Mandela: 'We are all militants'

Issue 

This is the text of Nelson Mandela's address at Chris Hani's funeral in Soweto on April 19. It is abridged slightly for reasons of space.

Chris Hani loved life, and lived it to the full. But he loved freedom more. Chris Hani loved our people, our organisations, our South African nation, and for that love he was brutally murdered.

Chris Hani's murder was no aberration. It was consistent with the patterns of the past. Scores of assassinations remain "unsolved". Rick Turner, Matthew Goniwe, Sparrow Mkhonto, David Webster, Ruth First, and Dulcie September are but a few. Their killers remain unnamed because the criminals investigate themselves. By killing Chris Hani the murderers made a fatal error, for he will not become just another statistic.

In 1991, when we spoke of a Third Force being responsible for the violence, we were ridiculed and criticised by everyone. Now both South Africa and the world recognise not only the existence of that same Third Force, but also the extent of its activities.

When Chris Hani criticised the theft of weapons from the air force base and said those weapons were not stolen, but were taken to be used in covert operations, he too was ridiculed. Guns from those same stolen weapons were used to kill him. This secret web of hit men and covert operations is funded by our taxes. While we remain without homes, without food, without education, almost 9 billion rand was spent in the last two years on these secret operations. But we, the taxpayer, do not know what it was spent on.

There has been a deliberate and massive propaganda offensive against Umkhonto we Sizwe, its cadres and leadership. No effort has been spared to criminalise both MK and Chris Hani. This has deliberately created a climate of acceptance when an MK cadre is assassinated, as dozens have been over the past months. That is why, although millions of people have been outraged at the murder of Chris Hani, few were really surprised.

Those who have deliberately created this climate that legitimates political assassinations are as much responsible for the death of Chris Hani as the man who pulled the trigger and the conspiracy that plotted his murder.

We want a police force that is there to serve our communities, to protect our lives and property, to respect us as citizens. That is our right. We want an army that is professional, that does not regard us as the enemy. The only way to get this is by bringing all security forces and armed formations under multiparty control with immediate effect. This should include the SADF, the South African Police, Umkhonto we Sizwe, the KwaZulu Police, the Transkei Defence Force, the Bophuthatswana police force and any other such formations. Only then will we be able to begin the task of training, upgrading and developing a South African Army and Police Force that serves all South Africans. Only then can we being to change the culture so prevalent in the police force and army that the people are the enemy. And nowhere has this attitude of seeing us as the enemy been more clearly demonstrated than in President De Klerk's actions since the assassination of Chris Hani.

His first response was to call a meeting of the State Security Council. His second response was to deploy 23,000 more troops, telling white South Africans that they had enough troops for them to feel secure. But why deploy troops against mourners?

They say we cannot control our forces. We are not cattle to be controlled. And we say to De Klerk: it is your forces that lost control and, completely unprovoked, shot innocent marchers in Protea. It is you who have allowed the bully boy tactics of the AWB to go unchallenged. We, the victims of violence, have been blamed for the very acts that take our lives. Yet you treat the far right with kid gloves, allowing them to publish hit lists when it is a crime to do so. Your police do not protect marchers from gunmen who mow them down, as in Vanderbijlpark. Black lives are cheap, and will remain so as long as apartheid continues to exist.

Let there be no mistake: there have been many changes, and negotiations have started, but for the ordinary

black person of this country apartheid is alive and well. Thousands of us die from TB every year, our children still play in open sewers and die from preventable diseases. Education is still a privilege. Our homes remain the tin shacks and overcrowded townships. And no black South African has the vote.

They talk of peace as if wanting peace is pacifism. They want to present the ANC as the other half of the National Party. We want peace, but we are not pacifists. We are all militants. We are all radicals. That is the very essence of the ANC, for it is a liberation movement fighting for freedom for all our people. It is our unceasing struggles — in the prisons, in mass campaigns, through the armed struggle — that has brought the regime to the negotiating table.

And those negotiations are themselves a site of struggle. It is not a question of armed struggle or negotiations. Armed struggle brought about negotiations. It is precisely because negotiations will force them to relinquish power that certain elements are resorting to the cowardly tactics of assassinations. This government is illegitimate, unrepresentative, corrupt and unfit to govern.

We want the immediate installation of a Transitional Executive Council with one purpose: to ensure that free and fair elections are held in the shortest possible time. This TEC must put in place multiparty control of such areas as the security forces, the budget, foreign relations, local government. An Independent Electoral Commission must be established. We also want an Independent Media Commission. We have the right to know what is going on, to receive accurate information, and to put our views across without manipulation and distortion.

Above all, we want an agreed election date to be announced. What does an election mean for us? A one-person, one vote election, throughout South Africa — and that includes the TBVC [the "homelands"] states — is, at this point in time and given the gains we have made, the shortest route to a real transfer of power. Such an election will produce a government that, for the first time in our long and arduous struggle, will be a government

that represents the democratic wishes of all South Africans. For the first time in our history an elected government will be answerable to all the people.

That government will face tremendous challenges. South Africa will then, through radical opposition to apartheid, be transformed into a united, non-racial, democratic and non-sexist country.

Of the highest priority will be the issues that were closest to the heart of Chris Hani: the reconstruction of South Africa so as to ensure that apartheid is not reformed, but uprooted in its entirety. In the interests of all our people we will build national unity, drawing on the wealth of our human resources, the courage and strength of all our people. We want to build a nation free from hunger, disease and poverty, free from ignorance, homelessness and humiliation, a country in which there is peace, security and jobs. These achievements will be living monuments to the heroes like Chris Hani, who died fighting for such a vision.

Speed is of the essence ... We warn all who seek to impose endless negotiations that any further delay will discredit the negotiation process itself and place on the national agenda the need for change by other means.

The leadership of the ANC draws its strength from you, our people. Over the death of Chris Hani you have shown your determination, your courage, your love of freedom.

The struggle is far from over. You are our soldiers of peace, our army for the elections that will transform this country. Go back to your homes, your regions, and organise as never before. Together, we are invincible. That is how we will pay the greatest tribute we can to Chris Hani — freedom in South Africa.

I would also like to address a final word to Chris himself — comrade, friend and confidant. We worked together in the National Executive Committee of the ANC. We had vigorous debates and an intense exchange of ideas. You were completely unafraid. No task was too small for you to perform. Your ready smile and warm friendship was a source of strength and

companionship. You lived in my home, and I loved you like the true son you were. In our heart, as in the heart of all our people, you are irreplaceable. We have been struck a blow that wounds so deeply that the scars will remain forever. You laid down your life so that we may know freedom. No greater sacrifice is possible.

We lay you to rest with the pledge that the day of freedom you lived and died for will dawn. We all owe you a debt that can only be repaid through the achievement of the liberation of our people, which was the passion of your life. Fighter, revolutionary, soldier for peace, we mourn deeply for you. You will remain in our hearts forever.

Amandla!

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