Botha Asks for Mandate to Meet with Blacks
Feb. 18, 1987
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ White voters should eventually concede more rights to other races, President P.W. Botha said in a statement read on national radio and television Wednesday night.
According to the South African Broadcasting Corp. report, the president said he was asking white voters in the May 6 parliamentary election to give him a mandate to talk with leaders of other races to find solutions to the country's problems.
The report did not quote the president directly or broadcast his delivery of the statement, so details were unclear. Blacks are denied the right to vote in national elections in South Africa.
The television news announcer was paraphrasing when he said Botha said ''eventually it will be the white voters' responsibility to concede more rights to other population groups.''
Also Wednesday, The Star newspaper reported white youths had roamed through the wealthy Waterkloof suburb east of Pretoria during the weekend, attacking blacks with tire irons, clubs and crowbars and seriously injuring at least five.
The police said they had received no report of the attacks, reportedly carried out by gangs of white youths who traveled in cars, jumped out and attacked small groups of blacks walking on the street or sitting on the sidewalks. The only blacks officially allowed to live in the area, designated for whites, are black diplomats and black servants who live on the premises of their employers.
By law and custom, South Africa's apartheid system 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.
In Parliament, the minister of law and order, Adriaan Vlok, said 11,006 people had been arrested during unrest in 1986, and 7,710 had been charged with offenses including public violence, malicious damage to property, arson, murder and assault.
Vlok, supplying the information on Tuesday, refused to say how many people have been detained without charge under state of emergency powers. He said such information would be misused by the government's enemies.
Monitoring groups have said the number of detentions is about 20,000. The government has never released an overall total figure on detainees.
Vlok said 1,144 of those charged were under 16, and 2,076 were between 16 and 18.
Censorship rules imposed under the state of emergency ban or restrict reporting about unrest, security force actions, treatment of detainees, most forms of peaceful protest and a broad range of statements the government considers subversive. The government's Bureau for Information is the main source of information on unrest, and its reports are usually abbreviated.