Blacks Announce Boycott To Protest Segregation
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Blacks in the mining town of Carletonville plan a consumer boycott and civil disobedience campaign next week to protest the resegregation of public facilities, union leaders said Friday.
The boycott was sparked by the reintroduction of strict segregation by the extreme-right Conservative Party, which took control of the town council in last October’s municipal elections.
The council has voted to resegregate local facilities that had been opened to all races and to build a fence to keep blacks off the town hall’s lawn. The council said last month it was considering a curfew barring blacks from the town at night, but no action has been taken.
Carletonville, 45 miles southwest of Johannesburg, is one of several dozen towns captured by the Conservatives last October.
Local affiliates of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the country’s largest black labor federation, said the Carletonville boycott would begin Monday and would include demonstrations and a sit-in at a park that recently was declared ″whites only.″
A leader of Carletonville’s town council, Koos Nel, said the Conservative Party would not bow to pressure.
″If white businesses are affected, I will be the first to admit I’m sorry, but I can’t change,″ he said. ″If we give in once, then what’s coming next?″
A black consumer boycott has been under way since December in the industrial town of Boksburg, where the Conservative-controlled council has resegregated public facilities.
On Friday, Boksburg town councilors threatened to cut off the electricity of Asians living illegally in ″whites-only″ areas.
President P.W. Botha’s National Party government has made no move to halt the Boksburg boycott even though state-of-emergency regulations prohibit the organization of such protests.
The government has condemned the Conservative Party’s resegregation campaign, but has been accused of hypocrisy because it has made no move to repeal the Separate Amenities Act, which allows blacks to be barred from local facilities.
The state-controlled South African Broadcasting Corp. said Friday that the act ″has caused problems at every level of South African life.″
″On a personal level it results in a discrimination that was intensely hurtful,″ an SABC commentary said. ″The antagonism generated by such legislation has been an insurmountable obstacle in the essential task of promoting reconciliation between communities.″
The government said this week that police officers no longer will arrest people violating the Separate Amenities Act, but will collect information and warn the alleged offender that court procedings may ensue.
The Afrikaans-language newspaper Beeld reported Friday that blacks who visited a library to donate blood in Evander, another town controlled by the Conservatives, were told to leave. The 22 blacks were told to donate blood in a van outside the library, Beeld reported.
By law and custom, apartheid establishes a racially segregated society in which the 28 million blacks have no vote in national affairs. The 5 million whites control the economy and maintain separate districts, schools and health services.