ANC and Inkatha call for free and fair polls: Party faithful rally to hear leaders urge tolerance

'Vote for President nelson Mandela] Vote for an African National Congress government]' With these words the ANC executive member and veteran revolutionary Ronnie Kasrils trumpeted yesterday the start of a novel phase in South African politics, an election campaign in which the whole population will participate.

No date has been set yet for voting but Mr Kasrils, confident they will take place within a year, went about his address at Katlehong township, south of Johannesburg, with the gusto of a seasoned candidate. He called on ANC supporters to go door to door in search of votes; derided the electoral pretensions of the ruling National Party, the Democratic Party and the Inkatha Freedom Party; and promised an ANC government would deliver new schools, clinics and jobs.

But, on a day when peace was also high on the agenda, he told a rally of 6,000 that the ANC should contribute its part to a free and fair poll. 'We must stress the need for tolerance. All parties - yes, even the National Party - must have the right to organise in the townships,' he said.

Just two miles away, in the neighbouring township of Vosloorus, Inkatha was holding a rally of its own, an altogether more boisterous affair presided over by the Inkatha leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Some 10,000 Inkatha supporters bused in from townships all around the Johannesburg area and as far afield as Natal province shared in an event that, had it not been for the forests of spears and clubs on display, could have passed for a Rio carnival. One man wearing a leopard-skin loin-cloth, plastic GI's helmet, Reebok shoes and nothing else volunteered, cheerfully drunk, a welcome piece of information. 'It's all right, man,' he said. 'We don't hurt whites.'

Amid the general mayhem, little attention was paid to Chief Buthelezi's one-hour speech, most of which was in English and, therefore, incomprehensible to 90 per cent of the Inkatha faithful. More for the benefit of the few journalists present than anyone else, he preached his customary message of peace. 'Let us show pity to our brothers and sisters who were senselessly brainwashed with the radicalism of the armed struggle,' he said. 'The IFP must act as saviour for South Africa. Our party alone has remained committed to democracy, in our words and actions.' And then he raised the cry, echoed by his followers in the front rows: 'We want peace] We want peace]'

Black journalists present noted that when he broke into Zulu the message suddenly became more militant, more aggressively anti-ANC and mocking of Nelson Mandela. One of these journalists was threatened with a beating by a senior Inkatha leader while Chief Buthelezi was still half-way through his speech and, after it, Inkatha supporters shot and wounded a local resident and looted a number of homes.

All in all, however, national and international peace monitors in attendance declared themselves to be satisfied with the day's events, the general feeling being that their convoys of white patrol cars had successfully neutralised the usually combustible cocktail generated when the ANC and the IFP, the army and the police come together.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee