the people of South Africa, we have the duty and the possibility to arrive at a resolution of the South African question through negotiations and by peaceful means.

Again, we would like to assure you that the ANC is doing all it can to facilitate that process of negotiations and to create the climate of peace that is critical to the concentration of energies on the central task of ending the apartheid crime against humanity and transforming South Africa into a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist society.

The General Assembly may wish to take what we have just said as given. If this is the case, it creates the circumstances that impose an obligation on the United Nations and on this Assembly to determine what they have to do with regard to a number of issues: first, ensuring the transformation of South Africa into a united, democratic and non-racial country, in keeping with previous decisions of both the General Assembly and the Security Council; second, ensuring that this takes place without undue delay; third, ensuring that, for these purposes, transitional arrangements are entered into and a new constitution adopted, consonant with the provisions of the 1989 General Assembly consensus “Declaration on Apartheid and Its Destructive Consequences in Southern Africa” and other relevant decisions of this Organisation; fourth, ensuring that these objectives are achieved through negotiations, in a climate conducive to free political activity and in conditions of peace; fifth, ensuring that any party that wilfully opposes these processes draws the censure of and isolation by the international community; sixth, ensuring that the United Nations participates actively in helping to create the necessary climate for all South Africans to engage in free and peaceful political activity; seventh, ensuring that it places itself in a position such that it can assist the people of South Africa to reconstruct their society in keeping with the objectives visualised in both the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Charter of the United Nations; eighth, ensuring that the Organisation maintains all existing pressures, with any varying of the status quo taking place in tandem with actual progress achieved within South Africa; and ninth, ensuring that it continues to extend assistance to the democratic forces of our country, understanding that these forces have a national role of bringing the majority into the overall peace process, a task that extends beyond the immediate partisan concerns of these forces.

We believe that it is important that the General Assembly should take the necessary decisions that will enable it and this Organisation to act on all these matters during the period between now and when the forty-eighth session of the Assembly convenes next year. We would like to emphasise that, within the coming months, the United Nations will need to act on various matters with regard to South Africa. These matters, including the election of a constituent assembly on the basis of universal suffrage and the formation of a representative interim Government of national unity, will be of such decisive importance that they should, for the first time in over 40 years, result in taking the issue of apartheid off the agenda of this Organisation and replacing it with an item relating to the equally important question of the democratic transformation of South Africa.

We believe that the Assembly, as part of its contribution to the success of the process of ending the system of white minority rule, should continue to express its support for the early resumption of the work of the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA) as a multilateral negotiating forum, inclusive of all political organisations in South Africa. The resumed discussions should build on the agreements that have already been arrived at, which include decisions to elect a constitution-making body and to form an interim Government of national unity, preceded by the establishment of multi-party organs of government which will ensure that the elections are held in conditions of peace and are free and fair, as well as decisions to reincorporate the bantustans into one South Africa.

For the success of these processes, it is critically important that the issue of violence should be addressed effectively. We believe that the Assembly should commend the Secretary-General for his actions in this regard, as well as the Security Council for its decisions to intervene in this matter, as reflected in its resolutions 765 (1992) and 772 (1992). The situation in South Africa requires, however, that these resolutions, especially resolution 772, should be implemented in full as speedily as possible. This is emphasised by the latest revelations, which confirm what we have said in the past: that the apartheid security forces are engaged in the violence which continues to plague our country and are being used to weaken, destabilise and undermine the ANC and other democratic forces.

In this regard, I should say that there are indications that the South African Government will be saying something soon to commit itself to support of the work of the Goldstone Commission and making an undertaking to implement the recommendations that come out of that Commission. We hope that that will happen.

The investigation of the apartheid security forces, with a view to ensuring that they stop such criminal activities, is one of the areas in which the United Nations has to be involved. Justice Goldstone, Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation, has already called on the international community to assist in “the speedy and efficient execution” of that task.

We believe that, in keeping with the Security Council resolutions to which we have referred, the United Nations should respond speedily to the call issued by Justice Goldstone. As Goldstone himself observes,
“no successful and constructive multi-party negotiations are likely to be held in the present climate of mutual suspicion and distrust. It is highly unlikely that free and fair elections could be held in the present climate of violence and intimidation. No investment will take place in South Africa until a democratic and peaceful climate has been created”.

We believe that by its timely and decisive interventions this Organisation can help us to address all these issues.

We also believe that a clear call should issue from this Assembly directed at the South African Government, demanding of it that it discharge its responsibilities to put an end to the violence and to act against those of its security forces that are involved in the violence.

This call should also demand of the regime that it do everything necessary to help create the climate needed for free political activity in all parts of South Africa, including the bantustans and the so-called homelands. This must include a cessation of all the covert activities of its forces and, as we have said in the past, the disarming and confinement to barracks of all special forces.

We further believe that an unequivocal message should reach Pretoria that the international community will not countenance any attempts by the Pretoria regime to perpetuate itself in power and thus prolong the agony of apartheid.

Comments recently attributed to Mr. de Klerk by a British newspaper give serious cause for concern with regard to this matter, obliging us to issue a public statement rejecting the notion that the present ruling party, as suggested by Mr. de Klerk, can stay in power beyond the year 1995. I should say in this regard that I also understand that President de Klerk is likely to be issuing a statement soon in order to clarify this point, committing the South African Government to speedy movement forward in terms of agreements that had been reached in the negotiation process.

The elections for a constituent assembly and an interim government should take place before the end of the coming year. We are convinced that the Organisation has an important role to play in terms of helping to ensure that the elections are free and fair, and that all parties involved respect both the process and the outcome of the elections. Accordingly, we believe that the Assembly should take the necessary decisions enabling the Organisation to play such a role as may be required of it in order to achieve these results.

The programme of work facing the United Nations with regard to the South African question, including the work of reconstruction that will arise in future once sanctions are lifted, emphasises the continuing importance of such United Nations bodies as the Centre against Apartheid and the Special Committee against Apartheid. We trust that the Assembly will continue to extend its full support to these bodies so that they can discharge their responsibilities in the context of the evolving situation in South Africa.

We are also concerned that the peace process in Angola and Mozambique should succeed as quickly as possible, as part of the common effort to bring peace, stability and prosperity to all the peoples of southern Africa. We therefore urge the Organisation to do everything possible and necessary to ensure that UNITA abides by the Angola peace accords and respects the electoral process, which is being carried out as envisaged in these accords. The resort to arms against this democratic process should not be allowed.

Similarly, all necessary measures need to be taken so as to ensure that the agreements concerning Mozambique are honoured by all concerned, including RENAMO. This is in the interests not only of the long-suffering people of Mozambique but also of the region as a whole, including South Africa.

We would also like to take this opportunity to extend our best wishes to those involved in the negotiations in the Middle East, especially the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), convinced, as we are, that it is necessary to move forward speedily to restore the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

Equally, we trust that the necessary measures will be taken for a just solution to the question of Western Sahara.

The people of South Africa are determined to achieve their liberation without further delay. This we will do through our own efforts.

However, we continue to count on members’ support in order to realise this objective, both through the maintenance of existing measures designed to put pressure on the apartheid regime and through members’ involvement in the various peaceful processes aimed at taking our country forward to the adoption of a democratic constitution.

Conscious of the historic role the United Nations must play in building a better world, our people is convinced that it will not fail us.


1. United Nations document A/47/PV.63

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.