Mandela Urges Afrikaners To Vote
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ President Nelson Mandela reassured Afrikaners on Tuesday that they would have a place in the new South Africa, but warned them not to ``hanker after the past,″ when they ruled during apartheid.
Mandela, who has campaigned tirelessly for his African National Congress in advance of the June 2 election, spoke at a civic center Tuesday in Vereeniging, a mainly Afrikaner town about 40 miles south of Johannesburg.
Mandela said Afrikaners, the descendants of the original Dutch settlers and other Europeans, had contributed much to South Africa and continue to have a place in the country.
``There are still some people in the Afrikaner community who are negative about the changes in our country and who still hanker after the past,″ he said, according to South African Press Association. ``Fortunately they are always a smaller, noisier group, but it does not become any Afrikaner to be part of this group.″
Police, meanwhile, deactivated a crude explosive device found outside the Pretoria home of a local leader of the Freedom Front, a conservative white-dominated party. It was unclear who placed the device at Joseph Chiole’s home.
``We hope this is not the start of intimidation being used in politics,″ said Freedom Front spokesman Kallie Kriel.
Earlier in the day, Mandela promised several thousand people in the nearby black township of Sebokeng that the next ANC government would deliver more employment opportunities. Since the ANC won the first all-race election in 1994, the economy has lost more than 500,000 jobs. The ANC is expected to sweep the June 2 vote.
``In the next five years we will speed up our plan. A major national offensive will be launched against the scourge of unemployment and poverty,″ Mandela said.