ANC cuts deal with Afrikaner right wing

A NON-AGGRESSION pact and a pledge to continue negotiations on a white Afrikaner homeland was due to be signed today between the African National Congress and the right-wing Volksfront movement as parliament prepared to approve South Africa's first democratic constitution.

The ANC-Volksfront 'strategic interim agreement' paralleled attempts by negotiators in Cape Town to reach accord on a series of amendments to the draft constitution proposed by the Freedom Alliance, a coalition of Afrikaner groups and leaders of South Africa's semi-autonomous black homelands, including the Inkatha leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The 10 hours of talks ended last night without agreement. The goal was to bring the alliance back into the democracy process before parliament votes on the constitution tomorrow. Talks are to continue today.

The alliance boycotted the negotiations on the new constitution and demanded greater autonomy for the provinces, including powers of taxation, replacement of the proposed one-ballot system by two ballots, one for national and one for provincial governments, and for representatives of provinces to be resident there. It also wanted constitutional provisions allowing the provinces to write their own constitutions, subject to the endorsement of the Constitutional Court.

The alliance said it would boycott the country's first multi-racial elections on 27 April, unless its demands were met. Roelf Meyer, chief negotiator of President F W de Klerk's National Party government, set tomorrow as a deadline for parliamentary approval of the constitution, with or without the Freedom Alliance, although many believe a reconvening of parliament in January is possible should this week's talks fail.

Today's agreement between the Volksfront and the ANC, which is widely expected to form the next government, effectively postponed the day of reckoning over the demand by conservative Afrikaners for their own homeland, the Volkstaat. The accord, which said both sides supported a non-racial democratic society, was a set of principles that would acknowledge the desire of many Afrikaners for a homeland. It set up a task force to negotiate in January on a Volkstaat, and renounce the use of violence.

The accord was to be initialled by the ANC assistant Secretary-General Jacob Zuma, and Constand Viljoen, the former armed forces chief of staff who leads the Volksfront. Ferdi Hartzenberg, the hardline leader of the Conservative Party, was not expected to endorse the agreement. That could signal the beginnings of a leadership contest within the Afrikaner right between Gen Viljoen, regarded as the movement's moral conscience and Dr Hartzenberg, a gritty machine politician.

Gen Viljoen is thought to be open to compromise on what form Afrikaner self- determination takes, while more extreme Afrikaner sectors have demanded the immediate establishment of a white homeland to escape rule by an ANC-led government. The ANC president, Nelson Mandela, said the ANC would never concede an independent white homeland.

Inkatha has been opposed to the proposed one-vote system which denies voters a chance to choose one party for the national parliament and another for their provincial legislatures.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £45,000

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a solutions / s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific