De Klerk fury at 'naive' far right: ANC backs warning that Volksfront generals are playing with fire

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The Independent Online
'PLAYING with fire' is how President F W de Klerk described efforts by extreme right- wingers to block South Africa's move to majority rule as a member of his own presidential council was charged with the murder of African National Congress (ANC) leader Chris Hani.

Mr de Klerk, in a statement from Cape Town, tried to show his government was maintaining control despite rising political violence and the formation of the Volksfront, a far-right Afrikaner movement, to resist the transition to democracy.

'What we are experiencing is the last desperate attempt of the left and the right to disrupt the good progress which is being made with negotiations,' he said. 'The government will not bow to pressure from the right.'

The ANC echoed the President's warnings about the Volksfront movement, saying: 'Faced with such provocation and threats, the people of South Africa will not fold their arms and allow themselves to be blackmailed into accepting schemes that seek to turn South Africa into another Bosnia.'

Mr de Klerk was particularly concerned about the inclusion of four former army generals in the Volksfront, whose formation on 7 May followed a rally by thousands of white farmers, where placards rejecting an ANC-led government were displayed. Mr de Klerk accused the Volksfront of 'trying to politicise the security forces' and said that 'those who imagine that negotiations and a new, just dispensation can be stopped are naive.'

Mr de Klerk's statement came as Clive Derby-Lewis, a former MP for the Conservative Party and a member of a presidential advisory council, was formally charged with the murder of Hani, the former ANC military commander and secretary-general of the Communist Party. Mr Derby-Lewis's wife, Gaye, and Polish-born Janusz Walus, the man alleged to have shot Hani, have been charged already.

All three are due to appear in court on Wednesday. A German expert aiding the investigation left South Africa at the weekend, while two Britons, Commander George Churchill-Coleman and Detective Inspector Michael Jones, were expected to leave shortly.

The murder last month of Hani has led to a wave of violence, leaving many whites scared of a backlash and blacks disillusioned about the negotiation process. In an effort to defuse the tension, the 26-party negotiation council said on Friday that general elections would be held within a year and that the date would be set within a month.

The chief ANC negotiator, Cyril Ramaphosa, has urged whites not to flee the country. 'This is the time for all South Africans to commit themselves to building a nation together,' he said in a highly publicised meeting with two white teachers. 'You have the skills to help make a difference.'