Mandela to speak at UN next week on SA violence

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The Independent Online
NELSON MANDELA, scoring a significant international diplomatic success, will address an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council next week on the political violence in South Africa and the deadlocked constitutional negotiations, it was officially announced yesterday.

The head of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid, Ibrahim A Gambari, the Nigerian ambassador, said the President of the African National Congress (ANC) would speak during a two- day Security Council session. It will be Mr Mandela's first address before the Security Council.

It was at Mr Mandela's initiative that the Security Council meeting, the first on South Africa in three years, was convened. At a political rally four days after the massacre at Boipatong township, the event that led the ANC to call off talks with the government of F W de Klerk, Mr Mandela publicly issued his request for an emergency UN session.

In another indication of the increased international interest South Africa's political crisis is generating, Cyrus Vance, a former US Secretary of State, announced yesterday that he was likely to visit South Africa after next week's Security Council session.

On Wednesday it had been thought that Mr Vance would visit South Africa ahead of the meeting but the plans were changed after a recommendation by the ANC to wait until after Mr Mandela had had a chance to state his case at the UN. The object of Mr Vance's visit will be to find ways to help end the township violence and persuade the ANC and the government to resume talks.

Mr Mandela made it plain in Johannesburg yesterday, however, that first the government would have to demonstrate a commitment to peace and democracy. The ANC president accused the South African government of closing its eyes to the seriousness of the crisis affecting the country, a crisis with 'explosive' potential that had come about because of the government's concern to protect its power and privilege.

In a statement complementing a letter he sent yesterday to President F W de Klerk, Mr Mandela said that negotiations to bring about democracy had broken down essentially because 'the ruling National Party keeps looking for ways to exercise power even if it loses a democratic election'.

The only way forward was for the government seriously to respond to the ANC's demands. These are: that the government show a commitment to democracy in the form of agreement to free and fair elections for a constituent assembly by the end of this year; and that it address the violence by taking action to neutralise the single-men's hostels by banning dangerous weapons in public, by disbanding the army's Special Forces units and by welcoming international peace monitors.

Mr Mandela urged the President to 'find a way within yourself to recognise the gravity of the crisis . . . Find a way to address the demands we have placed before you . . . so that negotiations can become meaningful . . . Failure to respond in this way can only exacerbate the crisis. You may succeed in delaying, but never in preventing, the transition of South Africa to democracy.'