Mandela fears delaying tactic of referendum: ANC leader urges right-wing parties to come back to negotiating table
'Our position as the African National Congress on the matter is very clear. We are having an election only six months away and we are determined to keep to that time-frame,' the President of the African National Congress told a news conference.
Mr Mandela was clearly troubled that Mr de Klerk voiced the suggestion while the ANC leader was on his six- nation tour seeking to drum up investment for the future South Africa. He added: 'Mr de Klerk and I had a telephone conversation last night and he explained that at no time did he make a specific proposal that a referendum should be held - only that this is a matter which must be addressed one way or the other, and one way might be a referendum.'
Diplomats said Mr Mandela had privately expressed the worry that the referendum suggestion was a 'stalling tactic' to delay the reform process and elections scheduled for 27 April. Mr de Klerk warned at a National Party rally in Stellenbosch that a referendum testing the national commitment to a democratic constitution could be the only way to ensure peaceful all-race elections next year. He was responding to a boycott of the democracy talks by right-wing groups, including Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha Freedom Party and the Conservative Party.
But Mr Mandela said right- wing groups were unlikely to take part in any multi-racial referendum and said they should be persuaded to return to the negotiations. A referendum 'is an option that is entirely unlikely to resolve the current situation. They can come back to the multi-party forum,' he added, 'and our task is to help them to do so.'
Seeking to attract business investment before an audience of the Confederation of British Industry, Mr Mandela departed from his prepared speech to sound a note curiously reminiscent of the days when white governments of South Africa sought to reassure the outside world. 'I would like to correct a false impression which the mass media has tried to create,' the ANC leader said.
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...