The Presidential Years

Madiba (wearing one of his silk shirts Indonesian style) at the podium with ANC banner and shakes hands with Mathole Motshekga

Now it’s a great deal of comfort and satisfaction that these proceedings were opened with a prayer. There is a tendency amongst some of our people to despise religion and yet religion and religious leaders constitute a fundamental foundation, pillar of any society. It is particularly important in our present-day South Africa because of the high level of crime and corruption. Not only in the old civil service of apartheid but also among our own people in government with whom we thought we would end corruption. And therefore, we must welcome any force which is going to strengthen our moral character, our moral code. And to that extent religion is critical. And it’s not accidental that this meeting starts with a blessing from ministers. We do that in every one of our meetings and I hope that you are as happy as I am that we received a blessing from our religious leaders.

[READS FROM SPEECH] It is a pleasure for me to be here today. In just a week’s time you will be going to the polls to vote in the second ever democratic national and provincial election in South Africa. In that election it is imperative that you vote for the organisation that has the capacity and the will to speed up change in South Africa.

It is critical that you vote for the organisation that has the record of fighting for change in South Africa. Since 1994 the ANC has fought against the odds to change a government geared to serve a minority into one that serves the interest of all South Africans. Our experience has confirmed that progress is difficult with many obstacles to overcome. But now changes are beginning to happen. Almost 750 000 more families have a roof over their heads on land that belongs to them. And since 1994 three million more people have access to clean water. Since our country’s first democratic election 1 300 more homes have been electrified daily. Since 1994 the majority of South Africa’s children enjoy better access to education with 1.5 million more children now in the education system; 10 000 classrooms have been built or upgraded and 5 million children now get a daily meal at schools around the country, enhancing their ability to learn and grow. But many challenges still lie ahead. The huge advances that have been made do not make the ANC satisfied in fact they make us all the more impatient to meet the basic needs of all South Africans. We must work together to make change happen faster to ensure that every South African has a secure home, access to water and electricity and that all South Africa’s children have access to quality education.

[LOOKS UP FROM HIS SPEECH] Please, please, let those people who have placards – just stop that man whose talking to people. [POINTING] Stop them. Stop him. Stop him. Please, don’t worry them. This is a democratic country; they are fully entitled to come and display their cards and to protest. In fact, I want to see those placards because I want to see what they say. [CHEERS] [CAMERA FOCUSES ON PLACARDS WHICH READ: “Min 5% population disabled = We demand public transport carrying disabled passengers”; “No transport plan No transport Bill” and “No Transport No Jobs No Vote” because we are a strong organisation that is invincible. There is no organisation anywhere in this country that can threaten the African National Congress. We are very strong [APPLAUSE AND CHEERS] and we function from a position of strength and that is why we don’t fear any slogans, any criticism because we can answer it. I can see there, ‘Stop discrimination’. Just read it out. No no just stop and read it. Just read it ‘Stop discrimination Mandatory delivery in land transport bill’. [SOMEONE TELLS MADIBA THEY ARE FROM A DISABLED ORGANISATION]. I see, I see. OK we’ll deal with that. [GOES BACK TO READING FROM HIS SPEECH] I say the huge advances do not make the ANC complacent. In fact they make us all the more impatient to meet the basic needs of all South Africans. We must work together to make change happen faster to ensure that every South African has a secure home, access to water and electricity and that all South Africa’s children have access to quality education. In Riverlea, we must ensure that the land on which houses have been built is handed over to the community [CHEERS] through local government. It must be handed over through local government, provincial government and the people of Riverlea, Riverlea putting increased pressure on the mining house that owns the land. They must now give over that land to the people of Riverlea [CHEERS]. In Riverlea we must ensure that welfare payments are delivered speedily to beneficiaries. [CHEERS] We must ensure in Riverlea that no business gets away with distorting affirmative action for their own mischievous ends. Affirmative action legislation clearly outlines that all those who have been discriminated against in the past, African, coloured and Indian people, disabled people and women must have access to opportunities denied to them in the past. It is only through working together that we can ensure that businesses do not get away with continuing to discriminate against the people of this community. We must work together to combat crime and corruption and make our communities safe havens in which our children can grow. In particular in Riverlea this means that growing gangsterism must be rooted out. [CHEERS] New anti-gang laws must be implemented harshly to ensure that this community is not terrorised by elements bent on destroying its social fabric. But to be tough on crime means that we also have to be tough on the underlying causes of crime such as poverty and inequality. We must work together to create sustainable jobs for the people of this country through the rapid implementation of the Jobs Summit proposals. The ANC understands that without a job you cannot enjoy the freedoms that we have fought so hard to achieve and that is why we have developed together with unions, business and communities a jobs plan to be implemented with speed and determination. The ANC, led by a new generation of leaders, led by Thabo Mbeki will strive with all its strength to ensure that these programmes are realised. The ANC will ensure that all of us enjoy the freedoms for which many generations sacrificed so much. But all of this requires your participation and that participation begins on June 2nd when we must go out in our numbers and make our mark next to the organisation that will, together with you, continue to fight for change in South Africa. On June 2nd we must go out in our multitudes and vote for the organisation that has the commitment to the transformation of our country. On June 2nd join me and vote for the ANC, for South Africa and for the ANC of Gauteng and together we shall continue the fight for change in South Africa. And together we shall continue to fight to reach our objective of creating a better life for all.


