Statement by Nelson Mandela on the ANC/NP Summit Meeting

26 September 1992

This summit has taken place at a time when our country is being systematically torn apart by violence. Many have died and continue to die. Free political activity does not exist in many parts of South Africa.

Our people and the world in general looked to this summit with the hope that we have begun today to rescue our people from this chaos. They looked to this summit today with the fervent wish that we can resume the process of negotiation that will take us forward to our final goal of democracy for all South Africans.

In answer to these hopes and expectations, I believe we can say that we have succeeded.

The major concerns addressed at today's summit were the release of political prisoners, steps to curtail violence emanating from hostels and the prohibition of the carrying and display of dangerous weapons.

On the question of political prisoners, this summit today confirmed agreement reached in the past few days. We are happy and indeed jubilant to welcome the 150 of our comrades released today and look forward to the release of all remaining political prisoners by 15 November 1992. We look forward to the release on Monday 28 September of comrades Nondula, Mncube, McBride and Mjingwana.

Significant progress was also reached today with regard to hostels and dangerous weapons. Practical implementation has been agreed upon to ensure that a proclamation will be issued to prohibit the carrying and display of dangerous weapons at all public occasions subject to exemptions based upon guidelines being prepared by the Goldstone Commission. The granting of exemptions shall be entrusted to one or more retired judges designated in each province who if necessary, may be assisted by independent assessors.

On the issue of hostels, the government undertook, amongst other things, to fence identified hostels by 15 November 1992. Interim measures will also be immediately undertaken should there be any delay in this process. The continued denial of free political activity in some bantustans remains a major obstacle and must be addressed.

The government expressed its concern about the our current programme of mass action. The ANC appreciates these concerns. In view of the progress made in this summit and in view of the further progress likely to be made when negotiations resume, the ANC delegation have undertaken in consultation with our structures and constituency, to examine this programme as a matter of urgency.

Finally, with regard to the constitutional process which was aborted in June this year, common understanding has been reached today in the joint Record of Understanding that we need to move with all urgency towards an interim government of national unity and a democratically elected constituent assembly. It is only the achievement of these goals that will finally bring lasting peace to this blood-soaked land. The points of agreement outlined in the Record of Understanding constitute an important step forward toward breaking the Codesa 2 deadlock.

There is obviously still much work to be done to complete this process. To this end, the summit agreed that we and the government need to engage in intensive bilaterals, a lekgotla, to resolve outstanding issues. We will accordingly recommend this to our National Executive Committee.

It is the duty now of all South Africans to ensure that our efforts today and the sacrifices of so many are not in vain. Let us move forward with courage, honesty and determination to build upon and consolidate the basis laid at today's summit to create a peaceful, just and democratic South Africa.

There is no reason why a political settlement should not be achieved within a relatively short period. This will pave the path to peace. This will pave the path to the economic recovery we all yearn for. But we will only achieve this if all parties and all our people, black and white, put South Africa first.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation