Politics aside, you could probably count Musa Aman as a rather popular personality. No other state’s population rallies around its Chief Minister as does Sabah for Musa Aman. Sabahans are proud of the national appeal he has, and the bad press that he was given in the early days of his chiefministership does not really matter to them. We must look at why that is.

The first thing we observe is his charisma. He is the most talented politician of his generation, if by talent we mean the ability to attract people to him. The connection he has with his audience is almost unmatched. He is one of the three best communicators in Malaysia, the other two being Anwar Ibrahim and Mat Sabu.

All three men has also been known to combine humour, drama and colloquial speak. All three, and not accidentally either, are entertainers. Performers of high calibre. Musa is very comfortable with large crowds. His quality can only by hinted at to those who don’t understand and speak Sabahan Malay. He speaks Sabahan Malay, touched by the accent of neither the rough parts of Keningau and Beaufort, nor the urban slang of Kota Kinabalu.

The second thing is that he is not a race/religious-based leader. Like Lim Guan Eng and Tan Sri Khalid and unlike Tan Sri Adenan Satem, and Shafie Apdal, or even Salleh Said Keruak, Musa’s electoral popularity does not come from belonging to a community. Musa is a Dusun/Pathan from the Gunsanad family originating from the Sundang, the Sodomon family in Keningau and the Aman family from Beaufort. It is not numerically significant in Sabah in electoral terms, and not a vote-bank he can rely on. In any case he neither makes reference to it, nor does he have the reputation for promoting fellow Dusuns or Muslims. Despite his Dusun background, he has been able to rally around him the votaries of Muslims, which in Sabah are mainly the majority.

The third thing is that he has it together organisationally. His attention to details can be compared to the Former Penang Chief Minister Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu, who was as meticulous in running his everyday administration as Musa is. I have never been admitted to Musa’s office for an appointment a single minute later than scheduled. If he says he will meet you at 8, it will be exactly then when an assistant comes to fetch you from the waiting room.

His fourth quality is the ability to judge which events are likely to be popular, and jargon that will and can capture the imagination. This is an important political talent in a nation where slogans are used everywhere. On admittedly a much smaller scale, in this sense he is like Anwar Ibrahim, who through his career coined words and phrases that did not exist before, such as “Professor Kangkung” and “Pandi Kutti”. Musa’s contribution are things like “Halatuju Sabah”, and “Vibrant Borneo”. He can encapsulate much meaning into a couple of throwaway words. And he can get the media to use them, a sign of success. And it is true that there have been other great organisers who became chief minister of Sabah, like Tan Sri Harris Salleh.

Hence, it is rare that any politician is really able to embody all four elements –charisma, broad appeal, organisational ability, and political talent.

Even the most contentious issue, the 5% oil royalty, which has been a source of unhappiness to every Sabahan since the Petroleum Development Act of 1974 and how Musa a Sabahan views it, is so profound. Musa is certainly aware that it is time to review the oil revenue-or profit-sharing agreement between Sabah, the federal government and Petronas, the national oil company. Presently, the federal government is the sole shareholder of Petronas.

The Petroleum Development Act of 1974 came into play after Petronas signed the first production sharing contracts with Shell, Exxon and other foreign oil companies in 1976. Under a complex mechanism, Petronas sets aside 10% of gross revenue from oil and gas production for cash payments to the federal government and oil-producing states. Out of this money, the federal takes half and the states keep the balance. The Federal Government gets a flat annual dividend of RM 28 billion. Last year it got 30 billion ringgit out of a profit of RM 63 billion. Sabah expects about only RM 800 million in petroleum royalties this year.

But, it receives about four times more than its 5% oil royalty from the federal government for its social and infrastructure development under each succeeding five-year Malaysia plan. Federal grants are estimated at about RM 350 million. The state has got slightly more than RM 10 billion to carry out 424 projects under the first phase of a rolling plan of the 10th Malaysia plan which started last year.

So hear this very carefully, Sabah contributes a little more than a quarter of Malaysia’s crude oil production of about 635,000 barrels a day. Petronas’ profits over the years from Sabah’s oil and gas could be in billions up to now. So, it is not late for The Federal Government to consider more participation of Sabah State Government in Petronas itself which is raking the billions from Sabah. Converting Sabah’s share of oil and gas revenue into equity with Petronas will be very fair. Start with 20%, let Sabah government have 20% ownership in Petronas.

This does not in anyway cause any financial burden to the Federal Government, Petronas will just have to issue share certificates to Sabah State Government and there is no cash transaction. And every year instead of “cash payments” or “royalties”, Sabah would receive dividends as shareholders with Petronas. Besides, Petronas continues to be profitable and is the most diversified company having investments in almost every corner of this world and Petronas is the only company in Malaysia which is a Fortune 500 company. Last year, the conglomerate paid RM 5.4 billion in “petroleum proceeds” to the federal and state governments.

Giving Sabah a stake in Petronas would surely help their integration in Malaysia. After almost 50 years, it is still not too late to start. This would certainly help to diminish Sabahans’ sense of loss of their natural resources.


For long, Sabah was considered a “poverty” state, what with extreme destitution, a massive influx of illegal immigrants and corruption being considered synonymous with the state. But all that is now history. The state is now on the fast track to shed its “poverty” tag, having achieved one of the highest GDP growth rates in recent years. The iconic changes have been ushered in by the Musa Aman-led government after he took over the reins in 2003.

The metamorphosis has not gone unnoticed in the country as well as abroad. Sabah is now considered a state on the move, thanks to improvement in governance, law and order, infrastructure and financial discipline. “My first three priorities are governance, governance and governance,” Musa had once said. The stress on governance was primarily because of his finding that Sabah had suffered not just because of bad governance but also due to a lack of it. After taking oath as the chief minister, he embarked on the journey of development with justice. Till recently, it was beyond the people’s imagination that Sabah could embark on a trajectory of development, and an inclusive and equitable one too.

Profile of the state started changing since late 2003. Plan expenditure leapfrogged from RM1.22 billion in 1984 to RM3.84 billion in 2013. The annual growth rate of Gross State Domestic Product, which averaged 2.42% between 1999-2000 and 2004-05, jumped to 7.36% for 2013. Even tourism receipts of RM 6.35 billion for 2013 was the highest record where 3.3 million tourist arrivals of which 2.29 million was domestic arrivals. This growth rate and the consequent transformation in the economic profile of the state made the country sit up and take notice, since it had surpassed many developed states.

“Sabah’s turnaround illustrates how a handful of seemingly small changes can yield big results in Sabah’s most impoverished and badly governed districts. Sabah is a textbook case of how leadership determines development. At a recent speech at the premier assembly with members of the State and Federal public service personnel at the auditorium Menara Tun Mustapha, Musa said since the people have given the mandate to the Barisan National to lead the people in Sabah, it was imperative for civil servants to deliver and ensure the success of policies and programmes that had been planed.

In the same speech he also talked about prudence, he being in the East-coast of Sabah in Brumas a week ago, visiting Yayasan Sabah subsidary the Sabah SoftWoods, and the next day he had to go for Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching’s Chinese New Year Open House in Tawau. He could have driven down from Brumas to Tawau which was just an hour’s drive and stayed at the Promenade Hotel’s suite with a few other rooms for his security personals. This could have easily cost the state RM five thousand, but he refused to spent that money and instead stayed on at YS Guest house for free. He was similiarly requested by former deputy chief Minister of Sabah, Tham Nyip Shen to come down to Tawau and stay in comfort at the hotel but Musa adamantly refused. Now we know how Musa accumulated more than RM3 billion in cash reserves for the Sabah state government.

Remember, under Musa, Sabah has been given recognition by the Auditor-General for its financial administration and 9 agencies, including district offices and departments, all having been given four-star rating. Many who had given up on Sabah are constantly astonished by the ‘turnaround’ of the state. Musa Aman has achieved the status of a miracle worker.  How did he manage to resurrect the state? Musa works well under Prime Minister  Najib Tun Razak and his younger Foreign Minister brother Anifah is also a political ally of Najib. Putrajaya sees him as someone who is reliable and the Prime Minister even once said to Musa, “I have been to all the states but when I think about Sabah, I can sleep well.”

Musa is a professional manager. His years as a banker, businessman and Sabah Finance Minister has certainly proven to be of great help to Sabahans. But more than a minister or chief minister, Musa thinks of himself as a politician. A professional politician. Although he exudes an air of supremacy but he is still humble. When he took over as chief minister in 2003, he would often remind civil servants that his ministry had the greatest stake in the performance of the government, not the bureaucracy. If the government achieved success, his ministry would get all the credit; if it failed, his ministry would have to bear all the blame. In short the bureaucrats wouldn’t have lost their jobs – He would. So, from the outset, he concentrated on driving the bureaucracy. During the years when Sabah had so many chief ministers at the helm, the bureaucracy had stopped thinking because the leader never provoked them, or taking action because it was not expected of them. Problems remained unresolved in the absence of ideas. Implementation of programmes lagged for lack of exertion.

The twin problems Musa faced were of his people suffering and him having to propel a paraplegic bureaucracy to join him in his attempt to resolve that suffering. In the initial few months of his first tenure Musa held long meetings with officers of all departments. He tried to understand where things stood, where they were going wrong, and in the process also gauge the quality of senior bureaucrats: how much each bureaucrat understood his job, whether he had new ideas to offer, how much of a leader he was; who was a charlatan, who had a social conscience, who was earnest, who was a shirker.

Musa used a hands-on approach in all areas. That was his style. He would not be there just to frame policies and draw up programmes and leave the implementation to the bureaucracy. He did not believe in the conventional method of governance as it had come to be followed in post-Independence Sabah. He believed implementation was the key. Governments usually faltered on implementation. Ministers would call officers to meetings and lecture them on policies and programmes, and there the involvement ended. Once the officers saw the chief minister individually involved, they got involved themselves. There was somebody watching them. Musa regularly monitored the progress of the programmes. That kept up the momentum.

Sermons did not help; what worked was the delegation of powers. Responsibility would still be considered a burden by officers if no authority was given to them. Musa framed a policy delegating authority down the line from the minister of a department to the junior-most officer for approval of projects of a progressively declining amount. Authority for approval of projects and freedom of action alone, however, could not have brought about the success in his ‘Halatuju’ development framework for the state which focused on tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing. There was a wholly new driving force he had created that worked wonders. Musa was even successful in further preventing occurrence of another Lahad Datu Style intrusion by bloodthirsty crackpots from Southern Philippines. The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) has stepped up security measures, with heightened alert from the military and police, in the 10 districts placed under the Esszone.

Sabah is far from becoming a paradise despite these initiatives.

The best that can be said of the transformation Musa Aman has brought is that he has pulled Sabah back from the dead. That is a significant accomplishment in itself. At last Sabah has shown stirrings of life. But there is a long way to go but Musa has put the Sabah administration back on an even keel and brought changes to the state.

In a recent development, unscrupulous elements are trying to drum up religious sentiments in Sabah to disrupt harmony among peaceful Sabahns. So I asked Musa what his take is on this. Interestingly, he said “Sabahans must get on with their lives and not be carried away by certain quarters who are trying to create chaos and confusion. Sabahans must take heed of the experience of countries that fell into abyss from prosperity due to distrust and lack of respect for each other’s religion and belief. The present generation and leadership should strive for excellence to be inherited by the next generation, instead of destruction, sufferings and misery.”

Musa said about the changing Sabah: “The state is experiencing all-round development because of our policy of ensuring that the benefits of development first go to those at the bottom of the social ladder. Over the years, we rose above the feelings of race and religion, and have worked tirelessly on the agenda of inclusive development of the state.” Musa believes in the maxim of “miles to go before I sleep”. He once told me “I work 24×7 without a break, thinking often of the philosophy of uninterrupted service day and night. I understand this will need to go on without any let-up, so that more and more people join hands to bring a brighter future. I am not fully satisfied with the work done. But one has to remain dissatisfied only to move ahead with vigour. I feel satisfied seeing the happy faces of people, who are now living without any fear.”


The Academy Awards are most closely associated with expensive, red carpet dresses and banal acceptance speeches. There is rarely space for the edgy, politically meaningful, or foreign. This year, however, one Oscar nominee for best documentary feature, “The Act of Killing,” resurrects one of the great “forgotten” mass murders, some would say genocide, of 20th Century Asia.

The murderous Khmer Rouge in Cambodia is well known to have killed up to three million people. Estimating the death toll of Communist Party misadventures in China continues to produce internationally acclaimed books with figures as high as 45 million for the famine that resulted from the Great Leap Forward. And yet, while killings by communists are well publicised, the killing of communists, has received far less attention.

However, between 5,00,000 and three million communists, or people branded as communists, were slaughtered in Indonesia between 1965-67, a massacre that has been airbrushed out of Indonesian history textbooks and the world’s consciousness at large.

“The Act of Killing” — co-directed by American filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer, and produced by Errol Morris and Werner Herzog — examines this little documented, or even acknowledged, part of Indonesian history, to deeply disturbing effect.

The facts behind the massacres remain shrouded in obfuscation, propaganda and resultant historical amnesia. What is known is that an attempted coup on the night of September 30, 1965, led to the killing of six Indonesian generals. In the days and weeks that followed, the Indonesian Army fingered the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) as the perpetrators, unleashing a killing spree in which hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of suspected communists were murdered.

The army is known to have instigated many of these murders, although large parts of the civilian population were implicated in them as well, through their mobilisation via religious and social organisations. There was also alleged U.S. involvement, with the CIA having possibly provided the Indonesian Army with lists of names and other details for thousands of communists.

Prior to the massacres, the PKI had emerged as the largest communist party in the world outside the Communist bloc, with over three million members and up to 18 million followers. It was a formidable political force, well disciplined and organised. After the 1965-66 killings, the PKI was wiped out and even the contemporary democratic Indonesian political landscape has a gaping hole for a Left.

Storyline

In the film, Oppenheimer stays clear of the complex historical details that engendered and enabled the massacres. Instead, he looks at the impunity enjoyed by some of the perpetrators, who, almost 50 years later, remain unpunished, unrepentant, and eager to recount their tales of bloodshed.

Set in a city in northern Sumatra, the movie abruptly switches from a lighthearted, almost cheery mood, with ageing gangsters joking about, and singing songs, to unvarnished horror, as they detail their brutal killings and carry out surreal re-enactments. The movie has an off-kilter feel, with the lines between fact and fiction blurring disorientingly. It is after all a documentary about a movie that the gangsters agree to make about mass killings that they undertook which are officially unacknowledged in Indonesia.

The question that looms large upon watching “The Act of Killing,” is why the massacres of 1965-66 remain buried in the rubble of history, rather than dug up and confronted. The Suharto-led military dictatorship that came to power in the midst of the murders, and that consolidated its power as a result of the elimination of its communist rivals, developed a narrative that stressed the cruelty of the communists and painted them as the aggressors rather than victims.

Schoolchildren were forced every year to watch a gory, propaganda movie, “Pengkhianatan, or Treachery,” that focused on the September 30 killings of the six generals by so-called communists and reinforced the idea that the nation was saved from communist terror.

“I saw so much stuff about communists being the bad guys that it somehow became the ‘truth.’ There was no access to any other version of reality,” explains 29-year-old Ray Hervandi, who went to school in Jakarta.

What is startling however is that even more than 15 years after the downfall of the Suharto regime, the killings of the communists remain largely unvisited. Today, Indonesia is a vibrant democracy with a general election scheduled for later in the year. And yet, there are no revisionist histories, no political party that has made a cause of the murders, and little discussion in the mainstream media about the “genocide.”

Release and reactions

That is, until “The Act of Killing” began to attract attention. The movie has not been released in theatres in Indonesia out of fear of an outright ban. It has however been available to download online for free, and also been shown in private venues across the archipelago. The Oscar nomination has predictably garnered interest, but much of the reaction within the country has been negative. If the film is to win, it will likely be discomfiting for, rather than celebrated in, Indonesia.

Teuku Faizasyah, a government spokesperson, was quoted by the Jakarta Globe newspaper claiming that the portrayal of Indonesia in the film was “as a cruel and lawless” country, and “not appropriate, not fitting.” “Much has changed since the 1960s,” he said.

However, Andreas Harsono, a journalist and human rights activist, points out that it is precisely because “not that much has changed (since the Suharto-era),” that the communist massacres remain so difficult for the political establishment to address.

He points out, for example, that the current Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is in fact the son-in-law of Sarwo Edhie Wibowo who was the military commander of the Special Forces unit that quelled the 1965 coup.

Mr. Harsono, who was born only a few months before the massacres began, says he has not been able to finish watching “The Act of Killing” in its entirety despite repeated attempts. It brings back an image that has haunted him since he was seven years old, when an employee in his father’s electronics company in East Java took him to the banks of the Jompo river and told him how the river had run red with blood. The employee recounted having seen a baby crying with hunger as it tried to suckle the breast of its slaughtered, dead mother.

There have been sporadic attempts in Indonesia at coming to terms with the massacres. During his brief presidency (October 1999-July 2001) Abdurrrahman Wahid, the leader of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), a religious organisation that played a major role in the killings, asked for forgiveness from surviving ex-communists on behalf of the NU. No other national-level politician has followed his example, despite Indonesia’s Human Rights Commission having released the results of an investigation into the slaughter, in 2012. The commission found that “crimes against humanity” had occurred and that the military was responsible. It urged further investigation by the attorney general’s office. But, state authorities largely rejected the report and the attorney general has failed to take up the case.

Mr. Harsono makes the point that “The Act of Killing’s” detractors in Indonesia, who criticise it as a “foreigner’s” fetish, are often unaware that the movie is in fact co-directed by an Indonesian. The co-director, as well as the more than 60-member strong Indonesian crew, have all chosen to remain anonymous. “There is an Indonesian who has also made this movie, and he must remain nameless, because even today he fears for his life. What does that say about Indonesia?” asks Mr. Harsono.


By Azmi Sharom, The Star

Things are being blown out of proportion over the issue with some viewing it through race-tinted glasses. Are they blind to the fact that the people who are annoyed at the kangkung remark are from all ethnic groups?

I DON’T like water morning glory a.k.a water spinach a.k.a kangkung. There’s a metallic tang to it that I find displeasing.

I much prefer kailan or bayam – the former fried with salted fish and the latter in a watery soup.

What has my taste in vegetables got to do with anything? Nothing really.

Just as the recent, rather humorous, jabs at the Prime Minister have nothing to do with his ethnicity.

It has plenty to do with his alleged insensitivity to the price hikes in the country (which affect every single Tan, Din and Harvin) and it has plenty to do with the fact that kangkung is funny (even its very name makes me giggle); but I can’t see where the Prime Minister’s ethnicity comes into play.

So, how is it racist?

I guess some people view the world through race-tinted glasses.

These are the people who are calling for a demonstration to defend the Prime Minister.

I must say their poster calling for participants in this demonstration looks very exciting.

It has a very macho-looking chap carrying not one but two parang and an equally macho call for all Malays to come out and defend their race, their king, their religion and who knows what else.

I am of course in favour of demonstrations and public protests; it is after all a fundamental right as guaranteed by Article 10 of the Constitution. But Article 10 also says, and rightly so, that any assembly must be peaceful and without arms.

This “Defend the PM” demonstration uses a poster with a chap carrying machetes. Aren’t machetes weapons? Are they asking people to bring their parang? Or is it just for dramatic artistic effect?

I am sure they will have a good explanation and surely the police should ask for it.

The Government has shown itself to be very sensitive to any symbols of violence. After all, the Registrar of Societies made a huge hue and cry about the fact that Parti Sosialis Malaysia used a closed fist for its party symbol.

A closed fist is violent, apparently. It conjures up images of pugilism, I guess.

But if a closed fist is violent, then isn’t a parang even more violent? Thus, I would be most surprised if the police do not swoop down on these organisers with the same vigour and energy that they use when swooping down on the organisers of other demonstrations.

For example, the anti-price-hike demo on New Year’s Eve was scrutinised and demonised by the cops because it was thought to be potentially dangerous.

The police even feared that there were going to be grenades in Merdeka Square.

The organisers did not say “bring grenades” and their posters did not have grenades on them but the cops wanted to be safe rather than sorry I suppose.

Therefore, I would expect nothing less from our men and women in blue than a complete and thorough investigation of people who actually have a weapon-wielding man on their invitation to a demo.

Especially in the light of several folks (again wearing those special spectacles) saying that this kangkung issue could lead to race riots.

Race riots? Because people are angry at price rises?

Are these people blind to the fact that the people who are annoyed at the kangkung remark are from all ethnic groups?

There is no racial issue here. The only racial issues are the ones being made up by the desperate people whose only pathetic claim to relevance depends on them making everything into a racial issue.

I don’t believe that Malaysians are going to fall for this idiocy. But having said that, a few may not care about reason and logic and all it takes is a handful to create trouble.

Surely a government maintaining the peace would seek these true trouble-makers out. Or do different rules apply? We’ll just have to wait and see.

> Azmi Sharom (azmisharom@yahoo.co.uk) is a law teacher. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.


Hello all you marvelous people!

We are currently at the 47 hour mark. Just shy of two full days to go! Amazingly we only have 7.5% more to go!! We are extremely pleased that we are now so close to our goal! We could never have gotten this far without the support and pledges of all our wonderful backers. So for each and every one of you, on behalf of the production, our forebears and our generations to come, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!

We feel that you are all now part of this production and together, I have faith that we can make this happen. The journey may be ending but the glorious light at the end of the tunnel is just within reach! We need just that little push left to close the gap between almost making our goal and successfully meeting it. And honestly people, I think we can do it!

I know it may be a lot to ask of all of you who have steadfastly stood by us, believed in us, believed in our story and more importantly believed in the possibility of heralding a difference to situations in Sabah by way of a simple tale, but we are passionate about this project and we hope that you have been infected by that same passion that courses through our veins. So please, if you have the funds to spare consider increasing your pledges just to get us through to reaching our target, and if you have yet to do so please support Di Ambang: Stateless in Sabah by pledging any amount to our Kickstarter campaign.

Here’s to making it happen!!!

Humbly grateful,

Azliana

See Here : http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1118390113/di-ambang-stateless-in-sabah/posts/717591

(AT THE TIME THIS UPDATE IS POSTED US$9410 HAD ALREADY BEEN PLEDGED BY BACKERS)


Hello everybody!

It’s here!! The final stretch for our Kickstarter campaign. There are only 7 more days to go before the campaign ends!! With still more than half way to go to reach our goal I implore you to rally those around you, friends, family, colleagues, somewhat friendly acquaintances, anybody you can get to please help support our film. We really want this film to reach an audience and to do that we need every single pledge we can get. The issue of stateless people in Sabah is one that directly affects Sabah’s socio-economic landscape and the growing population of stateless individuals is one of the bigger problems that has been plaguing Sabah. It is high-time this issue was addressed and awareness on the human implications of the situation cultivated.

As promised we have prepared a clip from the film that showcases the opinions of various knowledgeable sources on the dilemma. I hope you enjoy the video and you have not yet pledged please pledge any amount you can so we can get this film out to the public.

Many thanks,

Azliana

 

Di Ambang: Stateless in Sabah


Hullo once more!

I hope everybody had a wonderful weekend. It is day 13 of the Kickstarter campaign and with just three weeks to go we are slowly but surely crawling our way to our end goal. We could never have gotten this far without the pledges and the humbling support of all you out there so, sincerely on behalf of the team, Thank you so very, very much!

Over the weekend, the production had been working away at getting a video update ready as promised and we have indeed delivered. The video is a clip from the documentary and features a short introduction by cinematographer/editor/co-director Matthew Fillmore. I hope you will like what you see and continue supporting our project.

As a side-note, for all Malaysians who have come across this Kickstarter project and would like to contribute but have questions regarding donations, please do not hesitate to contact us via our production e-mail diambangfilm@gmail.com

Once again thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Terima Kasih!!

Azliana


Let me be the first to have this out there…

Over a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting three young filmmakers who came fully prepared to document illegal Filipino migrants in Sabah. Travelling constantly from Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu, the three used every opportunity they had to find a way to tell a story on Sabah never before brought to the silver screen. They came fully prepared to undertake this difficult and rather sensitive issue, despite having to fund themselves, battle resistance from members of the public and encounter several episodes with the law.

What is most interesting about this project is that they had no predictions that the Sulu incursion that took place in March this year would be such an impact on their film, and despite the danger that entailed, followed their subjects throughout the crisis, a risk they were all willing to take.

Since returning to the states, where film is edited, the trio have kept rather quite, and I must admit that I wondered oftentimes if their film was ever going to happen.

That is until now.

Today I am proud to introduce all of you to the first glimpse of their work through their website and Kickstarter Campaign. The three are still trying to raise a little more funds and I hope those of you who want to see a professional feature film on Sabah and the most recent state of affairs, please fund them through these links. You could very well be part of a very big thing for Sabah and its people.

Help fund their film at:   Di Ambang: Stateless in Sabah
Visit the films website at:   http://diambangfilm.com/


The text of the statement made by Nelson Mandela from the dock at the opening of his trial on charges of sabotage at Supreme Court of South Africa, Pretoria on April 20 1964.

I am the first accused. I hold a bachelor’s degree in arts and practised as an attorney in Johannesburg for a number of years in partnership with Oliver Tambo. I am a convicted prisoner serving five years for leaving the country without a permit and for inciting people to go on strike at the end of May 1961.

At the outset, I want to say that the suggestion made by the state in its opening that the struggle in South Africa is under the influence of foreigners or communists is wholly incorrect. I have done whatever I did, both as an individual and as a leader of my people, because of my experience in South Africa and my own proudly felt African background, and not because of what any outsider might have said.

In my youth in the Transkei I listened to the elders of my tribe telling stories of the old days. Amongst the tales they related to me were those of wars fought by our ancestors in defence of the fatherland. The names of Dingane and Bambata, Hintsa and Makana, Squngthi and Dalasile, Moshoeshoe and Sekhukhuni, were praised as the glory of the entire African nation. I hoped then that life might offer me the opportunity to serve my people and make my own humble contribution to their freedom struggle. This is what has motivated me in all that I have done in relation to the charges made against me in this case.

Having said this, I must deal immediately and at some length with the question of violence. Some of the things so far told to the court are true and some are untrue. I do not, however, deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness, nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation, and oppression of my people by the whites.

I admit immediately that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto we Sizwe, and that I played a prominent role in its affairs until I was arrested in August 1962.

In the statement which I am about to make I shall correct certain false impressions which have been created by state witnesses. Amongst other things, I will demonstrate that certain of the acts referred to in the evidence were not and could not have been committed by Umkhonto. I will also deal with the relationship between the African National Congress and Umkhonto, and with the part which I personally have played in the affairs of both organisations. I shall deal also with the part played by the Communist Party. In order to explain these matters properly, I will have to explain what Umkhonto set out to achieve; what methods it prescribed for the achievement of these objects, and why these methods were chosen. I will also have to explain how I became involved in the activities of these organisations.

I deny that Umkhonto was responsible for a number of acts which clearly fell outside the policy of the organisation, and which have been charged in the indictment against us. I do not know what justification there was for these acts, but to demonstrate that they could not have been authorised by Umkhonto, I want to refer briefly to the roots and policy of the organisation.

I have already mentioned that I was one of the persons who helped to form Umkhonto. I, and the others who started the organisation, did so for two reasons. Firstly, we believed that as a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalise and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an intensity of bitterness and hostility between the various races of this country which is not produced even by war. Secondly, we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the government. We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence.

But the violence which we chose to adopt was not terrorism. We who formed Umkhonto were all members of the African National Congress, and had behind us the ANC tradition of non-violence and negotiation as a means of solving political disputes. We believe that South Africa belongs to all the people who live in it, and not to one group, be it black or white. We did not want an interracial war, and tried to avoid it to the last minute. If the court is in doubt about this, it will be seen that the whole history of our organisation bears out what I have said, and what I will subsequently say, when I describe the tactics which Umkhonto decided to adopt. I want, therefore, to say something about the African National Congress.

The African National Congress was formed in 1912 to defend the rights of the African people which had been seriously curtailed by the South Africa Act, and which were then being threatened by the Native Land Act. For thirty-seven years – that is until 1949 – it adhered strictly to a constitutional struggle. It put forward demands and resolutions; it sent delegations to the Government in the belief that African grievances could be settled through peaceful discussion and that Africans could advance gradually to full political rights. But white governments remained unmoved, and the rights of Africans became less instead of becoming greater. In the words of my leader, Chief Lutuli, who became President of the ANC in 1952, and who was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize:

“Who will deny that thirty years of my life have been spent knocking in vain, patiently, moderately, and modestly at a closed and barred door? What have been the fruits of moderation? The past thirty years have seen the greatest number of laws restricting our rights and progress, until today we have reached a stage where we have almost no rights at all.”

Even after 1949, the ANC remained determined to avoid violence. At this time, however, there was a change from the strictly constitutional means of protest which had been employed in the past. The change was embodied in a decision which was taken to protest against apartheid legislation by peaceful, but unlawful, demonstrations against certain laws. Pursuant to this policy the ANC launched the Defiance Campaign, in which I was placed in charge of volunteers. This campaign was based on the principles of passive resistance. More than 8,500 people defied apartheid laws and went to jail. Yet there was not a single instance of violence in the course of this campaign on the part of any defier. I and nineteen colleagues were convicted for the role which we played in organising the campaign, but our sentences were suspended mainly because the judge found that discipline and non-violence had been stressed throughout. This was the time when the volunteer section of the ANC was established, and when the word ‘Amadelakufa’ was first used: this was the time when the volunteers were asked to take a pledge to uphold certain principles. Evidence dealing with volunteers and their pledges has been introduced into this case, but completely out of context. The volunteers were not, and are not, the soldiers of a black army pledged to fight a civil war against the whites. They were, and are, dedicated workers who are prepared to lead campaigns initiated by the ANC to distribute leaflets, to organise strikes, or do whatever the particular campaign required. They are called volunteers because they volunteer to face the penalties of imprisonment and whipping which are now prescribed by the legislature for such acts.

During the defiance campaign, the Public Safety Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act were passed. These statutes provided harsher penalties for offences committed by way of protests against laws. Despite this, the protests continued and the ANC adhered to its policy of non-violence. In 1956, 156 leading members of the Congress alliance, including myself, were arrested on a charge of high treason and charges under the Suppression of Communism Act. The non-violent policy of the ANC was put in issue by the state, but when the court gave judgement some five years later, it found that the ANC did not have a policy of violence. We were acquitted on all counts, which included a count that the ANC sought to set up a communist state in place of the existing regime. The government has always sought to label all its opponents as communists. This allegation has been repeated in the present case, but as I will show, the ANC is not, and never has been, a communist organisation.

In 1960 there was the shooting at Sharpeville, which resulted in the proclamation of a state of emergency and the declaration of the ANC as an unlawful organisation. My colleagues and I, after careful consideration, decided that we would not obey this decree. The African people were not part of the government and did not make the laws by which they were governed. We believed in the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that ‘the will of the people shall be the basis of authority of the government,’ and for us to accept the banning was equivalent to accepting the silencing of the Africans for all time. The ANC refused to dissolve, but instead went underground. We believed it was our duty to preserve this organisation which had been built up with almost fifty years of unremitting toil. I have no doubt that no self-respecting white political organisation would disband itself if declared illegal by a government in which it had no say.

In 1960 the government held a referendum which led to the establishment of the republic. Africans, who constituted approximately 70 per cent of the population of South Africa, were not entitled to vote, and were not even consulted about the proposed constitutional change. All of us were apprehensive of our future under the proposed white republic, and a resolution was taken to hold an all-in African conference to call for a national convention, and to organise mass demonstrations on the eve of the unwanted republic, if the government failed to call the convention. The conference was attended by Africans of various political persuasions. I was the secretary of the conference and undertook to be responsible for organising the national stay-at-home which was subsequently called to coincide with the declaration of the republic. As all strikes by Africans are illegal, the person organising such a strike must avoid arrest. I was chosen to be this person, and consequently I had to leave my home and family and my practice and go into hiding to avoid arrest.

The stay-at-home, in accordance with ANC policy, was to be a peaceful demonstration. Careful instructions were given to organisers and members to avoid any recourse to violence. The government’s answer was to introduce new and harsher laws, to mobilise its armed forces, and to send saracens, armed vehicles, and soldiers into the townships in a massive show of force designed to intimidate the people. This was an indication that the government had decided to rule by force alone, and this decision was a milestone on the road to Umkhonto.

Some of this may appear irrelevant to this trial. In fact, I believe none of it is irrelevant because it will, I hope, enable the court to appreciate the attitude eventually adopted by the various persons and bodies concerned in the National Liberation Movement. When I went to jail in 1962, the dominant idea was that loss of life should be avoided. I now know that this was still so in 1963.

I must return to June 1961. What were we, the leaders of our people, to do? Were we to give in to the show of force and the implied threat against future action, or were we to fight it and, if so, how?

We had no doubt that we had to continue the fight. Anything else would have been abject surrender. Our problem was not whether to fight, but was how to continue the fight. We of the ANC had always stood for a non-racial democracy, and we shrank from any action which might drive the races further apart than they already were. But the hard facts were that fifty years of non-violence had brought the African people nothing but more and more repressive legislation, and fewer and fewer rights. It may not be easy for this court to understand, but it is a fact that for a long time the people had been talking of violence – of the day when they would fight the white man and win back their country – and we, the leaders of the ANC, had nevertheless always prevailed upon them to avoid violence and to pursue peaceful methods. When some of us discussed this in May and June of 1961, it could not be denied that our policy to achieve a non-racial state by non-violence had achieved nothing, and that our followers were beginning to lose confidence in this policy and were developing disturbing ideas of terrorism.

