The re-establishment of the ANC inside the country, 1990-1994

SOURCE: The road to democracy in South Africa, Volume 6: 1990-1996
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 7773
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/2932

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This chapter focuses on the re-establishment of the African National Congress (ANC) inside the country after its unbanning, which was publicly announced in the historic speech made by President F.W. de Klerk in parliament on 2 February 1990. It covers a range of topics, such as the ANC's efforts to rebuild itself from an underground and banned organisation into a mass legal movement during the early 1990s; the establishment of headquarters and administrative structures; the main changes in the structure of the ANC; the return from exile of ANC members and issues around indemnity and amnesty; the impact on the ANC of the disbanding of the United Democratic Front (UDF); the armed struggle during the early 1990s; and the ANC's relationship with the civic movement and the South African Communist Party (SACP). The focus of the chapter, however, is the various obstacles the ANC faced in re-establishing itself as a legal organisation inside the country, including the problems arising from indemnity for exiled members, political violence, and the issues which gave rise to poor minority participation in structures of the ANC. Following the announcement of the unbanning of political organisations, the ANC was faced with a number of challenges that were to preoccupy the organisation for the more than four years that preceded the country's first democratic elections on 27 April 1994. There are too many to mention all, but the most important of these challenges can be put into the following four broad categories: re-establishing itself inside the country; negotiations; political violence; and preparation for the first democratic elections. This chapter focuses on the challenges the ANC faced in re-establishing itself inside the country, and brief reference to other obstacles is made only when they are seen to have an impact on this challenge. The chapters in this volume, all by specialists in their field, provide wide ranging studies on the liberation struggle in the period 1990-1994. Many of them are based on archival research into documents that have only recently been made available. Wherever appropriate, cross references to these chapters are provided. It is necessary, however, to begin with a review of the most relevant literature on the subject of this chapter.