Battle is on for crucial homeland votes: Chris McGreal in Johannesburg on the scheme to squeeze ANC support

THERE WAS a time when, if you wanted to see a white woman expose her nipples in public, you went to a black homeland; or if you fancied a spin at the roulette wheel; or the ultimate sin, inter-

racial sex.

The homelands that apartheid's architects were desperate to portray as independent republics were wily enough to exercise their autonomy when it came to services frowned on by their masters in Pretoria. But times change. These days, the homelands are pedestrian compared with what is on offer in Johannesburg.

They, and their leaders, have virtually outlived their usefulness. The forced removals of black people to tracts of poor-quality land deemed to be their places of tribal origin is a receding nightmare. There is no doubt that the four 'independent' and six 'semi-independent' homelands will be brought back into South Africa proper by a post-apartheid constitution. But until then they are providing one last service for the ruling National Party that conceived, bore and will bury them.

After last Monday's massacre of ANC supporters in Ciskei, President FW de Klerk, out of respect for Ciskei's independence, did not defend Brigadier Oupa Gqozo's right to continue his dictatorship there. However, the homelands are a pillar in the strategy to build an anti-ANC alliance in preparation for multi-

racial elections.

Seated behind the homeland delegations sympathetic to Mr de Klerk at the negotiations on South Africa's future are white advisers provided by Pretoria. The Foreign Minister, Pik Botha, told a National Party conference last week that the government planned to put together an alliance that, with the help of homeland leaders, could take more than half the vote.

It is wishful thinking, but the population figures show that the battle for the homeland vote will be crucial in deciding who governs South Africa. Nearly two- thirds of South Africa's blacks officially live in the homelands. Seven million people are divided between the four 'independent' states - Transkei, Venda, Bophuthatswana and Ciskei, known as the TVBC states.

Another 9.5 million reside in the six 'self-governing' territories, such as Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi's KwaZulu, that either resisted independence or were considered unprepared even by Pretoria's low standards.

Three million people were forcibly removed to the homelands - more often than not, places they had never seen. Apartheid's planners designated one homeland for each tribal group or sub-group as part of the scheme to strip blacks of their South African citizenship but keep vast labour pools in reserve. The homeland boundaries were drawn to reserve the best land for whites, leaving tiny blobs of land scattered across vast areas.

Bophuthatswana comes in seven bits, as far as 200 miles apart. KwaZulu is split into 44 pieces. You can drive through a 'foreign country' and never know you've been there. Only Transkei bothers with border posts, and then only on the main road between East London and Durban, which crosses the homeland and is easily bypassed. Most other homelands rarely even put up frontier signs. Ciskei - or, rather, South Africa - only erected them a few days before the tragic march, and then solely in the area of the protest.

The 10 homeland leaders are evenly divided in their sympathies. The military leaders of Transkei and Venda back the ANC. Bophuthatswana's Lucas Mangope, the school teacher turned dictator, takes the same hostile view of the ANC as Brigadier Gqozo. With them, among the leaders of 'self-governing' states, is Chief Buthelezi.

Only Mr Mangope continues to dream that his 'country' can retain its 'independence'. In doing so, he has come up with bizarre schemes, including one to invite conservative Afrikaners who do not want to live in a black- ruled South Africa to share an independent Bophuthatswana, which misses the point about why they want their own white state.

The South African government is exploiting Mr Mangope's hostility to the ANC to the full. As in Ciskei, Mr de Klerk's opponents find it difficult to carry out normal political activity. Village headmen are cajoled and bribed into providing public support for the government. Protests, even over everyday matters such as wages, are often severely dealt with by the police or military. The homeland leadership often controls sources of information, such as radio stations.

The government has tried putting the squeeze on the homelands over finances. One of Pik Botha's common defences of his country over the years has been to highlight its generosity. He has told audience after audience that South Africa provides more foreign aid than any other country in Africa. What he does not tell them is that virtually every rand goes to the homelands.

The TVBC states typically receive at least half their income from Pretoria. Assistance comes in many forms, from straightforward cash to subsidies on flour.

Corruption is rife - a reward for playing the homeland game. When they do not play, the rug is tugged and money to pay the homeland civil servants is withheld. But Pretoria dare not tug too hard, for fear that the whole sordid scheme will collapse.

(Photograph omitted)

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Bryan had a bracelet given to him by his late father stolen during the raid
A rub on the tummy sprang Casey back to life
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little