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Opposition Leader Rejects Tutu Advice

January 17, 1987

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Colin Eglin, the leader of the official white opposition, has rejected a suggestion by Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu that the Progressive Federal Party withdraw from Parliament.

Tutu, who is black, told a news conference Friday the Progressive Federal Party should not participate in Parliament or forthcoming elections for the white population ″and make it clear that we do not have what the world seems to think we have, a parliamentary democracy.″

Eglin said Friday night the party is convinced that ″at this stage of our country’s history, it must use the base which it has in Parliament to fight the Nationalists and to oppose and expose the policies and the excesses of ... (President P.W. ) Botha’s government.″

Eglin’s predecessor as party leader, Frederik van Zyl Slabbert, abandoned his leadership post and parliamentary seat in February, saying race law reforms announced by the Nationalist Party government were ″simply not good enough.″

The Progressive Federal Party has 27 seats in the 178-seat white chamber of Parliament. There are also chambers for Asians and people of mixed-race, but they were elected in 1984 and will not take part in the elections Botha says he will call this year. The last white elections were in 1981.

In other developments:

-The government’s Bureau for Information reported a 9-year-old black boy was slightly wounded in the shoulder Friday when ″a group of radicals″ fired at a security force vehicle. It said there were no arrests and gave no details, including where the incident occurred.

Under emergency restrictions the bureau is the main source of information about unrest incidents, and its reports have become increasingly sparse during the past seven months. Journalists are not allowed to be at the scene of unrest, and police will not answer reporters’ questions about such incidents, referring all queries to the bureau.

Reports of security force action cannot be published without prior consent and photography of unrest and security force action is prohibited.

-A white policeman who beat three employees of foreign news agencies during unrest in Athlone, a mixed-race suburb of Cape Town in September 1985 was given a suspended sentence Friday of 180 days in jail or a fine of $240, the South African Press Association reported. The officer, Granville Vlotman, was charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm when he beat the three men, who had been hiding on a veranda during the riot, the news agency said.

In suspending sentence, Magistrate D. Visagie noted that Vlotman had to work under difficult circumstances and that photographers made his task more difficult because people seemed to be more agitated when they were around.

-A private high school for blacks specializing in business and management has reopened, the American Chamber of Commerce announced Friday. The Planned Advancement for Commercial Education College is Soweto is largely sponsored by U.S. companies doing business in South Africa. It had fallen victim to boycotts and harassment by black militants in October.

By law and custom, South Africa’s system of apartheid establishes a racially segregated society in which the 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.

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