Several Prominent White Activists ‘Restricted’
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Police barred seven leading white activists from certain anti-apartheid activities, and one of them today said the steps are an attempt to silence the seven.
The so-called ″restriction orders″ were issued Thursday under the nationwide state of emergency declared June 12. Monitoring groups say scores of people, and perhaps hundreds, have been served with such restrictions after their release from detention.
Most of the seven restricted Thursday had not been detained, friends said.
All are whites active in anti-apartheid groups in the Johannesburg area, including the End Conscription Campaign, which opposes the draft of all white men into the military, the Johannesburg Democratic Action Committee, the Black Sash women’s group and the United Democratic Front.
The restrictions forbid the seven from inciting the public to take part in the activities of those and similar organizations; from calling for the release of detainees or the end of the emergency; and from participating in activities such as the End Conscription Campaign’s ″Yellow Ribbon″ project - putting up yellow ribbons to signify opposition to the draft.
″I suppose they are attempting to undermine the democratic movement, that is what they are always trying to do,″ one of the seven activists, Sheila Weinberg, said in a telephone interview. ″But I think they’ve underestimated the movement. There’s no way you can undermine a national feeling.″
The others restricted are Joy Harndon, Karen Cooper, Colin Purkey, Marguerite Schneider, Aneene Dawber and Anna-Marie Rademeyer, said Ethel Walt, regional chairwoman of Black Sash.
Ms. Weinberg said authorities had resorted to the restriction orders rather than charge her and the others in court because ″they can’t charge me, I’ve not done anything illegal.
″This serves the purpose of silencing me without going to the extent and bad publicity of detaining me,″ she said.
Ms. Weinberg, who lived under house arrest from 1976 to 1981 under the Internal Security Act, said police came to her home at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday to serve the order under the emergency powers.
The Detainees’ Parents Support Committee, a private group that monitors detentions, has estimated about 20,000 people have been detained for varying periods of time during the state of emergency.
The government said in August that about 9,800 people had been detained for at least 30 days. Figures have not been disclosed since then.
The Ministry of Law and Order has declined to say how many ex-detainees or other activists have been served with restriction orders under the emergency powers.
Most restriction orders bar people from giving interviews or otherwise taking part in publications. But that condition was not among the restrictions imposed on the latest batch of white activists.
Police spokesman Capt. Henry Beck said he could not comment on the restriction orders imposed on the seven Johannesburg activists, but said those affected could confirm the conditions themselves.
The emergency rules ban reporting on security force actions without authorization, publication of statements the government considers subversive and the identification of detainees unless confirmed by officials.
Apartheid establishes a racially segregated society in which South Africa’s 24 million black majority has no vote in national affairs. The 5 million white minority controls the economy and maintains separate districts, schools and health services.