Statement by Nelson Mandela on the ultra right-wing's threats of civil war

26 November 1993

The African National Congress is aware that certain sectors of the ultra right-wing are preparing for war. They have already stockpiled considerable quantities of arms in certain rural areas. Instead of taking decisive steps to curb these threats, President F W De Klerk plays petty party politics and attacks the ANC. It is evident that the NP government is a lame duck government and entirely incapable of dealing with this threat.

The ANC calls on all democrats, black and white, to join hands and to work together to isolate all of those who want to foster racial hatred and violence. I have had a number of meetings with the leadership of the Afrikaner Volksfront, including Gen. Constand Viljoen and Dr Ferdie Hartzenberg. Today I want to repeat my call to them to stop making inciting and racist statements, and to assist me to prevent war and bloodshed. If they do so they will show real courage and provide responsible leadership to their people. However, if they try to lead their people into a race war they will commit a terrible crime against them. The ANC who fought for over thirty years a liberation war against apartheid oppression, know that war is a terrible thing. We are trying everything within our means to avoid war. But if the ultra right-wing tries to unleash a civil war they will be crushed by the democratic forces. Then the leadership of the Afrikaner Volksfront will have to take responsibility for the blood of their own people that will be shed.

If we follow the road of democracy and justice a great future awaits us. I call on all South Africans, regardless of race and gender, to walk that road with the ANC.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation