Monday, 02 March 1987

South Africa: The Questions That Need to Be Asked

Written by  Warren L. McFerran

The issue of South Africa is of concern to everyone, not just South Africans. Indeed, according to former British Foreign Secretary David Owen, it is over this issue "that the world faces its greatest challenge." Faced with such a challenge, it is time for all concerned Americans to penetrate the haze of myths and misconceptions that has been deliberately created.

Unless we wish to see a repetition of the recent tragedies of Iran, Nicaragua, and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) — where U.S. foreign policy decisions resulted in the replacement of friendly governments with anti-American, pro-Soviet regimes — we must seek out the truth by raising pertinent questions and obtaining factual answers. In light of the Free World's hostility toward South Africa, a good place to begin is by raising a very fundamental and simple question.

Is South Africa our friend?
Although South Africans have reason to question if we are really their friends, there can be no doubt that they are ours. The Republic of South Africa allows the United States to maintain and operate space tracking stations on her soil, provides the United States with strategic military data on the operations of Soviet ships plying the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic, and was one of America's very few supporters during the Vietnam War.

South Africa is in fact one of our best friends in the world. Clear evidence of this can be found in the book, United Nations Journal: A Delegate's Odyssey, which was written by William F. Buckley Jr. and published in 1974. In the book's appendix, Buckley ranked the various member nations of the UN in the order in which they supported 14 key issues and causes favored by the United States. According to him, South Africa was the only country in the world to have voted in support of the United States 100 percent of the time.

In the years since 1974, the South African delegation to the UN has not been allowed to participate in the General Assembly. Without its participation, the United States does not presently have even one friendly African voice. On June 6, 1986, the U.S. State Department rated all members of the UN General Assembly according to key votes of particular interest to the United States. Of 50 African nations, the highest rating was 27 percent (Ivory Coast) and the group average was 15 percent.

Despite the current efforts to portray White South Africans as "fascists" and "neo-Nazis," the truth is that South African forces fought alongside U.S. troops in World War II to help defeat Nazi Germany and the other Axis Powers. South Africa was also America's ally in World War I, the Korean War, and the Berlin Airlift. It is especially noteworthy that the United States does not have to purchase South Africa's friendship. That country has never asked for nor received any foreign aid from the United States of America.

How economically advanced and technologically sophisticated is South Africa?
In stark contrast with all the other nations of the African continent, the Republic of South Africa is an economic and technological success story. According to a study made by the United Nations, South Africa is one of the few "developed" nations in the world and the only one on the continent of Africa. Occupying only about 3.5 percent of the surface of Africa, South Africa produces 66 percent of the continent's steel, 54 percent of its wool, and 36 percent of its maize. She also provides 40 percent of the continent's industrial output and 45 percent of its mining output, has 29 percent of its railway lines and 46 percent of its passenger and commercial vehicles, and consumes 60 percent of its electricity.

Modern, interprovincial, four-lane superhighways stretch across the country. Cars, televisions, radios, and all the other conveniences of modern life are to be found in South Africa. Computers are made there, the world's first successful human heart transplant was performed there, and a method of enriching uranium was discovered there. That country has overcome threatened oil embargoes by developing a process of manufacturing oil from coal, and she has also successfully overcome an arms embargo by developing her own armaments industry.

Many of the other countries on the continent as far north as Zaire are heavily dependent upon the South African economy. Not only do more than one million foreign Black Africans find employment in that country, but most of the Black-ruled nations in southern Africa are almost totally dependent on South Africa for such basic needs as transportation and electricity. In fact, it has been said that, with a flip of a switch, South Africa could plunge the rest of southern Africa into darkness.

How important is South Africa to the Free World?
The Republic of South Africa is much more than a friendly, prosperous nation. She is also strategically vital to the United States. A free, friendly, pro-Western South Africa is fundamental to our own self-interest because of its valuable mineral resources and its strategic geographic position.

Although the average American seldom considers his country's strategic vulnerabilities, the truth is that our modern industrialized economy is linked to key raw materials that must be imported from abroad, especially from southern Africa. In 1980, the Subcommittee on Mines and Mining in the U.S. House of Representatives issued a report on this strategic vulnerability that was best known by the name of the subcommittee's chairman, Representative James Santini. In its Preface, the Santini Report asserted: "No issue facing America in the decade ahead poses the risks and dangers to the national economy and defense, presented by this nation's dependence on foreign sources for strategic and critical minerals."

Two years later, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations issued a report on the U.S. mineral dependence on South Africa:

The Western industrial world depends heavily on Southern Africa for chrome, manganese, vanadium and platinum. A major disruption in the supply of these minerals would have a disastrous impact on oil refining and the production of a variety of specialty steels needed in such industries as aerospace and machine tools.... The U.S. is almost completely dependent on imports of chromium, manganese, and platinum.... It is particularly dependent on South Africa for imports of chrome and ferrochrome and platinum.

South Africa contains the world's largest known deposits of gold, platinum, chrome, manganese, vanadium, and fluorspar. It also contains substantial deposits of antimony, asbestos, coal, copper, diamonds, iron ore, lead, limestone, mica, nickel, phosphates, titanium, uranium, vermiculite, zinc, and zirconium. Nevertheless, even if we completely ignore the fact that South Africa is a mineral treasure house, that country is still strategically important to the West due to her geographic position. The Cape Colony was in fact first founded in 1652 precisely because it occupied such a strategic position along the trade route from the East Indies to Western Europe. Today, the Cape sea route is the busiest in the world, with more than 26,000 ships a year sailing around the Cape of Good Hope. More than 50 percent of Western Europe's oil and 25 percent of its food supplies are routed via the Cape sea route, while nearly 30 percent of all U.S. oil imports are routed around the Cape.

Recent studies of world shipping routes determined that there are some 19 "choke points" around the globe where shipping could be conveniently interrupted or halted altogether. One of these "choke points" is Cape Town. Of equal significance, another seven of these world "choke points" are in the Indian Ocean area — an area where Soviet presence is effectively countered only by South African naval power.

What is apartheid and why was it adopted?
South Africa is home to approximately 30 million people, including about five million Whites, at least 20 million Blacks (Bantu), and nearly 4 million Coloreds (mixed race) and Indians (Asians). That country is not really one nation, but is in fact many nations, each possessing its own language, cultural heritage, and loyalties. Even among the Whites, two languages are spoken — English and a unique language derived from Dutch known as Afrikaans. The Coloreds speak either English or Afrikaans, or both. Among the Asians, 65 percent are Hindus, 21 percent are Muslims, 7 percent are Christians and Buddhists, and 7 percent are officially classified as "other."

Yet the greatest tribal and cultural diversity is among the Bantu. Blacks are divided into ten major tribes, each loyal to itself and jealous of the others. Within the major tribes are sub-tribal groupings and clan divisions. The Venda, for instance, are South Africa's most homogenous Bantu tribal group; yet they are really an amalgamation of 27 different tribes. Among the Zulu, on the other hand, there are 200 distinct tribes. The Bantu languages can be divided into four main groups, 23 sub-groups, and numerous local dialects.

The philosopher John Stewart Mill observed early in the 19th century: "Free institutions are next to impossible in a country made of different nationalities. Among a people without fellow feelings, especially if they read and write different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist."

Instead of trying to create a great unitary state from the diverse elements within its borders, South Africa adopted in 1948 the policy of apartheid — or more properly, Separate Development — whereby each major population group was recognized as a nation entitled to develop its own political and social institutions separate from the others. According to this policy, each of South Africa's ten major Bantu homelands would evolve into a self-governing, independent, democratic sovereign state.

In October 1976, the Republic of Transkei received its independence from South Africa, thereby becoming the first Bantu homeland to achieve sovereign status. The second Bantu homeland to receive its independence was the Republic of Bophuthatswana, which became autonomous in December 1977. The Republic of Venda became sovereign in September 1979; and, in December 1981, the Republic of Ciskei was born.

Although the rest of the world refuses to recognize these sovereign Bantu states, as of January 1987 there were six other Bantu homelands awaiting their turn for complete self-government: the National State of Gazankulu, the National State of Kangwane, the National State of Kwandebele, the National State of Kwazulu, the National State of Lebowa, and the National State of Qwaqwa.

Have Blacks enjoyed the fruits of South Africa's prosperity?
Because South Africa is a "meeting place" between the First World and the Third World economies, it is not surprising that a gap exists between Black and White standards of living. What is surprising to many, however, is that the gap has narrowed substantially: From 1971-1980, the real income of Blacks increased by 40 percent while that of Whites actually decreased by three percent.

