Address by President Nelson Mandela at a People's Forum in KwaMakutha

20 April 1996

KwaMakutha's sorrow

As I flew here from Durban and as the helicopter hovered over this township, I looked down at the road that enters KwaMakutha from Durban. A thought flashed in my mind and sorrow pierced my heart. I remembered that on the night of 20/21 January 1987, men with evil in their hearts and death in their minds entered this township under the cover of darkness, to sow death and destruction.

There is a trial going on which emanates from that massacre. The law will take its course and those convicted will receive their due punishment. But the people of KwaMakutha have long passed their judgement. In April 1994 you voted overwhelmingly for the ANC to lead this country and rejected the parties of apartheid.

The ANC's message of Peace, Democracy and Prosperity

As always, the ANC comes here today with the message of Peace, Democracy, and Development. We are here to hear your problems and how you intend tackling them.

In November last year most of South Africa - but not KwaZulu/Natal and parts of the Western Cape - voted in local elections to set up democratic local government for the first time in our country. Most people reaffirmed their trust in the ANC and mandated it to lead them at local level.

Now it's your turn

Now it is your turn. You will have the chance to decide on which party should lead the reconstruction and development of KwaMakutha.

I have no doubt which party you will choose. Your experience tells you that the ANC remains the only hope for the future of all our people. Here in KwaMakutha the forces of darkness did everything to silence those aligned to the ANC because they wanted to keep you in bondage and poverty. Now you will be able to put KwaMakutha on a new route of development.

Local Government - Making a better life happen where we live

Local government is the most effective tool in your hands to improve your area. It will give you a voice that government must listen to. Through your government around the corner, you can access funds for development. It will give you a say in decisions about the area where you live.

Whether KwaMakutha prospers or remains as it is will depend on the people you elect.

The ANC understands the importance of all layers of government working with each other, and working with communities to eradicate the effects of apartheid and build a culture of human rights. It is essential that the lowest tier of government closest to the people, is placed in the hands of an organisation that can unite people and which knows how to listen to the people.

ANC candidates are people from the community, who can be relied on to work for those who elect them and remain accountable to them.


Your township is known far and wide in the context of this carnage that is ravaging this province. Almost every family has lost a member or a relative in this undeclared war. This madness must stop. There can be no development in a war zone.

You have the power to stamp out violence and crime through working closely with the police. Strengthen your local community policing forums and work together to stamp out crime in KwaMakutha. You know the suspects and you even know their movements. I appeal to you to co-operate closely with the investigation task unit in its work. If you are afraid of exposing the culprits, who knows where they will strike next?

Issues Facing KwaMakutha

In Government the ANC has worked tirelessly to put the economy on the path of growth and development. We have attracted foreign investments which will create more jobs and improve our economy. Other provincial governments, too, are working without sleep to attract investors. Democratically elected ANC local councillors have started working to improve the daily lives of our people.

It is disturbing that this province continues to move so slowly. Millions of Rands in development funding allocated to this province since 1994 remain unused. The local councillors you elect will have the task of ensuring that development is not slowed down by ineffective provincial administration. This area needs a strong Metropolitan Durban municipality led by the ANC.

Message to the Youth of KwaMakutha

I bring a message of support and encouragement to the youth of KwaMakutha. You are not called young lions for nothing. You remained in the trenches of the struggle until liberation. Now you should be in the front-line of development by encouraging the culture of learning in your community. The development of KwaMakutha needs trained people from this area.

The neglect of the educational needs of the majority during the apartheid era has left us with a legacy of inequality which must be redressed soon. It is therefore a matter of concern that money allocated to the Culture of Learning Project to upgrade and refurbish schools in this province remains unused. Strong democratic local councils can help ensure that money allocated to areas is used without unnecessary delays.

A Free and Fair Election

KwaZulu-Natal needs democratic local government now.

Nevertheless, you don't want an inferior kind of democracy, but true democracy. The elections must be free and fair without any fraud. It would be pointless to steamroller the province to a fraudulent and violence-marred election. That is why we have decided on a multi-party commission to probe all irregularities. Its findings will guide us in deciding the way forward.

But for us the campaign must continue. Our machinery must be geared for 29 May. We must be well-organised to ensure that every one who supports the ANC casts their vote.

Last year you were excluded from the elections and you watched from the side-line. Now it's your turn to bring democracy home. Now is the time for you to assume full responsibility for your development.

A better life for all Let's make it happen in KwaMakutha Now it's our turn! Manje Sekuyithuba lethu!

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation