ANC Seeks Worldwide Boycott of S. Africa on Monday
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ The African National Congress on Thursday ordered its offices around the world to hold vigils and boycott South African products on Monday to mourn victims of last week’s township massacre.
Meanwhile, international pressure grew for the ANC, the nation’s leading black group, and the white government to settle their differences and resume talks on ending white minority rule.
The ANC broke off talks with the government on Tuesday to protest the slaughter of 42 people in the Boipatong black township on June 17.
President F.W. de Klerk said Wednesday he wanted two days of urgent talks with the ANC to discuss complaints on both sides and hopefully end the political crisis.
De Klerk said the government was concerned about chronic township violence and about the ANC’s campaign of strikes launched last week to protest what it calls the government’s intransigence in the talks.
The ANC dismissed de Klerk’s response as a propaganda ploy, but said it wanted to meet with the president to explain its decision to pull out of the talks, which had begun in 1990.
In a statement on Thursday, the ANC said efforts to arrange a meeting between ANC President Nelson Mandela and de Klerk fell through because of scheduling problems. It said it would deliver a memorandum to de Klerk’s office Friday and ask for a written response.
The ANC also said it ordered its offices throughout the world to hold vigils outside South African embassies on Monday and call for boycotts of South African products. It already had asked South Africans to stay home from work that day in a sign of mourning.
On Wednesday, the ANC said South Africa should be banned from the Olympic games, which the country is scheduled to compete in this year for the first time since 1960.
More than 8,000 blacks have died in political violence since de Klerk took office in August 1989. The government blames most of the fighting on a power struggle between the ANC and the Zulu-dominated Inkatha Freedom Party.
About 200 people in Boipatong held a memorial service Thursday for victims of the massacre, who were hacked and shot to death during a nighttime raid on the township.
Residents blamed the bloodbath on Inkatha and said police aided the attackers. Police and Inkatha have denied the charge.
″This violence is planned violence and it won’t end today. It is perpetrated by a satanic type of government,″ Ernest Sotsu, a local ANC leader, told the crowd. ″I call on the people ... to organize defense units and go to war. You must drive out the enemy.″
De Klerk has promised an investigation of the incident. At least five people have been detained for questioning, but no charges have been filed.
Chief Emeka Anyaoku, secretary-general of the 50-nation Commonwealth, told British Broadcasting Radio he may visit South Africa in an effort to revive the negotiations between the ANC and the government.
The U.S. Embassy said it would observe Monday as a day of mourning and urged both sides to work toward resuming the negotiations.