Over the last six months we have seen political changes that were unthinkable a year ago. In October last year Comrade Walter Sisulu and six other high-ranking ANC leaders were released. In February the ANC, the SACP and the PAC were unbanned, and Comrade Nelson Mandela was released. All these events are bound to change the face of South African politics. Our country will surely never be the same again!
We at Learn and Teach Publications, like millions of other people, have for a long time demanded the unbanning of the ANC, the release of Comrade Mandela and all other political prisoners, the return of our brothers and sisters in exile and the removal of troops from the townships. Therefore, we welcome what Mr De Klerk has done so far.
We are, however, disappointed that not all that we hoped for — and have been struggling for — has yet been achieved. The State of Emergency has not been lifted altogether, not all political prisoners have been released and the position of the exiles is still not clear.
In other words, we echo the call on Mr De Klerk to meet all the conditions laid down in the Harare Declaration if he is really serious about a negotiated settlement and a peaceful future.
We have every right to celebrate the victories of the past few months. They are great victories indeed. But it would be a mistake to think that freedom is around the corner.
It was the long and heroic struggle of the people that pushed Mr De Klerk to do what he did. We must continue to push.
The unbanning of the ANC and the release of Comrade Mandela poses great challenges for us.
We must not rest, we must work harder than before, we must strengthen our organisations, build new ones where they did not exist.
We must organise more people into our ranks, win more and more people to our side and tirelessly inform and educate our people about the fact that the road to freedom is still long and victory has to be worked for, very hard.
To repeat the words of Comrade Mandela after his release: “Now is the time to intensify the struggle on all fronts. To relax our efforts now would be a mistake which generations to come will not be able to forgive…It is only through disciplined mass action that our victory can be assured.”