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Independent Candidates Deny Receiving Overseas Funds

March 29, 1987

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Three independent parliamentary candidates who advocate speedier racial reform denied on Saturday a suggestion by President P.W. Botha that they were receiving funds from overseas.

In a campaign speech Friday night on behalf of his National Party, Botha questioned where the money came from to finance advertising for the independents.

″Is it only South African interests behind them?″ Botha asked. ″I think they must tell South Africans who is behind them and where they have got their money from.″

The independents - whose joint platform calls for abolition of all racially discriminatory laws - are Denis Worrall, former ambassador to Britain; businesswoman Esther Lategan and Parliament member Wynand Malan. All recently quit the National Party.

Worrall, in a statement, and Malan, at a news conference, said most of their contributions came from within their districts and none came from abroad.

Mrs. Lategan’s campaign manager, Henry Wiggins, said she had received money only from people with links to her Cape Province district of Stellenbosch.

″Esther Lategan has to fight with a limited budget compared to the great amount of money which the governing party has in its coffers to use for such tricks as golden records,″ said Wiggins, referring to the National Party’s release of 400,000 copies of a record of a campaign address by Botha.

Malan is favored to beat a Nationalist challenger and retain his seat in the Johannesburg suburb of Randburg. Worrall is the underdog in his bid to unseat Chris Heunis, the powerful constitutional development minister, in the Cape Province district of Helderberg.

Mrs. Lategan also is not favored to win in her district, site of the University of Stellenbosch, the leading college for the mainly Dutch-descended Afrikaners who control the National Party.

A group of 28 Stellenbosch professors have broken with the government and endorsed the goals of the independents, including a share of power for the voteless black majority and abolition of the Group Areas Act that mandates racially segregated neighborhoods.

The professors, sharply criticized in the Nationalist press, were defended Saturday in a petition signed by 301 other Stellenbosch academics.

Botha promised continued segregated neighborhoods in his Friday night speech in the Transvaal province town of Ermelo.

″The rich people buy their apartheid with large residences and properties,″ he said. ″The poor man must live where he can afford to. I’m on the side of the white worker.″

By law and custom, apartheid establishes a racially segregated society in which the 24 million blacks have no vote in national affairs. The 5 million whites control the economy and maintain separate districts, schools and health services.

At stake in the election, called two years ahead of schedule by Botha, are the 166 elected seats in Parliament’s dominant white chamber. Seats in the Asian and mixed-race chambers will not be contested until 1989.

In another development, a Supreme Court judge on Saturday upheld a ban on a rally planned by the country’s largest black labor federation to a launch a nationwide campaign for higher wages.

Justice G.G. Gordon did not elaborate on his reasons for rejecting an appeal filed by the 500,000-member Congress of South African Trade Unions, which had planned to hold the rally Sunday at a soccer stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg’s main black township.

Lawyers representing Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok, who issued the ban Thursday, said the rally would have constituted a threat to the state. Under security legislation adopted in March 1986, all unauthorized outdoor meetings in South Africa are banned.

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