EMBARGO:  16:00 ON MONDAY, 17 JUNE 1991 
 
SPEECH BY THE STATE PRESIDENT, MR F W DE KLERK, PARLIAMENT, 17 JUNE 1991 
 
The year 1991 will become known in history as the year in which South Africa finally removed statutory discrimination – apartheid – from its system.  Now it belongs to history. 
 
I wish to thank Parliament sincerely for its enthusiastic support of this process.  I wish to thank you as well for your support of the positive steps directed at instituting a just dispensation – a dispensation in which all South Africans will be able to rely on equal opportunities and equal treatment by the State. 
 
The votes that have just taken place, and in the previous weeks, finally brought to an end an era in which the lives of every South African were affected in the minutest detail by racially-based legislation.  Now, everybody is free of it. 
 
Now, everybody is rid of the restrictions resulting from that racially-based legislation.  Everybody is free as well from the disparagement and denial which so often were the consequences of the legislation we are repealing.  And everybody is liberated from the moral dilemma caused by this legislation which was born and nurtured under different circumstances in a departed era. 
 
Only one final step still has to follow: 
 
A new Constitution for the Republic of South Africa which will guarantee participation and representation to all South Africans within a true democracy and with effective protection of minorities. 
 
It has to be a achieved by negotiation and is within our reach within a few years.  I do not doubt for a moment that we shall succeed. 
 
Today, the vast majority of our population are rejoicing.  They are rejoicing, because they know there is no turning back.  They are rejoicing, because they accept the inevitability of an irreversible process of liberation from racial discrimination.  They are rejoicing, because they see that we keep our word and fulfill our promises. 
 
Slegs ‘n klein minderheid van ons bevolking, gelei deur die Konserwatiewe Party en ‘n aantal buite-parlementêre splintergroepe, staan negatief en vyandig teenoor die verwydering van rassediskriminasie en die visie van ‘n nuwe, regverdige Suid-Afrika.  Hulle poog om hierdie waarheidsmoment in ons geskiedenis die basis van weerstand en selfs opstand te maak.  Met minagtende miskenning van die rede en die werklikheid buit hulle die onsekerheid van verandering, en die angs wat dit meebring, uit. 
 
Aan almal wat onseker voel en steeds hulle sekuriteit wil soek in beperkende en diskriminerende wetgewing, wil ek vandag sê: 
 
Moenie toelaat dat u die prooi word van opswepende regse politici en opstokers nie. 
 
Dink vir uself.  Kyk rondom u en weet dat u nie ‘n veilige toekoms kan bou op die miskenning van die regte van die permanente en onverwyderbare meerderheid van die bevolking nie.  Dit wat vir u dierbaar is, kan net beskerm word as daar volledige erkenning is van die menswaardigheid en die basiese regte van alle Suid-Afrikaners, ongeag ras of kleur. 
 
U kan nie u sekuriteit op onreg bou nie – en daar is geen twyfel dat die Groepsgebiedewet en ander wette wat grondbesit gereël het, asook die Bevolkingsregistrasie= 
wet – tot onreg gelei het nie. 
 
Instede van u talente en energie te laat misbruik vir negatiewe weerstand en selfs opstand, moet u dit veel eerder aanwend om u gemeenskap te dien. 
 
Neem ‘n bladsy uit die boek van die talle gemeenskappe in ons land en elders wat, sonder die beskerming van wette, uitmuntend daarin slaag om hulleself te bly en dit wat vir hulle belangrik is, in stand te hou.  Dit sal moontlik wees in ‘n regverdige nuwe Suid-Afrika. 
 
Daar sal voorsorg getref word vir die dinge wat u en my – en talle ander Suid-Afrikaners – so naby aan die hart lê:  gemeenskapsregte, gemeenskapsgerigte onderwys, die beskerming van minderhede teen onderdrukking en oorheersing – dit alles moet en sal ingebou word in die nuwe bedeling. 
 
Die Konserwatiewe Party, wat ons uitkryt as verraaiers, moet weet dat ons nie vir hulle skrik nie.  Ons glo aan wat ons doen.  Die nastreef van geregtigheid op die enigste praktiese en uitvoerbare wyse kan nooit verraad wees nie.  Dit is ons plig en roeping.  Die vasklou aan onuitvoerbare beleidsrigtings, wat dikwels – juis omdat dit onuitvoerbaar is – ook prinsipiëel onverdedigbaar is, is kortsigtig.  Dit is pligsversaking en roepingsontduiking.  Daaraan is die Konserwatiewe Party en sy makkers skuldig. 
 
There is also another group of doubters to whom I wish to speak specifically.  They are those who still do not trust the Government and who suspect us of planning behind the scenes to perpetuate discrimination in another guise.  Nothing is further from the truth.  The Government is unqualified in its commitment to the elimination of racial discrimination from every law and act of Government.  Nothing in the repealing legislation is in conflict with this commitment.  In fact, it substantiates our seriousness and sincerity. 
 
Mr Speaker, I wish to emphasise that the Government, in removing every form of discrimination and in taking its initiatives of reform and renewal, desires only to serve the best interests of South Africa and all its people.  We are not doing it to gain international recognition.  We are not working to the agendas of the United States, Africa or Europe in order to have sanctions lifted or to gain favour. 
 
We wish to do that which is right for South Africa.  The fact that this has led already to international breakthroughs is a bonus.  Similarly, one may expect further international developments to follow if anything like morality exists in international politics.   That, too, will be welcome, but it is not our primary objective. 
 
Ons primêre doelwit is om vrede, voorspoed, vooruitgang en verteenwoordiging vir alle Suid-Afrikaners te verseker.  In die nastreef van hierdie doelwit het ons indrukwekkende vordering gemaak in die periode sedert 6 September 1989 – vordering wat veel wyer strek as net die omvattende herroeping van diskriminerende wetgewing.  Daar was in dieselfde tydperk positiewe ontwikkelinge op verskeie terreine, wat hoop vir die toekoms inhou. 
 
Laat my toe om, sonder om aanspraak op volledigheid te maak, ‘n kort geheelbeeld te stel. 
 
Op die terrein van die beëindiging van diskriminasie is nie net die Groepsgebiedewet, Grondwette en Bevolkingsregistrasiewet nou herroep nie, maar ook die Wet op Aparte Geriewe.  Statutêre rassediskriminasie is hierdeur eerlik en volledig verwyder en bewerings tot die teendeel het geen substansie nie. 
 
Die politieke speelveld is gelyk gemaak met die ontperking van organisasies en partye soos die ANC en andere, asook deur die opheffing van die noodtoestand. 
 
Vryheid van spraak en organisering is erken deur die toelating van protesoptogte en vergaderings, slegs onderhewig aan billike beheermaatreëls. 
 
Vrylating van gevangenes het reeds in 1987 op eie inisiatief van die Regering begin met mnre Sisulu, Mbeki (snr.) en andere, gevolg met dié van mnr Mandela in Februarie 1990.  In aansluiting hierby het die Regering die inisiatief geneem en wetgewing voorgestel wat vrywaring vir uitgeweke Suid-Afrikaners moontlik gemaak het. 
 
Dit alles het gelei tot die Groote Schuur- en Pretoria-minute en die D F Malan-beraad ten gevolge waarvan duisende uitgewekenes die land kan binnekom.  Tegelykertyd het dit die deure van die gevangenis oopgemaak vir meer as ‘n duisend sogenaamde politieke gevangenes.  Selfs diegene wat nie duidelik hiervoor kwalifiseer nie, het billike meganismes tot hulle beskikking om tog wel oorweeg te word. 
 
The Government has gone to extremes to create mechanisms to fulfill its obligations under the Pretoria Minute effectively, to ensure that all applications for indemnity, immunity or release are dealt with expeditiously and responsibly.  The release process was conducted in continuous consultation and co-operation with the ANC.  From the Government’s side, everything possible is being done to expedite matters. 
 
The impression has been created in the media that the return of the so-called exiles is being delayed by the process of indemnity.  In this respect, it should be noted that the two matters are not linked to one another. 
 
To date, approximately 7 000 applications have been received by the Department of Home Affairs for the return of these “exiles” to the Republic.  Of this number, only a fraction have actually returned.  The fact is that the tempo of their return is determined, not by the Government, but by the returnees themselves.  No one can be forced to return. 
 
Similarly, the tempo of applications for indemnity cannot be  determined by the Government, but is determined by the rate at which applications are submitted by those who committed crimes and do not wish to be prosecuted.  Up to the 14th June 1991, indemnity was granted to 5 562 people.  Since the 2nd February 1990, and up to and including the 14th June 1991, a total of 1 022 security and security/unrest related prisoners were released in terms of the various measures applicable, but particularly as a result of the categories announced by the Government to facilitate and expedite the process. 
 
The last category was announced on the 24th April 1991 and, as the Minister of Justice indicated, did in fact constitute a general amnesty, excluding only those offences involving serious common law crimes. 
 
After having applied all of these categories, only the applications of those who have, in fact, committed serious crimes such as murder or robbery, still remain to be considered.  These remaining applications, therefore, are only those in respect of which there may be a dispute as to whether they fall within the guide-lines for defining political offences which qualify for release or relief. 
 
The dispute involved is whether the applicants have a valid and reasonable claim to political status.  This, obviously, calls for the serious consideration of every case, as it could discredit the entire judicial system, not to mention the principles of criminal justice and the rule of law, if prisoners were simply to be released indiscriminately. 
 
There is no delay in this process of consideration.  The mechanism agreed upon is in place and is functioning well. 
 
Op talle ander terreine is daar inisiatief geneem om misstande en agterstande uit die weg te ruim, geleenthede te skep en ‘n positiewe klimaat te bevorder.  Daaronder tel: 
 
  – die aanvaarding van agtien belangrike wette ter hervorming van die reg en die regsproses; 
 
  – die wetsontwerp gerig op fundamentele verandering van veiligheidswetgewing sodat die demokratiese proses geensins inhibeer word nie; 
 
  – wetgewing gerig op hulp aan slagoffers van geweld, onder bepaalde omstandighede; 
 
  – voorstelle en ‘n opwindende debat oor ‘n strategie vir onderwysvernuwing asook vir gesondheid; 
 
  – goeie vordering met die uitskakeling van die laaste oorblywende dispariteite in pensioene en toelaes; 
 
  – die uitsonderlike bewilliging van gesamentlik R4 miljard vir onderwys, behuising en spesiale projekte gerig op verbeterde lewenskwaliteit bo en behalwe normale begrotingsvoorsiening; 
 
  – die Witskrif oor Grondbesit met die gepaardgaande wetgewing om grond vir almal makliker en goedkoper toeganklik te maak. 
 
Op die gebied van onderhandeling het die Regering uit sy pad gegaan om struikelblokke uit die weg te ruim.  Goeie vordering is gemaak en word steeds gemaak.  Daar word oor ‘n wye spektrum indringend dialoog gevoer. 
 
Die drie hoofooreenkomste met die ANC was van deurslaggewende belang.  Anders as wat voorgehou word in sommige van die media, gaan gesprek en dialoog steeds voort. 
 
Die werklikheid is dat die Regering en die ANC voortgaan om langs verskeie kanale met mekaar te kommunikeer oor dieselfde aangeleenthede waarmee hulle voor die sogenaamde ultimatum gehandel het.  Die ANC bly ook steeds betrokke in die werkgroepe waarin die organisasie en die Regering tot op hede sekere spesifieke aangeleenthede aangespreek het. 
 
Onderhandeling is nog basies op koers. 
 
Ook met ander partye, soos Inkatha en die ander partye in die selfregerende gebiede, word goed gevorder.   Dieselfde geld gesprekke met kerkleiers en ander belangegroepe. 
 
Daar was in besonder bevredigende vordering in gesprekke met buite-parlementêre politieke leiers wat op ‘n positiewe wyse binne huidige owerheidstrukture optree. 
 
Wat werklik ter sake is, is die spoedige afsluiting van die huidige fase van gesprekvoering wat geskied met die oog op die verwydering van struikelblokke in die weg van werklike onderhandeling.  Vanuit die Regering se oogpunt is daar byvoorbeeld die noodsaak vir die ANC om van die blote opskorting van die gewapende stryd na die finale beëindiging daarvan te beweeg. 
 
Wat nodig is, is dat die ANC sal ophou om hom as ‘n semi-militêre beweging voor te doen en hom eerder moet toespits op aangeleenthede en aktiwiteite wat by ‘n politieke party tuishoort. 
 
Laastens, ten opsigte van die voortslepende geweld, is daar ook sterk en verreikende inisiatiewe geneem.  Die Polisiemag is versterk met 10 000 lede en deur groter bewilliging van fondse.  Burgermaglede en Polisie op die reserwelys word gereeld opgeroep om aan mannekragbehoeftes te voldoen.  Tans is daar duisende wat aldus met groot opoffering ontplooi word in ‘n poging om geweld omvattend te bekamp.  Dit is ‘n voortdurende proses wat van tyd tot tyd fluktueer.  Indien nodig, sal die Regering nie huiwer om nog sterker op te tree nie. 
 
Daar hou dit egter nie op nie.  ‘n Breë verstandhouding rondom tradisionele wapens is bereik en wetgewing oor gevaarlike wapens word tans hersien.  Gesprek, in opvolging van die onlangse Beraad oor Geweld en Intimidasie, duur ook voort en sal hopelik eersdaags vrugte oplewer. 
 
Tegelykertyd sal u gevra word om nog hierdie week wetgewing af te handel ten einde ‘n Staande Kommissie insake Geweld en Intimidasie in te stel.  Die doelwit is die daarstelling van ‘n objektiewe instrument ter bestryding van geweld en intimidasie, wat voldoende bevoegdhede sal hê dat dit ook staatsoptrede sal kan evalueer en onpartydige veiligheidsoptrede sal kan toets. 
 
Geweld durf en sal nie toegelaat word om die vernuwingsproses te kelder nie.  Trouens, die heel jongste aanduidings oor geweld toon ‘n afname wat bemoedigend is. 
 
Dit alles saam gee inderdaad ‘n geheelbeeld van vordering en dinamiese verandering.   
 
Taken together, all of this does, indeed, constitute a comprehensive picture of progress and dynamic change.  The new South Africa is on the march.  Nothing can stop it any more.  The whole process has developed its own dynamics which are greater than the will or recalcritance of any participant. 
 
It is easy for any party, and for critics and observers at home and abroad, to find fault here and point to a weakness there if they prefer to look at single trees instead of at the wood.  Such an attitude, however, makes no contribution.  If anything, it has a negative effect.  What is needed now, is constructive involvement and encouragement by all who are able to make a contribution.  Then the new and just South Africa, which can no longer be stopped by anyone, will become a reality sooner. 
 
Naturally, there are deficiencies and difficulties occur now and then.  However, problems of that kind are there to be solved.  Everybody should know that the Government has the will to do it.  We are not playing games.  The peaceful future of our country and all its people is at stake.  Petty politics and trying to be clever will get us nowhere.  The best place for the removal of obstacles is at the negotiating table itself. 
 
And the best way to ensure rapid progress, which is what everyone wants, is to take the next important step along the road of negotiation.  That means multi-party talks at a multi-party conference. 
 
The concept has been accepted already by all of the important actors. 
 
The most important obstacles have been removed already, or are on the point of being removed. 
 
Only a few steps remain, including the necessity of the ANC placing itself now on a sound footing that will make its constructive participation possible.  That includes: 
 
its full co-operation on outstanding questions relating to arms caches and the final abandoning of the so-called armed struggle; 
 
the elimination of consecutive marches and petitions which are often merely repetitive; 
 
the acquisition of a broad mandate that will give its leaders the authority to negotiate; 
 
avoiding rigid declarations which preclude sensible compromises and even make them impossible;  the promotion of tolerance among its supporters to opposing points of view and opposing organisations; 
 
scaling down demands that lead to winner/loser situations. 
 
In short, the ANC should now begin to think, talk and act like an organisation which really believes in negotiation and is committed to it. 
 
On its part, the Government will do everything possible to get the multi-party conference off the ground.  We have not been dragging our feet and have no intention of doing so.  It is possible to begin holding a multi-party conference before the end of 1991. 
 
Do we realise how close we are to the final breakthrough? 
 
All who desire peace desire of all the actors that they should begin performing in respect of the negotiating process.  They are even impatient.  The vast majority of South Africans want to see action now.  They are tired of words. 
 
The Government stands ready to play its part.  We have kept our word on every promise we have been able to fulfill already.  We will also keep our word about that which still has to be done. 
 
Enough has happened to convince even the most sceptical participant or observer that we are irreversibly on the road to a new, negotiated and just constitutional dispensation.  No-one need doubt any longer that it will happen. 
 
Die antwoord hierop lê menslik gesproke in die hande van die leierskorps in Suid-Afrika.  My oproep aan hulle is: 
 
Kom ons doen dit nou! 
 
Die tyd is ryp vir sterk, rasionele en oorwoë leierskap. 
 
Die tyd vir breë, algemene en klimaatskeppende dialoog is verby. 
 
Die tyd eis van ons om oor te gaan tot skeppende denke en dade. 
 
Daarvoor is die Nasionale Party en die Regering gereed en voorbereid.