Negotiators Agree on New Army, Abolition of Black 'Homelands'
Nov. 17, 1993
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ The government and African National Congress agreed today on the final outstanding issues of their two-year talks, clearing the way for F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela to sign a revolutionary pact creating a color-blind South Africa.
Other black and white groups at the talks were considering the latest ANC- government agreements, with all the 21 political parties expected to approve them tonight.
The signing ceremony, originally scheduled for this morning, was repeatedly delayed as negotiators struggled to wrap up work on an interim constitution that will treat blacks and whites equally for the first time since Dutch merchants arrived in 1652.
Talks had progressed rapidly overnight after a meeting in Pretoria between de Klerk, now likely a lame-duck president, and ANC leader Mandela, the former anti-apartheid political prisoner expected to take the country's helm after the first multiracial election April 27.
With negotiators in an ebullient mood, champagne was put on ice for toasts to celebrate the historic pact. The snags emerged this morning.
Observers said the agreements reached this morning represented concessions by both sides aimed at completing the protracted negotiations and satisfying demands by an alliance of pro-apartheid whites and conservative black groups boycotting the talks.
A joint statement from the government and the ANC said decisions by the first post-apartheid Cabinet would be made in a ''consensus-seeking spirit,'' indicating they were unable to agree on exactly how many votes would be needed to adopt policy.
Parties will be awarded Cabinet posts according to the number of parliament seats they win in the April election. The ANC, which could win more than half the vote, sought a simple majority for Cabinet decisions that would permit it to govern alone.
De Klerk's governing National Party, likely to finish second in the balloting, wanted at least a two-thirds majority.
The two sides also agreed a final constitution would have to be approved by 60 percent of the lawmakers chosen in the April.
The package involved an interim constitution and bill of rights, an electoral law, and legislation establishing independent broadcasting authorities, a 400-member national assembly, a 90-member senate, nine regions with their own legislatures and a multiparty Cabinet headed by a president and at least one vice president.
After its approval by the multiparty negotiators, it will be sent to the last session of the all-white parliament, which sits Monday, for its rubber stamp. Approval is certain.
Issues approved overnight included a plan to reform the army by integrating it with elements of black anti-apartheid forces, and setting out a two-tier police system, with police answerable to regional governors in addition to the national police.
The council also approved a resolution to reincorporate into South Africa four so-called ''independent'' black homelands, created in apartheid's vain attempt to permanently separate blacks and whites.
The states, whose sovereignty was recognized only by South Africa, are Venda, Ciskei, Transkei and Bophuthatswana. Two of the four - Ciskei and Bophuthatswana - have opposed the talks and threatened to reject any attempts to impose agreements on them.
''A new country is being born,'' de Klerk said during a visit Tuesday to the World Trade Center in Kempton Park, the scene of the harried talks.
Despite the signing, government sources said the final charter could still be adjusted to satisfy the Freedom Alliance, a bloc of potentially dangerous conservative whites and blacks fearful of ANC dominance.
The alliance, which groups well-armed white, right-wing organizations, the powerful Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party and the two conservative homelands, warned the government and ANC against finalizing any constitution without its consent.
''There is reason to believe that we could make progress,'' said Rowan Cronje, a Bophuthatswana official and chief negotiator for the Freedom Alliance. ''There's no reason why time factors should not allow for that.''
De Klerk aides said negotiating doors would remain open to the alliance and the president would meet with its leaders Friday.
The election next year will choose a proportionally elected parliament that will form an interim government to rule the country until 1999. The new parliament also would write a final constitution by 1996, based on principles of the interim charter.
To reassure whites and other minorities, any party achieving 5 percent of the vote would join the Cabinet. The party that comes in second, after an expected ANC win, would name a vice president.
The bill of rights would permit compensation of black South Africans forced from their land since 1913. Millions of blacks would be eligible for restitution.
Led by de Klerk's National Party and Mandela's ANC, the negotiators' task was to find a peaceful way to transfer power from an affluent but nervous white minority to the long-oppressed and impoverished black majority.
For their efforts, Mandela and de Klerk got the Nobel Peace Prize last month. Both said the real prize would be getting through the coming years without bloodshed.