Government Admits More Secret Funds Given To Inkatha
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ The government admitted Sunday an additional $600,000 in secret funds were channeled to a black political group, broadening a scandal that threatens to disrupt efforts to end apartheid.
The latest disclosures came two days after officials said $100,000 in aid had been given secretly to the Inkatha Freedom Party, the main rival of the African National Congress.
The revelations of the funding operations could hurt the credibility of Inkatha and President F.W. de Klerk’s 2-year-old government, which has taken strides to end white-minority rule. Inkatha’s leader on Sunday again insisted the organization did not know of the government contributions.
The announcement Sunday also indicated the clandestine funding occurred under the government of President P.W. Botha, who refused to legalize the ANC and opposed drastic reforms in apartheid laws.
Some of the sharpest criticism has been lodged by ANC leader Nelson Mandela, who said his group could break off relations with the government and call off plans for talks on power sharing between black and whites.
The ANC and Inkatha have waged a power struggle for leadership of the anti- apartheid movement since the mid-1980s, and clashes between supporters in black townships have claimed 6,000 lives. The ANC has often alleged the government secretly aided Inkatha, a charge the governnment and Inkatha had denied.
There has been no proof that the security forces directly assisted Inkatha in specific attacks against ANC backers.
On Sunday, Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok said during a interview on state-run television that the government channeled $600,000 to Inkatha’s trade union movement over a six-year period. He did not give any additional details, such as when the funding ended or what Inkatha did with the money.
Earlier Sunday, The Sunday Star newspaper quoted Parliament member Kobus Jordaan claiming he had proof the government paid Inkatha’s union movement $2 million. Jordaan said the money flow began Inkatha before De Klerk succeeded Botha as president in August 1989. De Klerk removed the ban on the ANC last year.
Vlok said Friday that the government provided Inkatha with $100,000 in 1989 and 1990 for rallies to protest the international sanctions. At the time, he said the payments have been halted.
Vlok also acknowledged that police had been involved in political activities to enforce apartheid laws. But he said the infiltrations had ceased under de Klerk.
″In the past, the government was embroiled in a battle,″ Vlok said Sunday. ″It now is illegal for any policeman to belong to a political party.″
De Klerk is trying to bring together opposition groups for talks on a new constitution that will extend voting rights to the 30 million black majority.
But Mandela said Friday the latest disclosures have put the ANC and the government on a ″collision course″ that could lead to a breakdown of already strained relations.
Meanwhile, Inkatha leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi claimed Sunday he ″was never informed ... that (government) money had been deposited in an Inkatha bank account.″
Other top Inkatha officials also denied any knowledge of the money.
Buthelezi said many anonymous payments were made to an Inkatha bank account set up to receive contributions from donors wishing to avoid identification.
Buthelezi, speaking on the final day of the group’s national conference, accused the media of being ″anti-Inkatha.″
Buthelezi was re-elected as Inkatha’s leader Sunday and was carried on the shoulders of supporters at the conclusion of the conference in the eastern town of Ulundi, the capital of the Zulu homeland. Buthelezi serves as chief minister of the homeland.
Unlike the ANC, Inkatha has never supported armed resistance to fight apartheid and it has opposed international sanctions. It favors a free-market economy and other policies supported by the government.
Buthelezi meets regularly with government officials and there have been hints of a possible political alliance between Inkatha and de Klerk’s National Party.