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09 Feb 1990 00:00
ANC leader Walter Sisulu was expected to return home this week with a frill response from the organisation. He came back empty-handed.
Instead, Secretary-General Alfred Nzo issued a statement telling people not to do anything rash until his executive had decided how to proceed.
The ANC and its allies inside the country have been caught off-guard.
The ANC has three options:
This would call De Klerk’s bluff. He would have to deal with a high· profile return and massive welcoming ceremonies. Even if be wanted to, he would find it difficult to take action against those who came back. The world’s eyes would turn from De Klerk to the ANC leadership, who would no longer be isolated in Lusaka, but part of the day-to-day political struggle here. This is not an easy option; it carries many serious risks.
The ANC would have to leave key people in exile; it would risk resentment from the many “young lions” who are in camps in Tanzania and itching to come home; it would be in the un· comfortable position of going about its daily life while many of its cadres are still in prison for carrying out its instructions; it would risk action under the many remaining security laws and Emergency regulations if things turned sour,
But if the ANC does not come home soon, it will have a lot of explaining to do. It will have to tell the international community why it is not responding to De Klerk’s positive moves. It will have to explain to those who have struggled so long and hard for the ANC and other organisations to be legalised why their victory means so little.
Most importantly, this option will allow the ANC to get down to what really needs to be done: mobilising enough people and enough support to ensure that De Klerk cannot turn back. Because, with international pressure on him easing, and rightwing pressure on him growing, he is going to be tempted. So, come home, all you exiles!
This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.
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