Now, I just want to add. I want to add that Marthinus Van Schalkwyk of the National Party made an opportunistic statement which he knew to be false when he said the African National Congress does not care for coloureds, it cares for Africans. Any intelligent and honest leader will never make that statement because of all organisations in this country it is the African National Congress that cares best for the coloured people as I’m going to demonstrate. [CHEERS] Let us just take the racial composition in the National Party during the last session of Parliament. In the National Assembly the National Party had 82 members of the National Assembly, 82. Twenty-seven were coloureds, Indians and Africans. And 55% [sic] were white. More than double the number of coloureds, Africans and Indians. Fifty-five were white and that represents a minority of less than 14% in the country. Their cousins, the Democratic Party [LAUGHTER and CHEERS] exactly the same. In the National Assembly the Democratic Party had only six members in the National Assembly. Only six -- all lily white [CHEERS]. They have declared war on the African National Congress because the African National Congress has done something which they have not done and they have never done. When I was elected President I thought carefully about who should be in charge of my office as President of the country. I then took Professor Jakes Gerwel, a coloured man [CHEERS] who was until then the principal of the University of the Western Cape. He is in charge of my office, he is my boss. [LAUGHTER] A coloured person. On the Cabinet I appointed two members of the coloured community. Trevor Manuel who is now the Minister of Finance and by common consent among business people he is one of the best Finance Ministers in the history of this country [CHEERS]. For Welfare I appointed a young lady who is still in her 30s – Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi. She is Minister of Welfare and Population Development. For one of the most important ambassadors, embassies – New York, I mean that is Washington, I appointed Dr. Franklin Sonn – another coloured intellectual from the Western Cape. I sent him to Washington to represent us. In London I sent Cheryl Carolus, another young lady from the coloured community in the Western Cape. She is now our Ambassador in London. There is Dr. Eltie Links, a member of the coloured community from the Western Cape. He now represents us in Brussels, he negotiates with the European Union. Now, my residence in Cape Town was called Westbrooke, a colonial name. I was not satisfied because the majority of the population of the Western Cape is coloured and I wanted a name which reflects coloured history, coloured culture and I called a number of coloured leaders and I said, ‘What name shall we give to this? I want to change this colonial name.’ We agreed on the name Genadendal [CHEERS]


​clip#02>43473MT>26/5/1999>Mandela Election Roadshow, Riverlea

Original Source

SABC Information Library, Johannesburg.