It must not be forgotten that by this time violence had, in fact, become a feature of the South African political scene. There had been violence in 1957 when the women of Zeerust were ordered to carry passes; there was violence in 1958 with the enforcement of cattle culling in Sekhukhuniland; there was violence in 1959 when the people of Cato Manor protested against pass raids; there was violence in 1960 when the government attempted to impose Bantu authorities in Pondoland. Thirty-nine Africans died in these disturbances. In 1961 there had been riots in Warmbaths, and all this time the Transkei had been a seething mass of unrest. Each disturbance pointed clearly to the inevitable growth among Africans of the belief that violence was the only way out – it showed that a government which uses force to maintain its rule teaches the oppressed to use force to oppose it. Already small groups had arisen in the urban areas and were spontaneously making plans for violent forms of political struggle. There now arose a danger that these groups would adopt terrorism against Africans, as well as whites, if not properly directed. Particularly disturbing was the type of violence engendered in places such as Zeerust, Sekhukhuniland, and Pondoland amongst Africans. It was increasingly taking the form, not of struggle against the government – though this is what prompted it – but of civil strife amongst themselves, conducted in such a way that it could not hope to achieve anything other than a loss of life and bitterness.

At the beginning of June 1961, after a long and anxious assessment of the South African situation, I, and some colleagues, came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be unrealistic and wrong for African leaders to continue preaching peace and non-violence at a time when the government met our peaceful demands with force.

This conclusion was not easily arrived at. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle, and to form Umkhonto we Sizwe. We did so not because we desired such a course, but solely because the government had left us with no other choice. In the Manifesto of Umkhonto published on 16 December 1961, which is exhibit AD, we said:

“The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices – submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defence of our people, our future, and our freedom.”

This was our feeling in June of 1961 when we decided to press for a change in the policy of the National Liberation Movement. I can only say that I felt morally obliged to do what I did.

We who had taken this decision started to consult leaders of various organisations, including the ANC. I will not say whom we spoke to, or what they said, but I wish to deal with the role of the African National Congress in this phase of the struggle, and with the policy and objectives of Umkhonto we Sizwe.

As far as the ANC was concerned, it formed a clear view which can be summarised as follows:

It was a mass political organisation with a political function to fulfil. Its members had joined on the express policy of non-violence.

Because of all this, it could not and would not undertake violence. This must be stressed. One cannot turn such a body into the small, closely knit organisation required for sabotage. Nor would this be politically correct, because it would result in members ceasing to carry out this essential activity: political propaganda and organisation. Nor was it permissible to change the whole nature of the organisation.

On the other hand, in view of this situation I have described, the ANC was prepared to depart from its fifty-year-old policy of non-violence to this extent that it would no longer disapprove of properly controlled violence. Hence members who undertook such activity would not be subject to disciplinary action by the ANC.

I say ‘properly controlled violence’ because I made it clear that if I formed the organisation I would at all times subject it to the political guidance of the ANC and would not undertake any different form of activity from that contemplated without the consent of the ANC. And I shall now tell the court how that form of violence came to be determined.

As a result of this decision, Umkhonto was formed in November 1961. When we took this decision, and subsequently formulated our plans, the ANC heritage of non-violence and racial harmony was very much with us. We felt that the country was drifting towards a civil war in which blacks and whites would fight each other. We viewed the situation with alarm. Civil war could mean the destruction of what the ANC stood for; with civil war, racial peace would be more difficult than ever to achieve. We already have examples in South African history of the results of war. It has taken more than fifty years for the scars of the South African War to disappear. How much longer would it take to eradicate the scars of inter-racial civil war, which could not be fought without a great loss of life on both sides?

The avoidance of civil war had dominated our thinking for many years, but when we decided to adopt violence as part of our policy, we realised that we might one day have to face the prospect of such a war. This had to be taken into account in formulating our plans. We required a plan which was flexible and which permitted us to act in accordance with the needs of the times; above all, the plan had to be one which recognised civil war as the last resort, and left the decision on this question to the future. We did not want to be committed to civil war, but we wanted to be ready if it became inevitable.

Four forms of violence were possible. There is sabotage, there is guerrilla warfare, there is terrorism, and there is open revolution. We chose to adopt the first method and to exhaust it before taking any other decision.

In the light of our political background the choice was a logical one. Sabotage did not involve loss of life, and it offered the best hope for future race relations. Bitterness would be kept to a minimum and, if the policy bore fruit, democratic government could become a reality. This is what we felt at the time, and this is what we said in our manifesto (exhibit AD):

“We of Umkhonto we Sizwe have always sought to achieve liberation without bloodshed and civil clash. We hope, even at this late hour, that our first actions will awaken everyone to a realisation of the disastrous situation to which the nationalist policy is leading. We hope that we will bring the government and its supporters to their senses before it is too late, so that both the government and its policies can be changed before matters reach the desperate state of civil war.”

The initial plan was based on a careful analysis of the political and economic situation of our country. We believed that South Africa depended to a large extent on foreign capital and foreign trade. We felt that planned destruction of power plants, and interference with rail and telephone communications, would tend to scare away capital from the country, make it more difficult for goods from the industrial areas to reach the seaports on schedule, and would in the long run be a heavy drain on the economic life of the country, thus compelling the voters of the country to reconsider their position.

Attacks on the economic life-lines of the country were to be linked with sabotage on government buildings and other symbols of apartheid. These attacks would serve as a source of inspiration to our people. In addition, they would provide an outlet for those people who were urging the adoption of violent methods and would enable us to give concrete proof to our followers that we had adopted a stronger line and were fighting back against government violence.

In addition, if mass action were successfully organised, and mass reprisals taken, we felt that sympathy for our cause would be roused in other countries, and that greater pressure would be brought to bear on the South African government.

This then was the plan. Umkhonto was to perform sabotage, and strict instructions were given to its members right from the start, that on no account were they to injure or kill people in planning or carrying out operations. These instructions have been referred to in the evidence of ‘Mr X’ and ‘Mr Z.’

The affairs of the Umkhonto were controlled and directed by a national high command, which had powers of co-option and which could, and did, appoint regional commands. The high command was the body which determined tactics and targets and was in charge of training and finance. Under the high command there were regional commands which were responsible for the direction of the local sabotage groups. Within the framework of the policy laid down by the national high command, the regional commands had authority to select the targets to be attacked. They had no authority to go beyond the prescribed framework and thus had no authority to embark upon acts which endangered life, or which did not fit into the overall plan of sabotage. For instance, Umkhonto members were forbidden ever to go armed into operation. Incidentally, the terms high command and regional command were an importation from the Jewish national underground organisation Irgun Zvai Leumi, which operated in Israel between 1944 and 1948.

Umkhonto had its first operation on 16 December 1961, when Government buildings in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Durban were attacked. The selection of targets is proof of the policy to which I have referred. Had we intended to attack life we would have selected targets where people congregated and not empty buildings and power stations. The sabotage which was committed before 16 December 1961 was the work of isolated groups and had no connection whatever with Umkhonto. In fact, some of these and a number of later acts were claimed by other organisations.

The Manifesto of Umkhonto was issued on the day that operations commenced. The response to our actions and manifesto among the white population was characteristically violent. The government threatened to take strong action, and called upon its supporters to stand firm and to ignore the demands of the Africans. The whites failed to respond by suggesting change; they responded to our call by suggesting the laager.

In contrast, the response of the Africans was one of encouragement. Suddenly there was hope again. Things were happening. People in the townships became eager for political news. A great deal of enthusiasm was generated by the initial successes, and people began to speculate on how soon freedom would be obtained. But we in Umkhonto weighed up the white response with anxiety. The lines were being drawn. The whites and blacks were moving into separate camps, and the prospects of avoiding a civil war were made less. The white newspapers carried reports that sabotage would be punished by death. If this was so, how could we continue to keep Africans away from terrorism?

Already scores of Africans had died as a result of racial friction. In 1920 when the famous leader, Masabala, was held in Port Elizabeth jail, twenty-four of a group of Africans who had gathered to demand his release were killed by the police and white civilians. In 1921 more than one hundred Africans died in the Bulhoek affair. In 1924 over two hundred Africans were killed when the Administrator of South-West Africa led a force against a group which had rebelled against the imposition of dog tax. On 1 May 1950, eighteen Africans died as a result of police shootings during the strike. On 21 March 1960, sixty-nine unarmed Africans died at Sharpeville.

How many more Sharpevilles would there be in the history of our country? And how many more Sharpevilles could the country stand without violence and terror becoming the order of the day? And what would happen to our people when that stage was reached? In the long run we felt certain we must succeed, but at what cost to ourselves and the rest of the country? And if this happened, how could black and white ever live together again in peace and harmony? These were the problems that faced us, and these were our decisions.

Experience convinced us that rebellion would offer the government limitless opportunities for the indiscriminate slaughter of our people. But it was precisely because the soil of South Africa is already drenched with the blood of innocent Africans that we felt it our duty to make preparations as a long-term undertaking to use force in order to defend ourselves against force. If war were inevitable, we wanted the fight to be conducted on terms most favourable to our people. The fight which held out prospects best for us and the least risk of life to both sides was guerrilla warfare. We decided, therefore, in our preparations for the future, to make provision for the possibility of guerrilla warfare.

All whites undergo compulsory military training, but no such training was given to Africans. It was in our view essential to build up a nucleus of trained men who would be able to provide the leadership which would be required if guerrilla warfare started. We had to prepare for such a situation before it became too late to make proper preparations. It was also necessary to build up a nucleus of men trained in civil administration and other professions, so that Africans would be equipped to participate in the government of this country as soon as they were allowed to do so.

At this stage it was decided that I should attend the conference of the Pan-African Freedom Movement for central, east, and southern Africa, which was to be held early in 1962 in Addis Ababa, and, because of our need for preparation, it was also decided that, after the conference, I would undertake a tour of the African states with a view to obtaining facilities for the training of soldiers, and that I would also solicit scholarships for the higher education of matriculated Africans. Training in both fields would be necessary, even if changes came about by peaceful means. Administrators would be necessary who would be willing and able to administer a non-racial state and so would men be necessary to control the army and police force of such a state.

It was on this note that I left South Africa to proceed to Addis Ababa as a delegate of the ANC. My tour was a success. Wherever I went I met sympathy for our cause and promises of help. All Africa was united against the stand of white South Africa, and even in London I was received with great sympathy by political leaders, such as Mr Gaitskell and Mr Grimond. In Africa I was promised support by such men as Julius Nyerere, now President of Tanganyika; Mr Kawawa, then Prime Minister of Tanganyika; Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia; General Abboud, President of the Sudan; Habib Bourguiba, President of Tunisia; Ben Bella, now President of Algeria; Modibo Keita, President of Mali; Leopold Senghor, President of Senegal; Sekou Toure, President of Guinea; President Tubman of Liberia; and Milton Obote, Prime Minister of Uganda. It was Ben Bella who invited me to visit Oujda, the Headquarters of the Algerian Army of National Liberation, the visit which is described in my diary, one of the exhibits.

I started to make a study of the art of war and revolution and, whilst abroad, underwent a course in military training. If there was to be guerrilla warfare, I wanted to be able to stand and fight with my people and to share the hazards of war with them. Notes of lectures which I received in Algeria are contained in exhibit 16, produced in evidence. Summaries of books on guerrilla warfare and military strategy have also been produced. I have already admitted that these documents are in my writing, and I acknowledge that I made these studies to equip myself for the role which I might have to play if the struggle drifted into guerrilla warfare. I approached this question as every African nationalist should do. I was completely objective. The court will see that I attempted to examine all types of authority on the subject – from the east and from the west, going back to the classic work of Clausewitz, and covering such a variety as Mao Tse Tung and Che Guevara on the one hand, and the writings on the Anglo-Boer War on the other. Of course, these notes are merely summaries of the books I read and do not contain my personal views.

I also made arrangements for our recruits to undergo military training. But here it was impossible to organise any scheme without the cooperation of the ANC offices in Africa. I consequently obtained the permission of the ANC in South Africa to do this. To this extent then there was a departure from the original decision of the ANC, but it applied outside South Africa only. The first batch of recruits actually arrived in Tanganyika when I was passing through that country on my way back to South Africa.

I returned to South Africa and reported to my colleagues on the results of my trip. On my return I found that there had been little alteration in the political scene save that the threat of a death penalty for sabotage had now become a fact. The attitude of my colleagues in Umkhonto was much the same as it had been before I left. They were feeling their way cautiously and felt that it would be a long time before the possibilities of sabotage were exhausted. In fact, the view was expressed by some that the training of recruits was premature. This is recorded by me in the document which is exhibit R.14. After a full discussion, however, it was decided to go ahead with the plans for military training because of the fact that it would take many years to build up a sufficient nucleus of trained soldiers to start a guerrilla campaign, and whatever happened, the training would be of value.

An ideal for which I am prepared to die – part 2

I wish to turn now to certain general allegations made in this case by the state. But before doing so, I wish to revert to certain occurrences said by witnesses to have happened in Port Elizabeth and East London. I am referring to the bombing of private houses of pro-government persons during September, October and November 1962. I do not know what justification there was for these acts, nor what provocation had been given. But if what I have said already is accepted, then it is clear that these acts had nothing to do with the carrying out of the policy of Umkhonto.

One of the chief allegations in the indictment is that the ANC was a party to a general conspiracy to commit sabotage. I have already explained why this is incorrect but how, externally, there was a departure from the original principle laid down by the ANC. There has, of course, been overlapping of functions internally as well, because there is a difference between a resolution adopted in the atmosphere of a committee room and the concrete difficulties that arise in the field of practical activity. At a later stage the position was further affected by bannings and house arrests, and by persons leaving the country to take up political work abroad. This led to individuals having to do work in different capacities. But though this may have blurred the distinction between Umkhonto and the ANC, it by no means abolished that distinction. Great care was taken to keep the activities of the two organisations in South Africa distinct. The ANC remained a mass political body of Africans only carrying on the type of political work they had conducted prior to 1961. Umkhonto remained a small organisation recruiting its members from different races and organisations and trying to achieve its own particular object. The fact that members of Umkhonto were recruited from the ANC, and the fact that persons served both organisations, like Solomon Mbanjwa, did not, in our view, change the nature of the ANC or give it a policy of violence. This overlapping of officers, however, was more the exception than the rule. This is why persons such as ‘Mr X’ and ‘Mr Z,’ who were on the regional command of their respective areas, did not participate in any of the ANC committees or activities, and why people such as Mr Bennett Mashiyana and Mr Reginald Ndubi did not hear of sabotage at their ANC meetings.

Another of the allegations in the indictment is that Rivonia was the headquarters of Umkhonto. This is not true of the time when I was there. I was told, of course, and knew that certain of the activities of the Communist party were carried on there. But this is no reason (as I shall presently explain) why I should not use the place.

I came there in the following manner:

· As already indicated, early in April 1961 I went underground to organise the May general strike. My work entailed travelling throughout the country, living now in African townships, then in country villages and again in cities. During the second half of the year I started visiting the Parktown home of Arthur Goldreich, where I used to meet my family privately. Although I had no direct political association with him, I had known Arthur Goldreich socially since 1958. .

In October, Arthur Goldreich informed me that he was moving out of town and offered me a hiding place there. A few days thereafter, he arranged for Michael Harmel to take me to Rivonia. I naturally found Rivonia an ideal place for the man who lived the life of an outlaw. Up to that time I had been compelled to live indoors during the daytime and could only venture out under cover of darkness. But at Liliesleaf [farm, Rivonia,] I could live differently and work far more efficiently.

· For obvious reasons, I had to disguise myself and I assumed the fictitious name of David. In December, Arthur Goldreich and his family moved in. I stayed there until I went abroad on 11 January 1962. As already indicated, I returned in July 1962 and was arrested in Natal on 5 August.

· Up to the time of my arrest, Liliesleaf farm was the headquarters of neither the African National Congress nor Umkhonto. With the exception of myself, none of the officials or members of these bodies lived there, no meetings of the governing bodies were ever held there, and no activities connected with them were either organised or directed from there. On numerous occasions during my stay at Liliesleaf farm I met both the executive committee of the ANC, as well as the NHC, but such meetings were held elsewhere and not on the farm.

· Whilst staying at Liliesleaf farm, I frequently visited Arthur Goldreich in the main house and he also paid me visits in my room. We had numerous political discussions covering a variety of subjects. We discussed ideological and practical questions, the congress alliance, Umkhonto and its activities generally, and his experiences as a soldier in the Palmach, the military wing of the Haganah. Haganah was the political authority of the Jewish National Movement in Palestine.

· Because of what I had got to know of Goldreich, I recommended on my return to South Africa that he should be recruited to Umkhonto. I do not know of my personal knowledge whether this was done.

Another of the allegations made by the state is that the aims and objects of the ANC and the Communist party are the same. I wish to deal with this and with my own political position, because I must assume that the state may try to argue from certain exhibits that I tried to introduce Marxism into the ANC. The allegation as to the ANC is false. This is an old allegation which was disproved at the treason trial and which has again reared its head. But since the allegation has been made again, I shall deal with it as well as with the relationship between the ANC and the Communist party and Umkhonto and that party.

The ideological creed of the ANC is, and always has been, the creed of African nationalism. It is not the concept of African nationalism expressed in the cry, ‘drive the white man into the sea.’ The African nationalism for which the ANC stands is the concept of freedom and fulfilment for the African people in their own land. The most important political document ever adopted by the ANC is the ‘freedom charter.’ It is by no means a blueprint for a socialist state. It calls for redistribution, but not nationalisation, of land; it provides for nationalisation of mines, banks, and monopoly industry, because big monopolies are owned by one race only, and without such nationalisation racial domination would be perpetuated despite the spread of political power. It would be a hollow gesture to repeal the gold law prohibitions against Africans when all gold mines are owned by European companies. In this respect the ANC’s policy corresponds with the old policy of the present Nationalist party which, for many years, had as part of its programme the nationalisation of the gold mines which, at that time, were controlled by foreign capital. Under the freedom charter, nationalisation would take place in an economy based on private enterprise. The realisation of the freedom charter would open up fresh fields for a prosperous African population of all classes, including the middle class. The ANC has never at any period of its history advocated a revolutionary change in the economic structure of the country, nor has it, to the best of my recollection, ever condemned capitalist society.

As far as the Communist party is concerned, and if I understand its policy correctly, it stands for the establishment of a state based on the principles of Marxism. Although it is prepared to work for the freedom charter, as a short term solution to the problems created by white supremacy, it regards the Freedom Charter as the beginning, and not the end, of its program.

The ANC, unlike the Communist party, admitted Africans only as members. Its chief goal was, and is, for the African people to win unity and full political rights. The Communist party’s main aim, on the other hand, was to remove the capitalists and to replace them with a working-class government. The Communist party sought to emphasise class distinctions whilst the ANC seeks to harmonise them. This is a vital distinction.

It is true that there has often been close cooperation between the ANC and the Communist party. But cooperation is merely proof of a common goal – in this case the removal of white supremacy – and is not proof of a complete community of interests.

The history of the world is full of similar examples. Perhaps the most striking illustration is to be found in the cooperation between Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Soviet Union in the fight against Hitler. Nobody but Hitler would have dared to suggest that such cooperation turned Churchill or Roosevelt into communists or communist tools, or that Britain and America were working to bring about a communist world.

Another instance of such cooperation is to be found precisely in Umkhonto. Shortly after Umkhonto was constituted, I was informed by some of its members that the Communist party would support Umkhonto, and this then occurred. At a later stage the support was made openly.

I believe that communists have always played an active role in the fight by colonial countries for their freedom, because the short-term objects of communism would always correspond with the long-term objects of freedom movements. Thus communists have played an important role in the freedom struggles fought in countries such as Malaya, Algeria, and Indonesia, yet none of these states today are communist countries. Similarly in the underground resistance movements which sprung up in Europe during the last World War, communists played an important role. Even General Chiang Kai-Shek, today one of the bitterest enemies of communism, fought together with the communists against the ruling class in the struggle which led to his assumption of power in China in the 1930s.

This pattern of cooperation between communists and non-communists has been repeated in the National Liberation Movement of South Africa. Prior to the banning of the Communist party, joint campaigns involving the Communist party and the congress movements were accepted practice. African communists could, and did, become members of the ANC, and some served on the National, Provincial, and local committees. Amongst those who served on the National Executive are Albert Nzula, a former Secretary of the Communist party, Moses Kotane, another former Secretary, and J. B. Marks, a former member of the central committee.

I joined the ANC in 1944, and in my younger days I held the view that the policy of admitting communists to the ANC, and the close cooperation which existed at times on specific issues between the ANC and the Communist party, would lead to a watering down of the concept of African nationalism. At that stage I was a member of the African National Congress youth league, and was one of a group which moved for the expulsion of communists from the ANC. This proposal was heavily defeated. Amongst those who voted against the proposal were some of the most conservative sections of African political opinion. They defended the policy on the ground that from its inception the ANC was formed and built up, not as a political party with one school of political thought, but as a parliament of the African people, accommodating people of various political convictions, all united by the common goal of national liberation. I was eventually won over to this point of view and I have upheld it ever since.

It is perhaps difficult for white South Africans, with an ingrained prejudice against communism, to understand why experienced African politicians so readily accept communists as their friends. But to us the reason is obvious. Theoretical differences amongst those fighting against oppression is a luxury we cannot afford at this stage. What is more, for many decades communists were the only political group in South Africa who were prepared to treat Africans as human beings and their equals; who were prepared to eat with us; talk with us, live with us, and work with us. They were the only political group which was prepared to work with the Africans for the attainment of political rights and a stake in society. Because of this, there are many Africans who, today, tend to equate freedom with communism. They are supported in this belief by a legislature which brands all exponents of democratic government and African freedom as communists and bans many of them (who are not communists) under the Suppression of Communism Act. Although I have never been a member of the Communist party, I myself have been named under that pernicious act because of the role I played in the defiance campaign. I have also been banned and imprisoned under that act.

It is not only in internal politics that we count communists as amongst those who support our cause. In the international field, communist countries have always come to our aid. In the United Nations and other councils of the world the communist bloc has supported the Afro-Asian struggle against colonialism and often seems to be more sympathetic to our plight than some of the western powers. Although there is a universal condemnation of apartheid, the communist bloc speaks out against it with a louder voice than most of the white world. In these circumstances, it would take a brash young politician, such as I was in 1949, to proclaim that the communists are our enemies.

I turn now to my own position. I have denied that I am a communist, and I think that in the circumstances I am obliged to state exactly what my political beliefs are.

I have always regarded myself, in the first place, as an African patriot. After all, I was born in Umtata, forty-six years ago. My guardian was my cousin, who was the acting paramount chief of Tembuland, and I am related both to the present paramount chief of Tembuland, Sabata Dalindyebo, and to Kaizer Matanzima, the Chief Minister of the Transkei.

Today I am attracted by the idea of a classless society, an attraction which springs in part from Marxist reading and, in part, from my admiration of the structure and organisation of early African societies in this country. The land, then the main means of production, belonged to the tribe. There were no rich or poor and there was no exploitation.

It is true, as I have already stated, that I have been influenced by Marxist thought. But this is also true of many of the leaders of the new independent states. Such widely different persons as Gandhi, Nehru, Nkrumah, and Nasser all acknowledge this fact. We all accept the need for some form of socialism to enable our people to catch up with the advanced countries of this world and to overcome their legacy of extreme poverty. But this does not mean we are Marxists.

Indeed, for my own part, I believe that it is open to debate whether the Communist party has any specific role to play at this particular stage of our political struggle. The basic task at the present moment is the removal of race discrimination and the attainment of democratic rights on the basis of the Freedom Charter. In so far as that party furthers this task, I welcome its assistance. I realise that it is one of the means by which people of all races can be drawn into our struggle.

From my reading of Marxist literature and from conversations with Marxists, I have gained the impression that communists regard the parliamentary system of the west as undemocratic and reactionary. But, on the contrary, I am an admirer of such a system.

The Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights, and the Bill of Rights are documents which are held in veneration by democrats throughout the world.

I have great respect for British political institutions, and for the country’s system of justice. I regard the British Parliament as the most democratic institution in the world, and the independence and impartiality of its judiciary never fails to arouse my admiration.

The American Congress, that country’s doctrine of separation of powers, as well as the independence of its judiciary, arouses in me similar sentiments.

I have been influenced in my thinking by both west and east. All this has led me to feel that in my search for a political formula, I should be absolutely impartial and objective. I should tie myself to no particular system of society other than of socialism. I must leave myself free to borrow the best from the west and from the east …

There are certain exhibits which suggest that we received financial support from abroad, and I wish to deal with this question.

Our political struggle has always been financed from internal sources – from funds raised by our own people and by our own supporters. Whenever we had a special campaign or an important political case – for example, the treason trial – we received financial assistance from sympathetic individuals and organisations in the western countries. We had never felt it necessary to go beyond these sources.

But when in 1961 the Umkhonto was formed, and a new phase of struggle introduced, we realised that these events would make a heavy call on our slender resources, and that the scale of our activities would be hampered by the lack of funds. One of my instructions, as I went abroad in January 1962, was to raise funds from the African states.

I must add that, whilst abroad, I had discussions with leaders of political movements in Africa and discovered that almost every single one of them, in areas which had still not attained independence, had received all forms of assistance from the socialist countries, as well as from the west, including that of financial support. I also discovered that some well-known African states, all of them non-communists, and even anti-communists, had received similar assistance.

On my return to the republic, I made a strong recommendation to the ANC that we should not confine ourselves to Africa and the western countries, but that we should also send a mission to the socialist countries to raise the funds which we so urgently needed.

I have been told that after I was convicted such a mission was sent, but I am not prepared to name any countries to which it went, nor am I at liberty to disclose the names of the organisations and countries which gave us support or promised to do so.

As I understand the state case, and in particular the evidence of ‘Mr X,’ the suggestion is that Umkhonto was the inspiration of the Communist party which sought by playing upon imaginary grievances to enroll the African people into an army which ostensibly was to fight for African freedom, but in reality was fighting for a communist state. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact the suggestion is preposterous. Umkhonto was formed by Africans to further their struggle for freedom in their own land. Communists and others supported the movement, and we only wish that more sections of the community would join us.

Our fight is against real, and not imaginary, hardships or, to use the language of the state prosecutor, ‘so-called hardships.’ Basically, we fight against two features which are the hallmarks of African life in South Africa and which are entrenched by legislation which we seek to have repealed. These features are poverty and lack of human dignity, and we do not need communists or so-called ‘agitators’ to teach us about these things.

South Africa is the richest country in Africa, and could be one of the richest countries in the world. But it is a land of extremes and remarkable contrasts. The whites enjoy what may well be the highest standard of living in the world, whilst Africans live in poverty and misery. Forty per cent of the Africans live in hopelessly overcrowded and, in some cases, drought-stricken reserves, where soil erosion and the overworking of the soil makes it impossible for them to live properly off the land. Thirty per cent are labourers, labour tenants, and squatters on white farms and work and live under conditions similar to those of the serfs of the middle ages. The other 30 per cent live in towns where they have developed economic and social habits which bring them closer in many respects to white standards. Yet most Africans, even in this group, are impoverished by low incomes and high cost of living.

The highest-paid and the most prosperous section of urban African life is in Johannesburg. Yet their actual position is desperate. The latest figures were given on 25 March 1964 by Mr Carr, manager of the Johannesburg non-European affairs department. The poverty datum line for the average African family in Johannesburg (according to Mr Carr’s department) is R42.84 per month. He showed that the average monthly wage is R32.24 and that 46 per cent of all African families in Johannesburg do not earn enough to keep them going.

Poverty goes hand in hand with malnutrition and disease. The incidence of malnutrition and deficiency diseases is very high amongst Africans. Tuberculosis, pellagra, kwashiorkor, gastro-enteritis, and scurvy bring death and destruction of health. The incidence of infant mortality is one of the highest in the world. According to the medical officer of health for Pretoria, tuberculosis kills forty people a day (almost all Africans), and in 1961 there were 58,491 new cases reported. These diseases not only destroy the vital organs of the body, but they result in retarded mental conditions and lack of initiative, and reduce powers of concentration. The secondary results of such conditions affect the whole community and the standard of work performed by African labourers.

The complaint of Africans, however, is not only that they are poor and the whites are rich, but that the laws which are made by the whites are designed to preserve this situation. There are two ways to break out of poverty. The first is by formal education, and the second is by the worker acquiring a greater skill at his work and thus higher wages. As far as Africans are concerned, both these avenues of advancement are deliberately curtailed by legislation.

The present government has always sought to hamper Africans in their search for education. One of their early acts, after coming into power, was to stop subsidies for African school feeding. Many African children who attended schools depended on this supplement to their diet. This was a cruel act.

There is compulsory education for all white children at virtually no cost to their parents, be they rich or poor. Similar facilities are not provided for the African children, though there are some who receive such assistance. African children, however, generally have to pay more for their schooling than whites. According to figures quoted by the South African Institute of Race Relations in its 1963 journal, approximately 40 per cent of African children in the age group between seven to fourteen do not attend school. For those who do attend school, the standards are vastly different from those afforded to white children. In 1960-61 the per capita government spending on African students at state-aided schools was estimated at R12.46. In the same years, the per capita spending on white children in the Cape Province (which are the only figures available to me) was R144.57. Although there are no figures available to me, it can be stated, without doubt, that the white children on whom R144.57 per head was being spent all came from wealthier homes than African children on whom R12.46 per head was being spent.

The quality of education is also different. According to the Bantu Educational Journal, only 5,660 African children in the whole of South Africa passed their junior certificate in 1962, and in that year only 362 passed matric. This is presumably consistent with the policy of Bantu education about which the present Prime Minister said, during the debate on the Bantu Education Bill in 1953:

“When I have control of native education I will reform it so that natives will be taught from childhood to realise that equality with Europeans is not for them … People who believe in equality are not desirable teachers for natives. When my Department controls native education it will know for what class of higher education a native is fitted, and whether he will have a chance in life to use his knowledge.”

The other main obstacle to the economic advancement of the African is the industrial colour-bar under which all the better jobs of industry are reserved for whites only. Moreover, Africans who do obtain employment in the unskilled and semi-skilled occupations which are open to them are not allowed to form trade unions which have recognition under the industrial conciliation act. This means that strikes of African workers are illegal, and that they are denied the right of collective bargaining which is permitted to the better-paid white workers. The discrimination in the policy of successive South African governments towards African workers is demonstrated by the so-called ‘civilised labour policy’ under which sheltered, unskilled government jobs are found for those white workers who cannot make the grade in industry, at wages which far exceed the earnings of the average African employee in industry.

The government often answers its critics by saying that Africans in South Africa are economically better off than the inhabitants of the other countries in Africa. I do not know whether this statement is true and doubt whether any comparison can be made without having regard to the cost-of-living index in such countries. But even if it is true, as far as the African people are concerned it is irrelevant. Our complaint is not that we are poor by comparison with people in other countries, but that we are poor by comparison with the white people in our own country, and that we are prevented by legislation from altering this imbalance.

The lack of human dignity experienced by Africans is the direct result of the policy of white supremacy. White supremacy implies black inferiority. Legislation designed to preserve white supremacy entrenches this notion. Menial tasks in South Africa are invariably performed by Africans. When anything has to be carried or cleaned the white man will look around for an African to do it for him, whether the African is employed by him or not. Because of this sort of attitude, whites tend to regard Africans as a separate breed. They do not look upon them as people with families of their own; they do not realise that they have emotions – that they fall in love like white people do; that they want to be with their wives and children like white people want to be with theirs; that they want to earn enough money to support their families properly, to feed and clothe them and send them to school. And what ‘house-boy’ or ‘garden-boy’ or labourer can ever hope to do this?

Pass laws, which to the Africans are among the most hated bits of legislation in South Africa, render any African liable to police surveillance at any time. I doubt whether there is a single African male in South Africa who has not at some stage had a brush with the police over his pass. Hundreds and thousands of Africans are thrown into jail each year under pass laws. Even worse than this is the fact that pass laws keep husband and wife apart and lead to the breakdown of family life.

Poverty and the breakdown of family life have secondary effects. Children wander about the streets of the townships because they have no schools to go to, or no money to enable them to go to school, or no parents at home to see that they go to school, because both parents (if there be two) have to work to keep the family alive. This leads to a breakdown in moral standards, to an alarming rise in illegitimacy, and to growing violence which erupts not only politically, but everywhere. Life in the townships is dangerous. There is not a day that goes by without somebody being stabbed or assaulted. And violence is carried out of the townships in to the white living areas. People are afraid to walk alone in the streets after dark. Housebreakings and robberies are increasing, despite the fact that the death sentence can now be imposed for such offences. Death sentences cannot cure the festering sore.

Africans want to be paid a living wage. Africans want to perform work which they are capable of doing, and not work which the government declares them to be capable of. Africans want to be allowed to live where they obtain work, and not be endorsed out of an area because they were not born there. Africans want to be allowed to own land in places where they work, and not to be obliged to live in rented houses which they can never call their own. Africans want to be part of the general population, and not confined to living in their own ghettoes. African men want to have their wives and children to live with them where they work, and not be forced into an unnatural existence in men’s hostels. African women want to be with their menfolk and not be left permanently widowed in the Reserves. Africans want to be allowed out after eleven o’clock at night and not to be confined to their rooms like little children. Africans want to be allowed to travel in their own country and to seek work where they want to and not where the labour bureau tells them to. Africans want a just share in the whole of South Africa; they want security and a stake in society.

Above all, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy.

But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all. It is not true that the enfranchisement of all will result in racial domination. Political division, based on colour, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one colour group by another. The ANC has spent half a century fighting against racialism. When it triumphs it will not change that policy.

This then is what the ANC is fighting. Their struggle is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by their own suffering and their own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live.

During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

With thanks to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Test Of Three

Posted: November 25, 2013 in Wisdom
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In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said,
“Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”

“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me,
I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three.”

“Test of Three?”

“That’s correct,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student let’s take a moment to test what you’re going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”

“No,” the man replied, “actually I just heard about it.”

“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”

“No, on the contrary…”

“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?”

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued, “You may still pass though because there is a third test – the filter of Usefulness.
Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”

“No, not really…”

“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.

This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

Originally posted on: www.amazingposts.com