Even South Africa's most severe critics will acknowledge that the country offers Blacks greater opportunities than does any other nation on the continent. As a consequence, millions of alien Blacks seek to enter South Africa every year, legally or illegally -- in sharp contrast with conditions in Communist-held lands such as East Berlin, where a wall has been erected to prevent people from escaping.

Statistics released on March 28, 1980 gave a good indication of the Bantu lifestyle in the South Western Township (Soweto) near Johannesburg, where more than one million Blacks reside. The report revealed that Soweto had more than 1,600 Black-owned businesses, 300 churches, 314 schools, 115 soccer fields, 81 basketball courts, 39 children's playgrounds, 4 soccer stadiums, 6 public swimming pools, 5 bowling alleys, 11 post offices, 6 libraries, 63 day-care centers, and 2 golf courses.

According to statistics released in February 1984, one out of every three South African Blacks owns a refrigerator; 20.2 percent of the Bantu own automobiles, 11.8 percent own color televisions; 5.4 percent own washing machines; and 2.7 percent own freezers. These percentages are not high compared to the standard of living that we enjoy in the U.S., but they are high compared to the primitive conditions that exist elsewhere on the African continent.

One of the best yardsticks for measuring the standard of living is the percentage of income that has to be devoted to the most essential item of all, food. Generally, the higher this percentage, the lower the standard of living. According to the 1984 report, South African Blacks spend an average of 45.1 percent of their household budget on food, which is virtually the same percentage that goes to food among the wage earners of Italy. In fact, South African Blacks spend a smaller percentage of their household income on food than do the populations of any other African country where comparisons were possible. (In many African countries comparisons were not possible because as little as six percent of the populations were employed in wage-earning jobs.)

How does South Africa's human rights record compare with the record for the rest of Africa?
South Africa's State President Pieter W. Botha recently issued this challenge to the world: "It is the big lie that a Black government in Africa is, of necessity, a majority government. I challenge the world to contradict me. It is a sad fact that only a minute percentage of Blacks in Africa have obtained democracy, liberty and justice."

Strife, famine, anarchy, and civil war are the hallmarks of Black Africa, and racism against non-Blacks is widely encouraged and institutionalized. Article 27 of the Liberian Constitution, for instance, declares that "only persons who are Negro or of Negro descent shall qualify by birth or by naturalization to be citizens of Liberia."

Free elections in the countries north of South Africa are non-existent, and the usual mode of changing governments in Black-ruled Africa is through violent revolution. In some cases, the deposed ruler is actually cooked and eaten by cannibals. A case in point is Major General Ironyi of Nigeria, who was actually eaten by the victorious tribe following his overthrow.

Toward the end of 1985, the Catholic daily Munno reported on conditions in Uganda: "The soldiers are once again on the rampage, shooting and knifing civilians, abducting women and young girls and taking turns to rape them." According to Amnesty International, atrocities in Uganda routinely involve raping women and "crushing or pulling testicles of men."

The Republic of South Africa has by far the best human rights record on the African continent. Yet the "human rights" zealots in the Free World have chosen to ignore glaring abuses of real human rights in the rest of Africa and have concentrated on South Africa. As a result of this persistent criticism and pressure, the South African Government has resolved to abolish apartheid.

Is the internal reform process real?
The South African people have often reminded the world that they are an independent, sovereign nation, asserting that their sins, whatever they may be, are not ours. Yet they are also sensitive to Free World criticism, and they have accordingly dismantled the most objectionable laws that have become associated with the concept of Separate Development (apartheid), including pass laws, laws forbidding interracial marriage, and restrictive housing laws. In recent times, nearly every phase of South African life has been integrated, from the work place to the sports stadium.

The first major constitutional step toward a form of "power sharing" was made in 1984 with the adoption of a new Constitution. This "New Dispensation" provided for a tricameral legislature, with Whites, Coloreds, and Asians each having their own house of parliament. Although not yet finalized, plans are currently being made to include Blacks in the evolving federation structure.

So genuine are these changes that a major political realignment has occurred in South Africa. Conservative South Africans, who had traditionally provided the chief grassroots support for the ruling Nationalist Party, now form the chief opposition to the government. On the other hand, South African White liberals and leftists, who were formerly the government's main critics, are now the most vocal supporters of the reform program.

The reform program in South Africa is certainly genuine. But it has also made South Africa vulnerable to attack. The philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville once observed: "Experience shows that the most dangerous moment for a bad government is usually that point at which it begins to reform itself." This is also true for good governments, when they undergo reform in the face of charges and accusations that they are "bad" governments. Such a government undergoing reform in response to pressure and coercion is vulnerable because its action is widely perceived as a sign of weakness and as an admission of past wrong-doing. Not only has the Free World utilized South Africa's reform process as the means to increase coercive tactics, but internal subversive groups have seized the opportunity to launch an unprecedented and bloody wave of revolution within South Africa.

Does the Soviet Union have designs on South Africa?
Leonid Brezhnev stated in 1973: "Our aim is to gain control of the two great treasure houses on which the West depends — the energy treasure house of the Persian Gulf and the minerals treasure house of central and southern Africa."

In his book, Strategy and Economics, Soviet Major-General A. N. Lagovskiy stressed the same theme, noting that America's dependency on certain strategic materials from abroad constituted a "weak link" in the U.S. defense strategy for the Free World. The Soviet authority candidly stated that it is a top priority in the Kremlin and its satellites to deprive the Free World, especially the United States, of key raw materials necessary for the survival of the industrialized Western economies.

Not only are the Soviets moving rapidly to surround the strategic Middle East, but they are also moving rapidly to conquer all of southern Africa. Angola, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe are already in the hands of puppet dictators loyal to World Communism. There are also numerous Communist-bloc combat troops stationed in southern Africa, including some 40,000 Cuban troops in Angola alone. As a consequence of these ominous developments, South Africa finds herself completely flanked by hostile Marxist states, and the final battle for the control of southern Africa has already begun.

Testifying before the Subcommittee on Mines and Mining in the House of Representatives in September 1980, Alexander Haig stated: "Should future trends, especially in southern Africa, result in alignment with Moscow of this critical resource area, then the USSR will control as much as 90 percent of several key minerals for which no substitutes have been developed, and the loss of which could bring the severest consequences to the existing economic and security framework of the Free World."

What are the main anti-apartheid revolutionary groups in South Africa, and who are their leaders?
Of the many revolutionary groups operating against the Republic of South Africa, two predominate — the African National Congress (ANC) and the United Democratic Front (UDF). Since the former has been officially banned by the government for its open advocacy and employment of violence, the ANC's main headquarters is located in Lusaka, the capital of Marxist Zambia. Situated next to the golf course of Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda's palace are the buildings where ANC officials meet guests, supporters, and admirers. Yet the real action takes place in the bombproof, multi-story underground structure that houses the ANC's National Executive Committee and the Soviet case officers. Within the confines of that elaborate shelter, ANC-Soviet personnel map out their "Active Measures" campaign against the Republic of South Africa.

Although the original purpose of the ANC, which was founded in 1912, is rather obscure, ample documentation exists proving that it is now totally dominated and controlled by the South African Communist Party (SACP), which in turn is controlled by the Kremlin. In his official history of the South African Communist Party, Michael Harmel, writing under the pseudonym A. Lerumo, stated:

Today the ANC has been so thoroughly infiltrated and taken over by the SACP that the two are virtually synonymous.... Joint planning by the USSR, ANC and SACP of the strategy to be used against South Africa is coordinated in Moscow where there has recently been increasing pressure on the ANC to provide proof that it is capable of "intensifying the struggle."

In November 1982, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism issued a report, entitled Soviet, East German and Cuban Involvement in Fomenting Terrorism in Southern Africa. Among those who testified before the Subcommittee was Bartholomew Hlapane, a former member of the Central Committee of the SACP and of the National Executive Committee of the ANC. Hlapane, it should be noted, paid with his life for daring to tell the truth about the African National Congress. Shortly after giving his testimony before the Subcommittee, he was gunned down by an ANC assassin armed with a Soviet AK-47 assault rifle.

Hlapane testified: "No major decision could be taken by the ANC without the concurrence and approval of the Central Committee of the SACP. Most major developments were in fact initiated by the Central Committee." He added: "The military wing of the ANC, also known as Umkhonto we Sizwe, was the brainchild of the SACP, and, after the decision to create it had been taken, Joe Slovo and J. B. Marks were sent by the Central Committee of the SACP to Moscow to organize arms and ammunition and to raise funds for Umkhonto we Sizwe." Joe Slovo, a White South African and a Colonel in the Soviet KGB, is a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC and of the Central Committee of the SACP.

The acting head of the ANC is Oliver Tambo, who has repeatedly promised death and violence for South Africa. Although there is no firm evidence that Tambo is an official member of the SACP, he serves, along with two other top ANC leaders, Alfred Nzo and Yusuf Dadoo, on the Presidential Committee of the World Peace Council, a well-known Soviet front organization. Tambo has also attended official meetings of various Communist Parties around the world, and has even addressed some of those meetings to praise the goals of the world Communist movement.

At the 60th anniversary celebration of the South African Communist Party, held on July 30, 1981, Tambo stated: "Members of the ANC fully understand why both the ANC and the SACP are two hands in the same body, why they are two pillars of our revolution." That same year, Tambo also stated: "The relationship with the South African Communist Party is not an accident of history — the SACP has been an integral part of the struggle of the African people.... Ours is not merely a paper alliance ... it is a living organism that has grown out of struggle...."

Thus, by Tambo's own admission there is a definite link between the Communists and his own ANC. On January 23, 1987, to quell concerns about the weapons that the ANC receives from the Soviet Union, Tambo stated: "Because we are getting arms from them for free does not mean we are mortgaging ourselves." If the ANC really is not mortgaging itself to the Soviets, it can only be because it has already done so.

Of course, the symbolic leader and "martyr" of the ANC is Nelson Mandela, who has been serving a life sentence in prison since 1964 for plotting the violent overthrow of the South African Government. When brought to trial in 1964, Mandela confessed to writing books "on guerrilla warfare and military training" and admitted that he "planned violence." Placed in evidence at the trial were documents in his own handwriting bearing such titles as Dialectical Materialism and How To Be A Good Communist.

In one document, Mandela wrote: "As in Cuba, the general uprising must be sparked off by organized and well-prepared guerrilla operations...." In another, he wrote: "We Communist Party members are the most advanced revolutionaries in modern history...." And in still another: "The people of South Africa, led by the South African Communist Party, will destroy capitalist society and build in its place socialism...."

For the past few years, the South African Government has offered to release Nelson Mandela if only he would pledge to refrain from violence. Mandela has thus far refused to take that pledge. While he stays in prison, by his own choice, his wife Winnie serves as his mouthpiece and carries on with his revolutionary work.

Is the ANC a tool of the Communist Conspiracy?
The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism, which investigated both the ANC and SWAPO (a terrorist group attacking South West Africa/Namibia), stated in its November 1982 report:

The evidence received by the Subcommittee is deeply disturbing. It suggests strongly that the original purposes of the ANC and SWAPO have been subverted, and that the Soviets and their allies have achieved alarmingly effective control over them. The demonstrated activities of these organizations, moreover, cannot easily be reconciled with the goal of liberation or the promotion of freedom. The evidence has thus served to illustrate once again the Soviet Union's support for terrorism under the guise of aiding struggles for national liberation. It is past time to bring these facts to the attention of our policymakers, the American people, and the world at large.

The report also concluded:

The findings of the Subcommittee appear particularly relevant at a time when SWAPO and the ANC are being touted as the sole legitimate political forces and representatives of the people of Namibia and South Africa, respectively. Cuba, Vietnam, Nicaragua, and Iran are glaring and tragic reminders of our failure to fully comprehend and appreciate the motives, ideologies and interrelationships of those who sought political power under the guise of national liberation. These situations also serve as graphic examples of the terrible price which others have paid for our previous mistakes.

Does the UDF provide an alternative to the ANC?
The United Democratic Front (UDF) was launched in August 1983 during an emotion-filled multi-racial rally at Cape Town. Although the UDF claims to be a nonviolent alternative to the violent ANC and to represent some 700 anti-apartheid groups, it is clearly an internal front for the banned ANC. The UDF was in fact launched amidst chants of "Tambo! Tambo!" The delegates at the founding meeting elected three well-known ANC supporters — Archie Gumede, Oscar Mpetha, and Albertina Sisulu — as UDF presidents. Among the 14 people elected as UDF Patrons were Nelson Mandela, Dennis Goldberg, Goven Mbeki and Walter Sisulu, all of whom are serving life sentences in prison for their terrorist activities.

