Cracks open up in S African right wing: ANC and government in talks with conservatives aimed at exploiting divisions before April elections
Saturday 20 November 1993
President F W de Klerk yesterday met the Freedom Alliance while the ANC entered their second day of talks with the Afrikaner Volksfront.
The Volksfront is a member of the Freedom Alliance, a body formed last month which also includes Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party, the parliamentary Conservative Party and the 'homeland' governments of Bophuthatswana and Ciskei.
Nothing emerged publicly from the two meetings yesterday afternoon, but privately both government and ANC officials have said they are hoping to open cracks in what Chief Buthelezi candidly acknowledged last week to be a marriage of convenience.
Tensions within the Freedom Alliance there already are. It is an open secret that General Constand Viljoen, leader of the Volksfront, feels far from comfortable cohabiting with some of the more fanatical elements in the far right, notably Eugene Terre-Blanche of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement. Mr Terre-Blanche and Ferdie Hartzenberg, the leader of the Conservative Party, both called yesterday - utterly implausibly - for a whites- only election to be held to test support for the new constitution.
As for Inkatha, the South African press has been engaging in much speculation about rifts between Chief Buthelezi and 'moderate' elements in his party. The speculation is not without foundation.
In an address on Thursday Chief Buthelezi said he would rather 'go into the political wilderness than legitimise a wrong constitution by entering into elections under it'. But in almost the same breath he said he would participate in the April elections if his supporters demanded it.
Describing Inkatha as 'the most under-rated political party in the country', he said: 'Elections will do us more good than any other party.'
Rhetoric apart, the fact is that Inkatha are preparing for elections. They have established an electoral commission, chaired by the party's chief executive officer, Joe Matthews; they have a campaign logo; they are raising campaign money.
A growing body of opinion within Inkatha believes that not to participate in the elections would mean to consign the party to the rubbish heap of history. How to explain to rural Zulu constituents that they must not vote in South Africa's first democratic elections is a challenge party officials simply do not wish to have to meet.
However, Chief Buthelezi's confident electoral predictions are not supported by the opinion polls, which give him barely 5 per cent of the national vote. Which is perhaps why he has endorsed plans to take the precaution of preparing for war. Reports, long circulating, that pro- Inkatha chiefs have been recruiting youths in their areas and dispatching them for military training near Ulundi, the capital of the KwaZulu 'homeland' over which Inkatha rules, have been confirmed in the last week.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Ed Miliband less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson by official Doncaster power list
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
California teacher appears to have hanged herself in her classroom
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Ed Miliband less influential than One Direction's Louis Tomlinson by official Doncaster power list
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 business...
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...