South African Ambassador to Britain Quits With PM-South Africa, Bjt
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ South Africa’s reform-minded ambassador to Britain has resigned, the government said today, and there were reports he would challenge President P.W. Botha’s party in upcoming parliamentary elections.
Foreign Minister R.F. Botha said in Cape Town that Ambassador Denis Worrall ″has asked to be relieved of his duties. I agreed.″
In London, Worrall said he resigned to return home and ″re-enter national life,″ but he made no comment on whether he will run for Parliament against the governing National Party he has long supported.
″In particular, I believe that this is a time for bridge-builders within all communities in South Africa to make themselves heard,″ Worrall said in a statement from the South African Embassy.
The Cape Times newspaper reported today that Worrall, among the strongest supporters of racial reform in Botha’s National Party, was considering running against the National Party in upcoming elections among white voters.
The newspaper said Worrall was increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of concrete initiatives toward reforms in South Africa’s policy of apartheid, or racial segregation.
The paper said it was unclear whether Worrall would run as an independent or join the liberal opposition Progressive Federal Party.
Last week, a leading reformist member of the National Party in Parliament, Wynand Malan, quit the party and said he would run as an independent in his suburban Johannesburg constituency. The Progressive Federal Party said it would not put up a candidate to oppose Malan.
That defection drew widespread publicity as a sign that Botha was facing a possible rebellion from younger ″New Nationalists″ who favor moves toward political accommodation with the black majority.
The announcement of Worrall’s resignation came less than two hours before Botha announced that the first white election in six years will be held May 6.
The Cape Times said Worrall was considering running for Parliament in one of two districts now represented by two powerful old-guard Cabinet minsters. They are Chris Heunis, minister of constitutional development and planning, and Home Affairs Minister Stoffel Botha.
Such a challenge would be certain to become a bitter and direct conflict between supporters of the Botha government and more liberal opponents. Worrall previously served as a National Party member of Parliament for a Cape Town district.
He also was chairman of the constitutional committee in the President’s Council, which helped shape plans for the constitution that took effect in 1984. That system created separate chambers of Parliament for the Asian and mixed-race minorities, while ensuring that whites retained the final say on legislation.
The 24-million strong black majority is excluded from Parliament, and votes only in elections for 10 tribal homeland governments. Botha has said blacks must be included in a still undefined power-sharing arrangement, but that any new system must protect the rights of the 5 million whites and other minorities.
Under apartheid, the whites control the government and economy and maintain separate residential districts, health facilities and schools.
Worrall has privately expressed support for a multi-racial government in Natal province, proposed by moderate Zulu leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the Cape Times said.
Stoffel Botha one of those whom Worrall might challenge, has rejected the plan outright.
Worrall, 48, became ambassador to Britain in August 1984 after 18 months as ambassador to Australia. Some analysts said at the time that Worrall’s move to the diplomatic corps rather than into the Cabinet showed he already was losing Botha’s favor.
Worrall has taught international relations at universities in South Africa and the United States, and holds a doctorate from Cornell University and a South African law degree.
He has participated in academic studies on possible future constitutional solutions for South Africa.