SA's new Moses tells his dream: Ex-general urges far-right whites to fight for their own state

Click to follow
The Independent Online
GENERAL Constand Viljoen, the new Moses of the South African far-right, has a dream. The Afrikaner volk, under threat of annihilation by the black majority, will find happiness, peace and prosperity in a new independent state carved - through war if necessary - from within South Africa's existing borders. 'An Israel for the Afrikaner', he calls it.

But Gen Viljoen, a former chief of the South African Defence Force, is aware it will be no easy walk to freedom. 'There are a number of complicating factors,' he told a meeting on Thursday night at an indoor sports stadium - the Portuguese Hall - in Johannesburg.

Escorted by a heavy contingent of men, women and children wearing the uniform of Eugene Terre-Blanche's Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), Gen Viljoen said that one complicating factor was pressure from the outside world. 'They are not informed about the realities,' he explained.

Reality one, delving into the past, was that 'the Afrikaner people never gained materially from apartheid'. (All along, it emerged, the outside world had been misled into believing apartheid had been a gigantic affirmative action programme for the Afrikaner.)

Reality two was that the multi-party constitutional talks in which the South African government and Nelson Mandela's African National Congress have been engaged are aimed at establishing a Communist state. The ANC, the general said, was riddled with Communists, not least the party chairman, Joe Slovo. (The outside world has tended to place rather less faith in Mr Slovo's capacity to turn the tide of world history.)

Reality three, the ANC is pursuing a double agenda: 'Negotiating on the one hand, conducting a revolutionary war on the other.' The 9,000 political killings in the black townships since the ANC's unbanning in 1990 are the result of a strategy led by Mr Mandela to seize power. (The outside world has taken the view that the ANC stands to gain more than anybody from peaceful elections.)

Reality four is that the government of F W de Klerk is conspiring to ensure that the Communist ANC brings havoc to the economy and destroys the Afrikaner nation. (The outside world has laboured under the delusion that President de Klerk would rather dive into a vat of boiling oil than see the ANC, much less the Communists, exercise unfettered control over South Africa.)

Reality five is that the general's umbrella organisation, the Afrikaner Volksfront, is against apartheid. 'We're not racists,' he declared.

A blonde woman fashionably kitted out in tight-fitting khaki trousers and swastika-like 'triple seven' epaulettes was leading her identically attired eight- year-old daughter down the aisle to the lavatory when she heard the general utter these words. She stopped and turned, as puzzled as any outside worlder might have been. The rest of the AWB brownshirts in the hall shifted in their chairs, shot glances at their neighbours, muttered. This was not the sort of talk they were accustomed to hearing from 'the leader', from Mr Terre-Blanche, the man who had recently said he would willingly serve under the general.

As if sensing the unease, Gen Viljoen promptly invoked God. The volk - they were all ears again - had two great tasks to undertake. 'You must pray for forgiveness for your sins and you must defend yourselves, for no one else will. Every Afrikaner must be ready. Every farm, every school is a target. If they attack our churches nowhere is safe. If we are stripped of our defensive capacity, we will be destroyed.'

The volk cheered. That was the military man talking again. The general who acquired a reputation during the Eighties as an Afrikaner Patton, financing and arming South Africa's surrogates in Angola and Mozambique as they killed hundreds of thousands; orchestrating black-on- black conflict in South Africa's townships; organising clandestine hit squads. All in the war against Communism. All in the name of reality.