Thabo Mbeki, head of the ANC's Department of Information and Publicity, commented on the formation of the UDF: "The formation of the UDF is a very significant development.... This raises our struggle to a higher level." Writing in the Council on Foreign Relations journal Foreign Affairs, Dr. Thomas G. Karis, a supporter of the ANC and clearly no friend of South Africa, hailed the launching of the UDF as "the best organized display of support for the ANC in almost a quarter of a century."

The current leader of the UDF is Dr. Allan Boesak, President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. Dr. Boesak spearheaded the UDF's first major drive by sponsoring the "One Million Signatures" campaign, ostensibly to gain support for the UDF, but in reality to gain recruits for the ANC. The campaign was exposed by the prestigious South African journal, The Aida Parker Newsletter, which termed it "One Million Signatures for Communism." Regarding his own views, Dr. Boesak has stated: "I do not expect we will have the sort of classic Marxist textbook revolution people talk about. What we will have ... is something of a Lebanon situation."

Rounding out the anti-apartheid forces is the outspoken Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu, who has publicly expressed his fondness for socialism. In 1979, for instance, Tutu declared: "I am a socialist — I detest capitalism. Capitalism is exploitive and I cannot stand that." In February 1984, he claimed that "we will not have security and peace until we have justice, and we will not have that without the participation of the premier black liberation group, the ANC." In November of that year, he predicted that, "if the Russians were to come to South Africa today, then most blacks who reject Communism as atheistic and materialistic would welcome them as saviors. Anything would be better than apartheid." And in July 1986, in response to a speech by President Reagan on South Africa, the clergyman and Nobel Peace Prize recipient stated: "I am quite angry. I think the West, for my part, can go to hell."

What are these anti-apartheid revolutionary groups fighting for?
What the anti-apartheid revolutionary groups claim they are fighting against has always been far better understood than what they are fighting for. To clarify their position, the subversive groups formed the Congress of the People, which convened at Klipton, near Johannesburg, to adopt a so-called Freedom Charter on June 25 and 26, 1955. This Freedom Charter is still officially endorsed by the ANC and the UDF, and therefore offers further insight into the nature of the internal South Africa revolution.

The Freedom Charter promised a utopia for South Africa: "The People Shall Share the Country's Wealth!" "There Shall Be Work and Security!" "There Shall Be Houses, Security and Comfort!" "There Shall Be Peace and Friendship!" The method of bringing this worker's paradise to South Africa was spelled out in detail. "The national wealth of our country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people," by confiscation. "The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industries shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole," as Karl Marx advocated. "All other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the well-being of the people," as the basic tenets of scientific socialism dictate.

This Freedom Charter sounds as if it had been written by Communists because it was written by Communists. In testimony before the U.S. Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism, former ANC and SACP executive member Bartholomew Hlapane said: "It is a document I came to know about, just having been drafted by Joe Slovo at the request of the Central Committee and finally approved by the Central Committee of the Communist Party."

By what methods are the anti-apartheid groups "liberating" the South African people?
The revolutionary forces of "national liberation" within South Africa are trying to "liberate" the non-White peoples by waging a systematic campaign of terrorism in the Black townships and by murdering the very peoples they claim to be liberating. Dominating the scene in that country are assassinations and intimidation of Black policemen and democratically-elected local Black officials, firebombings of Black-owned businesses, boycotts and strikes enforced by coercion, calls for nonpayment of rent, and the establishment of revolutionary Marxist "People's Committees" and "People's Courts." The struggle is not Black versus White, but Black and White versus Red.

Black-on-Black civil war has gripped virtually every Black community in South Africa. At Crossroads, near Cape Town, decent Blacks have organized "vigilante" groups to defend themselves from crazed ANC-UDF mobs, and thousands of homes have been burned in pitched battles, leaving some 200,000 Blacks homeless. In Durban, Zulu Chief Gatsha Buthelezi's Inkatha members are openly battling the ANC-UDF Marxist "comrades." And in Soweto, one resident recently told a Newsweek reporter that "Soweto is in a state of civil war. It's no longer news to wake up in the morning and see bodies in the streets and the front yards." It was in response to the breakdown of law and order, in fact, that the South African government imposed a state of national emergency.

