Pandelani+Nefolovhodwe(A speech delivered by the President of AZAPO, Cde Pandelani Nefolovhodwe, at the opening of the 11th Biennial National Congress of AZAPO at Port Elizabeth on 26 November 1992.)


Azanian women, Azanian men, Azanian workers and students, fighters of the Azanian National Liberation Army, distinguished guests and compatriots. Past events have demonstrated to all freedom lovers that the De Klerk regime has no intention of relinquishing power. It is now about two (2) years even since we were elected to lead the organisation. During this period, the Azanian People’s Organisation has had to take important decisions geared at protecting the interests of the oppressed and exploited. Needless to state that AZAPO up to now has been able to defend and protect the fundamental principles of the revolutionary struggle which is on process.

AZAPO’s expulsion from the Convening Committee of the Patriotic Front (PF) by both the PAC and the ANC; and AZAPO’s subsequent refusal to have anything to do with CODESA ( Conference for a Democratic South Africa) was indeed a difficult test that AZAPO had to face in the struggle to regain the land that was taken from our fore-fathers. Had AZAPO surrendered, we would have been swallowed by the De Klerk regime reform process.

At the 4th National Council of the 10th AZAPO Congress held at Phuthaditjaba, QwaQwa on the 1st of February 1992, I made a remark which remain instructive to repeat: “World power relations have changed drastically, to the extent that our erstwhile friends in the struggle for the total emancipation of the African continent, are now openly flirting with imperialist forces and have been arm-twisted to champion the cause of imperialist countries. The East and West power relations have titled power at the moment, i.e. the American establishment and its allies. This force, for now, is in the favourable position to manipulate world events, be they in the East, Middle East or Southern Africa. Azania seems to have been targeted for the final onslaught, after the destruction of the economies of Mozambique and Angola through the destabilization activities of the South African regime, assisted by the West. With all the success by the West, it is unlikely that they will easily retreat when victory is just in sight”.

It is now a common cause that events of the past two years have vindicated AZAPO’s positions. Champions of CODESA suddenly came to realise a long held view of AZAPO and the BCM as a whole, that CODESA could not deliver majority rule and that the regime was not in the game of relinquishing power. Champions of the peace accord have also painfully discovered that the accord was never meant to bring about peace. Even with its strengthening by the presence of international observers or monitors, the accord various structures are not capable of stopping the carnage. AZAPO warned at all the time when violence started in the Black community, that the real cause of the violence is the De Klerk regime. This still remains the case. Unlesss and until the De Klerk regime is removed from power, no amount of verbal pleading will bring about peace. The underlying goal of the present Peace Accord is to hide the true intention of the De Klerk regime and to perpetuate the system of racism and capitalism.


A society subjected to a combination of violence and reform breeds various kinds of conformism. The mass media controlled by both the State and captains of capital in a situation of this nature, get used effectively to manipulate and control the oppressed perceptions reality. The media tells the oppressed and exploited, who their leaders are, it tells them which parties to join, it tells them what they should want, it tells the m the forms of mass actions to embark upon. Side by side with the media onslaught, the regime continues to adjust its system of oppression and exploitation to accommodate certain sections of the oppressed and exploited, especially the elite.

In Azania, a combination of reforms and media packages of norms, values and processes about the so-called “New South Africa” have turned erstwhile revolutionaries to acquire false images of themselves. They have been turned into citizens of imaginary “ New South Africa”, and with few exceptions they are behaving as intended.

The first kind of conformism is the one that involves playing the game if the De Klerk regime according to its rules. This kind of conformism accepts the society as it is and then tries to use the system, sometimes in an opportunistic way to the advantage of those who collaborate. The collaborators main purpose is survival and personal gains. Bantustans and Tricameral puppets meet this criteria.

