Afrikaners broadcast message of unity: Radio Pretoria defiant as far right meets Inkatha

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THE AFRIKANER volk are not as united as the separatists of the far right would wish. That is the main reason behind the creation of Radio Pretoria, an illegal station broadcasting from a hilltop east of the South African capital.

Radio Pretoria provides its listeners with solid Afrikaner fare: martial music, folk songs and readings of old Boer legends evoking the slaughter of settler children by as segai-wielding savages and their betrayal by British missionaries and other poisonous liberals.

The station has continued to broadcast despite the expiry of a licence granted by the government in September. The government's response has not been what it might have been had the radicals of the Pan-Africanist Congress decided to do likewise. There has been no suggestion of sending in the tanks.

A similar delicacy has been in evidence in the government's handling of negotiations with General Constand Viljoen's Afrikaner Volksfront (AVF) and the Conservative Party (CP). Under the banner of the newly-formed Freedom Al liance, leaders of the two far-right groupings gathered this week with representatives of the Inkatha Freedom Party for a meeting in a 'bush' venue with senior government officials.

Little has emerged publicly from the talks, save for a terse statement saying progress was made and two 'technical committees' would be established urgently in an attempt to see if the black and white right might yet be persuaded to call off their threatened war. The urgency responds to the likelihood that the government, the African National Congress and their respective allies - between them they command the support of at least 80 per cent of the population - will finalise the country's first democratic constitution within the next week.

As a government source said yesterday, Alliance delegates are real ising that 'the train is moving on and they will have to compromise if they do not want to be left behind'.

The same source said, however, that it was unlikely that the 'bitter- enders' in the Afrikaner camp would be persuaded to accept anything short of a sovereign independent homeland - a demand they reiterated in a statement on Thursday night after talks with the government. The statement, issued jointly by the AVF and the CP, warned the government not to persist with its 'wedge-driving'.

Privately, government officials concede that their strategy with the Freedom Alliance is indeed to sow division, to split Inkatha from the whites, or General Viljoen, a former armed forces chief of staff, from the CP leader, Ferdi Hartzenberg.

Within Inkatha, the government knows, there is much rumbling. Black leaders a rung down from Mangosuthu Buthelezi are uncomfortable with their chief's decision to enter into an alliance with racists. They are also worried by the prospect of not contesting the scheduled April election, wondering how they will explain this to their Zulu constituents.

People close to General Viljoen say he is far from happy with his more radical bedfellows, among them Eugene Terre-Blanche of the AVF-aligned Afrikaner Resistance Movement. The General has kept in touch in recent weeks with ANC and government officials who hope that he might be persuaded to accept the new constitution.

Small right-wing groupings in the rural areas are, however, heeding the AVF-CP call to prepare for war. Weapons training proceeds apace in farms in the northern Transvaal, where yesterday the police arrested five white men caught in possession of ammunition stolen from an army depot on Thursday.

(Photograph omitted)