Especially significant is the growing number of public executions of decent, moderate Blacks with the technique of "necklacing." This technique calls for ANC-UDF radicals to place a rubber tire around a shackled victim's neck. The tire is then filled with gasoline and set on fire. As the victim is engulfed in flames, the radicals gather around to taunt him with a callousness that defies human understanding.

Necklacing is a savage form of torture and murder. Yet, Winnie Mandela has boldly proclaimed: "With our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country."

Whose side is our government on?
In many respects, this is by far the most important aspect of the South African crisis. Within the U.S. State Department, White House, and Congress, there is considerable disagreement over foreign policy toward South Africa. The disagreement, however, is largely confined to differences of opinion over how best to apply coercive pressure on the South African Government and assist the ANC-UDF forces.

Major shifts in U.S. foreign policy are usually first presented in Foreign Affairs, which is published by the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1980, Dr. Chester Crocker authored an article for that journal entitled, "South Africa: Strategy for Change." Crocker presented the strategy for inducing South Africa to undergo its reform process. Upon assuming the position of Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the Reagan Administration, Crocker carried out this strategy under the name "Constructive Engagement." The result has been to render South Africa more vulnerable to internal and external attack.

Despite the conservative image surrounding "Constructive Engagement," Crocker is on record as endorsing the ANC radicals, saying that they qualified "in a generic sense" as a group of freedom fighters. Even President Reagan has taken a stand on South Africa that has won the approval of Andrew Young. In an open letter to Bishop Desmond Tutu in mid-1986, Andrew Young stated: "For Ronald Reagan to recognize the need to un-ban Black political leadership and release Nelson Mandela is an important commitment."

The recent radical shift in U.S. foreign policy toward South Africa was signaled by the appearance of a 1984 article in Foreign Affairs by Dr. Thomas G. Karis. Karis praised the ANC and the UDF and concluded by declaring that the U.S. Government would like to see a South African Government led "by individuals like Frederick van Zyl Slabbert, the late Steve Biko, Desmond Tutu, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela."

The logical extension of this attitude was the passage of tough sanctions against South Africa by Congress in the fall of 1986. The proper phrase to describe the sanctions bill was ironically provided by Crocker himself, who told the Senate Subcommittee on African Affairs on September 26, 1984:

We fail to see how waging economic warfare against the Government of South Africa can advance our goals or serve the interests of either the American people or the citizens of all races in South Africa.... There is an Orwellian perversity in proposing such measures in the name of liberal and humanitarian goals.

There was indeed an "Orwellian perversity" in the Anti-Apartheid Act, the official name of the 1986 sanctions bill. Among other things, the law called for U.S. funding of anti-apartheid South African groups; termination of U.S. military cooperation with South Africa; pressure on Western allies to apply similar punitive measures; the "unbanning" of terrorist organizations such as the ANC; and the release of all "political prisoners," with Nelson Mandela mentioned by name.

In his remarks on the Senate floor in opposition to the sanctions bill, Senator Jesse Helms noted that the measure "is not about segregation. It is not about the sharing of power, it is about the transfer of power ... to a small minority elite. That elite is the Communist Party of South Africa." Helms continued:

The intent of the new legislation is to recognize the Communist movement of South Africa as the legitimate and preferred successor to the present government of South Africa. The bill itself gives preference in almost every respect only to those opponents of the government and those groups that are deeply committed to the Communist Party of South Africa, an organization funded and controlled by the Soviet Union. The non-Communist leaders of the Blacks and non-Whites are treated as though they do not exist.

The Senator from North Carolina asked: "Why is it that the only persons mentioned by name in the bill are Communists? Why is it that the only parties referenced are precisely those parties which are under the total control and support of the international Communist movement?" Helms summarized the matter by stating frankly that the measure "is a bill for Communist rule" in the Republic of South Africa.

How do the facts add up?
South Africa is a close friend and time-tested ally of the United States and, because of her geographic position and valuable mineral deposits, is strategically important to the survival of the Free World. South Africa has by far the best human rights record on the African continent. It is undergoing a genuine reform process, a process that has rendered that country more vulnerable to internal and external attack.

The Republic of South Africa is under attack by subversive forces that are clearly under the total control of Moscow. Those revolutionary forces are torturing and murdering the very peoples they claim to be liberating. Most important of all is the incontrovertible fact that our government is supporting those revolutionary forces.

Warren L. McFerran is the author of the book, The Betrayal of Southern Africa: The Tragic Story of Rhodesia and South Africa.

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