The second kind of conformism that we are witnessing consist of those individuals and groups or organisations who have adopted a publicly complaint form of struggle in respect to the De Klerk regime. An important characteristic of these kinds of individuals, groups and organisations is the fact that their public complaint attitude are not in line with their dissatisfaction. Out of fear of consequences they restrict themselves from expressing what they fully supporting the struggle for the complete overhauling of the present system.

The third category of conformists is the one that is being natured by the reform process. These are individuals, groups and organisations that have fallen victim of the 2nd February 1990 De Klerk speech and processes. These groups of conformists have been made to believe that they are responsible for particularly negotiation process and in so doing have fallen into De Klerk’s engagement strategy. These groups of conformists despite the fact that CODESA collapsed, even on issues that they themselves felt very strongly against, they are nevertheless still calling for the revival of CODESA.

Before February 1990, the regime sought to perpetuate its dictatorial schemes through the use of discredited puppets. However, post February 1990, the regime has systematically been able to use its advantage credible leaders for the same intends and purposes. This kind of strategy unless exposed has the potential of misleading our people. Whilst our people and the international community were able to see that the Bantustan and the Tricameral puppets were simply extension of the regime, within the ranks of the oppressed and exploited, it is no longer the case when the regime does the same with credible leaders.

In this case the contradictions have become blurred and the purpose of the struggle confused. We have a responsibility to expose this new and disguised tactics of the regime. If need be, we will have to part company with our former valued compatriots in the struggle. The protagonists of the normal sports in an abnormal society have fallen prey to the diabolic scheme of the regime in its bid to gain international recognition. This credible co-option has in fact brought about break-throughs for the regime in areas such as sports, international forums, diplomatic exchange and finally it has led to the acceptance of the regime and its puppets to the Security Council.

As it is the case in many instances of this nature, these groups of com-reformists (Comrades involved in reform) are pre-occupied with promoting accords after accords with the hope that pieces of paper and carefully worded statements designed to promote deceitful talks about talks will water down the revolutionary aspirations of black people.

By the way it is important to note that following this kind of strategy, an organisation or group cannot escape being dragged into the politics of policing and public complaint. The regime has managed to co-opt a section of our people into politics of verbal accusation knowing that it can always rely on its own media to outshine them.

Those who adopt the public complaint form of struggle for every action taken by the regime, forget that a government only undo those actions and activities that suit its intentions. A repressive regime does not surrender itself to purely intellectual assault. It is important at this stage of our revolutionary struggle to make a distinction between those who seek to promote reforms and those interested in the transformation of social relations. The revolution of the oppressed and exploited masses requires not merely intellectual assaults and attainment of political authority, but destruction of apparatus of the state power of the ruling class. An oppressive state has to be dismembered, its structures should be replaced with new ones or else people power will remain merely nominal and vulnerable to careerists and opportunists. In every struggle there are careerists and opportunists. We should remember that careerists and opportunists are fond of coming in and out of the struggle. When it suits them, they fight for the positions in the organisations, and when it is opportune for them to pursue purely personal ventures they temporarily leave the organisation and give all kinds of excuses for this kind of behaviour. But when the struggle matures they want to be future presidents and prime ministers.


AZAPO has always insisted that ours is a struggle for transformation which is dependent on the participation of the masses and full-time involvement by cadres of the BCM. This should be distinguished from a coup d’etat which can be regarded as revolution from above and not necessarily based on mass involvement. Ours has to do with the destruction of government created platforms of oppression including the Bantustans and Tricameral system. AZAPO insist that our country cannot be free unless black people are in a position to exercise power and authority over the future of their country.

To achieve this, there should be popular democracy as an essential element of mobilizing the people. That is why political intolerance and violence have always been enemies of AZAPO; because these hinder popular debate and the mobilization of the masses in order to bring about a social revolution. We recognise that societal changes can only come through mobilizing the masses, doing the small things that are relevant to the masses, leading the oppressed community through the small steps that are inter-dependent but at the same time forming part of a planned strategy for total emancipation. There cannot be any fundamental changes unless we are prepared to dismantle old structures, abolish previous privileges and consequent inequalities and establish a new order.

We in the Black Consciousness Movement have always insisted that our struggle takes the form of a National Movement whose goals includes National Independence and the elimination of minority and foreign domination, the redistribution of the land and wealth, an escape from racism and exploitation and the creation of an anti-racist, anti-sexist socialist Republic of Azania.

However, the attainment of independence has proved to be a dangerous exercise to working people in some parts of Africa where power was transferred to the neo-colonial elite who immediately created firm bases in public and private sectors. These neo-colonial elites, in order to keep themselves in power, claimed to pursue socialist and egalitarian goals and yet remained largely servants of international capital. An attempt to force these servants of international capital to move into a clear socialist and egalitarian direction by working people and peasants was crushed particularly in those countries where independence was gained without a clear revolutionary vision.

In Azania, a clear pattern is developing in this direction, where a section of the Liberation Movement appears poised to fulfil this imperialist mission. Working class organisations are also showing signs of revolutionary fatigue and political recession, in that of late with the advent of the Economic Forum – a conglomeration of champions of capital and trade union formation – trade union leaders are now fond of talking about improving “ our economy”. Since when have black workers ever had an economy of their own. Captains of capital have designed a strategy to co-opt workers and take them away from mass action through their organised leadership.

The myth that is being created by this section of the Black Trade Union Movement in Azania, that the apartheid economy of racism and capitalist exploitation can be improved and made to serve the interests of working people must be destroyed before it takes its firm roots within the working class. The same goes for the call for an Interim Government of National Unity and “sunset clauses” meant to protect and perpetuate minority rule. AZAPO maintains that national unity is attainable only when the De Klerk regime shall have given power to a government of the national majority. AZAPO does not conceive of an Interim Government of National Unity under an oppressive system. There can never be any unity between the oppressors and oppressed under the present system, and therefore nothing short of a government of the national majority is acceptable to AZAPO. Those who are interested in interim solutions, interim governments, meant to co-manage the ills of apartheid, can proceed without AZAPO, but the Black Consciousness Movement’s struggle for total emancipation will continue.

AZAPO is convinced that the imperialist strategy is very clear, that is to ensure that political power is handed over to an elite composed of former bosses and black indunas, whilst economic power remains in the hands of the whites and their international allies.


The greatest and unforgivable thing that has happened and swallowed by the leadership of a section of the Liberation Movement, was the acceptance of the ruling class logic and structures designed by it for the reform process including those meant to destabilize the Liberation Movements, but yet disguised in order to allow regime enough room to maneuver and manipulate with impunity. A more dangerous situation though is the one where these same leaders have suddenly become sales persons for the acceptance of killing structures such as the Dispute Resolution Committees. These structures in reality are nothing else but structures where political activists are encouraged to attend meetings in order to make it easy for former members of the CCB and Koevoet, including the regime’s security operatives serving in these structures, to identify these and eliminate them.

From top to bottom, with a few exceptions, these structures are financed by the regime and are manned by captains of the capital and protagonists of the apartheid ideology. These killing structures of engagement have become nests for the regime’s operatives. AZAPO is convinced that these structures were never meant to bring about peace. This whole reform trap has also affected organisations such as OAU. Instead of pursuing an independent path to liberate Azania from settler colonial domination, the OAU is now willing to operate under the auspices of these killing structures like the National Peace Accord.

We no longer hear calls for the eradication of the apartheid structures from OAU quarters and from the OAU Liberation Committee, instead we are actually called upon to join the CODESA type of negotiations. We are called upon to co-operate with SDF and the SAP, people who have no intention to liberate us. If this is the kind of choruses AZAPO will continue to hear from the OAU, heaven only knows where Africa will be after a neo-colonial government is in power in Azania.

AZAPO has time and again warned that violence which is sweeping Azania is part and parcel of the general onslaught against revolutionary movements and governments in Africa and that it is not different from violence in Mozambique and Angola. The recent Angolan elections and the imperialist onslaught against a popularly elected government, should serve as an indicator to all of us that imperialist forces only surrender when faced with people’s power. Let the people of Angola and Mozambique be warned that Pretoria will be unleashing yet another disguised strategy on them through RENAMO and UNITA. AZAPO is, however, please that the MPLA has won the first round of this struggle and wishes to encourage the MPLA government to stand firm in defence of the African revolution.

The Pretoria regime through its grand design hopes to engulf the whole of Southern Africa in its own kind of settlement which should see the likes of Savimbi and Dlakama either taking over the reigns of power or acts as deterrence to the process of social change in the respective countries. AZAPO is convinced that the De Klerk regime’s survival strategy includes the kinds of packages that can be worked out for the UNITA and RENAMO bandits. De Klerk is aware that should black people take over power in Azania, they will stop supplying arms to these bandits and this will indeed lead to a great set-back for the imperialist design. The so-called pro-democracy movements that are mushrooming in the rest of Africa should be watched carefully.

AZAPO knows that this is a war of domination which has nothing to do with how Christian De Klerk is, or how often her prays or talks about God. We understand clearly that this grand design should be destroyed. Prayers have shown, throughout our struggle to free Africa from colonial domination that God help those who are willing to put words into action.

AZAPO cannot declare peace with violent people, we cannot declare peace when our enemies are increasing the number of lethal weapons and are arming themselves daily, we cannot declare peace when the regime is busy broadening the structures of oppression, we cannot declare peace when SADF and SAP bandits are still terrorizing our people in the villages and townships, we cannot declare peace when we have no vote in the land of our birth. AZAPO is convinced that justice is the basis upon which lasting peace can be built.


What black people of this country want now more than anything else is a democratic government of the national majority. In order to achieve this goal, we should unite and in order to unit, we should organise all sections in the black community. Time and again we have preached unity, we should not tire, unity of black people can be achieved and it is through this unity that we shall have the capacity to liberate our country and people.

We should resist all power-sharing formulae and insist on majority rule for our struggle is geared at the transfer of power from the white minority to the black majority. We should also resist the continuing claims by the Nationalist Party and other groups setting unattainable time frames for the transformation of our society. AZAPO insists that if any time frame is to be set for the transformation to democracy, it must be subjected to the decisions in which each and every person will have the right to participate through a democratic, one person one vote, election. The present call for power-sharing leads to co-option into the present system and AZAPO will have nothing to do with it. Majority rule and people’s power is our goal and all efforts will be geared at attaining this. The election will be geared at a coalition government with the ANC being the credible component with which the government will consolidate and legitimise itself using the ANC. The elections are meant to extend the voter’s roll to black people and this will amount to massive co-option without delivering power to the oppressed and exploited. Out struggle does not end with vote but with the transfer of power from the white minority to the black majority and the ability to exercise that power in accordance with the needs and interests of the people.

AZAPO rejects any elections that are not meant to create a Constituent Assembly (C.A) and which are based on the present racist constitution. Our struggle is to bring about a new constitution and a new society and we should not allow our people to be misled into forming an Interim Government under the present constitution. We cannot be party to the perpetuation of a system we want to eradicate. You cannot have a national unity in an abnormal society.


The theme for this congress is, “Black Unity for Power, Peace and Liberation”. During this final stage in our struggle to liberate ourselves, we indeed need peace; we need power to determine our own destiny. Our people have been terrorized enough and are still being terrorised. Comrade and compatriots, the issues are very clear, we either struggle to the bitter end or we perish. We should remember one thing and that is, there is nothing which the regime respect more than the power and strength of the organised masses.


(A speech delivered by the President of AZAPO, Cde Pandelani Nefolovhodwe, at the opening of the 11th Biennial National Congress of AZAPO at Port Elizabeth on 26 November 1992.)

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