Related topics

Anti-Apartheid Leaders Outline Militant Plans, Urge Whites to Join

December 10, 1989

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Anti-apartheid leaders Sunday announced a militant strategy of civil disobedience and political pressure and urged South African whites to join them for the ″final onslaught on apartheid.″

The plans were adopted late Saturday at a closed session of the largest anti-apartheid conference ever held in South Africa. It was attended by 4,662 black, white, Indian and mixed-race delegates from 2,128 organizations.

Several major black organizations to the left and right of mainstream anti- apartheid groups either boycotted the conference or were not invited.

But Murphy Morobe, one the organizers, said the Conference for a Democratic Future was a ″roaring success.″

″Business was concluded in a spirit of unity unprecedented in any gathering in the past with such a disparate array of organizations,′ he said at a news conference.

One resolution urged whites ″to break decisively with all apartheid forces and side with the majority.″ It urged them to conduct solidarity marches into black townships and proposed a campaign to create new municipalities by merging white cities and their adjoining black ghettos.

Another resolution urged an escalation of confrontational activity by black trade unions. It said workers should be prepared to occupy the Johannesburg Stock Exchange if necessary to prevent possible privatization of major state enterprises such as the postal and transport services.

″We call upon our people to reject capitalism and free market system,″ a resolution on economics said.

Perhaps the most important resolution, Morobe said, was a demand for non- racial elections for an assembly that would draft a constitution establishing a one-person, one-vote system for South Africa.

President F.W. de Klerk has rejected the concept of such an assembly. He has offered to negotiate a new constitution that would extend limited political rights to the black majority of 28 million, but he wants black negotiators chosen in segregated elections.

Since taking power in August, de Klerk has made several conciliatory moves aimed at promoting negotiations between blacks and the nation’s 5 million whites, who control the government and the economy. He has freed some prominent political prisoners, prohibited segregation of beaches, and permitted previously banned opposition activities, including meetings like the conference.

However, delegates adopted a resolution saying de Klerk’s proposals were ″designed to enmesh our organizations and people in schemes to maintain the status quo.″

″The conference ... took the view that President de Klerk’s reform initiatives are devoid of substance,″ Morobe said.

Other resolutions urged parents and students to defy school segregation policies, demanded land redistribution and urged young white men to refuse mandatory military service. Delegates also demanded appointment of an independent commission to investigate allegations that police death squads have killed government opponents.

Another resolution demanded an end to the state of emergency imposed in June 1986. Many delegates belong to groups restricted by emergency regulations.

Most delegates were aligned to some degree with the outlawed African National Congress guerrilla movement and affiliated groups in South Africa.

The most notable absentees were Inkatha, a relatively conservative Zulu organization opposed to the ANC’s militant tactics, and so-called Africanist groups, which oppose the ANC’s philosophy of non-racism.

Although black unity remains elusive, Morobe said the conference ″far surpassed our expectations.″

″A firm basis was established for the political direction of all anti- apartheid forces well into the 1990s, the decade of the final onslaught against apartheid,″ he said.

Observers from 19 countries attended the conference and organizers said funding was provided by the Dutch government and church groups from Denmark, Norway and Sweden. They said the Canadian government had offered to finance regional follow-up meetings.

Update hourly