THE DRIVE to unify South Africa's faction-ridden extreme right stumbled badly yesterday: two of the main parties in the Afrikaner Volksfront movement took opposing sides in defining 'self-determination' during the national negotiation forum attended by 26 parties from across the political spectrum.
The split came as the forum made substantial progress on what a future South Africa would look like. The forum told its technical committee to produce reports by Friday on constitutional principles, regional and local government powers and how the new constitution would be established. The head of the African National Congress (ANC) delegation, Cyril Ramaphosa, described the meeting as a breakthrough.
The negotiating forum has agreed that South Africa's first all-race general elections should take place by 30 April next year.
The issue of self-determination is central to a bitter debate about whether South Africa should be a single nation with a mixture of central government and regional power, or a loose federal system with effectively independent states established along ethnic lines.
The main parties to the negotiations, the ANC and President F W de Klerk's National Party government, are in basic agreement on a central government with regional administrations having limited powers. The far- right Afrikaner Volksunie accepted the technical committee's broad definition of self-determination, but one of its nominal partners in the new Volksfront movement, headed by four army generals, rejected it. So did the Conservative Party.
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