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Letter to the Editors
THE ANC CONFERENCE: FROM KABWE TO JOHANNESBURG
The Kabwe conference of the ANC in 1985 pleased only the security depart
ment of the ANC together with its corrupt leaders. The conference had no
grain of democracy.
Throughout the proceedings, chaired by various leaders of the SACP such
as Dan Tloome, John Nkadimeng and Jack Simons, the most crucial problems
facing the ANC were evaded and some not even mentioned. The division in
Umkhonto we Sizwe that was so apparent at the time was not even discussed.
The report of the carnivorous security department was not read to the
conference. The report of the Stuart Commission [which had investigated the
1984 mutiny in Umkhonto; see Bandile Ketelo et al, 'A Miscarriage of
Democracy' Searchlight South Africa No 5, pp 48-9—eds] was also not tabled.
Chris Hani [then the army commissar] arrogantly said the Stuart Commission
was appointed by the National Executive Committee not the conference,
implying that the NEC was above the conference, in violation of one of the
basic principles of the ANC. In the ANC the conference is above all.
It is important to note that the behaviour of Chris Hani was condoned by the
President O.R. Tambo and Joe Slovo [now general secretary of the SACP],
who said nothing to reprimand this despot, their subordinate, who was so rude
and uncontrollable in the ANC. When a few elected delegates tried to raise
these questions they were shouted down by Hani, who categorically stated that
the NEC would guide the conference, thus violating the rights of delegates.
That is the behaviour of a Politburo member of the Communist Party, typical
of Stalinist behaviour rooted in the ANC. It is unfortunate that the ANC has
been under such men, lawyers who courageously fought against Apartheid
brutality but on the contrary practised this brutality against their political
opponents. Fear and intimidation reigned in the conference.
The ANC Security (Mbokodo) was and is still above the law. It has killed,
tortured and maimed innocent cadres for smoking dagga [marijuana] and
drinking liquor from Angolan villages, claiming that they were doing the work
of the enemy. It is important to remember that the Apartheid regime never
killed anyone for smoking dagga, but the ANC did, all under the cover of
securing the Revolution. In doing this it had the protection of tried and tested
O.R. Tambo. No security officer was ever put on trial or questioned for killing.
People were killed under the umbrella of securing the ANC. To question or
ask for clarification on the behaviour of security could lead one to Quatro
[officially, Camp 32]. Talking about the need for holding a conference was only
in whispers.
When the conference took place, there were more appointed officials than
elected delegates. The funny thing was that the appointees and the delegates
had the same rights in the conference: very unconstitutional. Normally officials
are not supposed to have the right to vote. They can be elected but they are
not supposed to vote because they have no mandate from the people, as they
have no constituencies. At Kabwe these officials included not only chief
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