Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Quoting S. African ambassador on ANC, risks of power sharing

In his interview with the Monitor, Herbert Beukes, South Africa's ambassador to the United States, had these additional comments: On South Africa's making concessions in response to sanctions: ``The reasoning seems to be that by [because of] sanctions, South Africa will find itself in a position where it says, `Mr. World, we have bled enough. Remove these sanctions and we will do whatever you say. . . .' I don't see ourselves able to deliver between now and next year what is being asked by [Sen. Lowell P.] Weicker and [Sen. Edward M.] Kennedy. We can't do it. It's impossible.''

On the attitude of black South Africans toward sanctions: ``Huge majorities of blacks -- the rank and file, the workers -- say, `We want apartheid to be removed, but we don't want sanctions over us if that would mean that we would have to pay the price.' If we are wrong and the polls are wrong [in that assessment], why don't blacks take things into their own hands, withhold their services over a short period of time, and bring the plants and the mines and the factories to a grinding halt?''

About these ads

On the reasons for the current state of emergency: ``It's a question of bringing control so that there would be a climate in the black community where some black leaders would be prepared to step forward. It's difficult for the government to sit down and have a dialogue while there's still that high degree of intimidation within the black communities.''

On the role of the African National Congress: ``There's a false impression that the ANC is the most influential voice [among black South Africans]. It is a very faulty premise to go on. . . . There is a great degree of diversity of opinion in the country. There is no one group or one black leader today who can legitimately say they can speak on behalf of black South Africa.''

On the US Congress and the ANC: ``Congress can make it clear to the ANC that [it] should not equate [Congress's] resentment over apartheid with support for [the ANC's] program of terrorism and violence. At the moment it is not being said.''

On the obstacles to black-white dialogue: ``The problem currently is that you have an organization like the ANC saying it wants to speak on behalf of black South Africa. We say that all parties, all groups, all communities in that divided society, ought to be part of that dialogue. We should not exclude any particular group, because if you exclude you are bound to have some conflict. . . . If the world is locked into a position where it grants the ANC a veto right over political dialogue in South Africa, then obviously this difficulty will remain.''

On the risks of power-sharing: ``This is not a science laboratory that we're working with. It is not an experiment . . . [or] theoretical exercise. If after a while things don't work out the way that they intended, you can't just take that product and put it away into some kind of archives. . . . It's survival stakes we're talking about.''

On outside perceptions of South Africa: ``If I ask you today to name six black people who have supplied most of the comments and information on which you have based your opinions [on South Africa], I have a feeling that after three or four names you may be running out of names.

``The impression people in [the US] have is the impression of a general resentment by the entire black community. . . . The point is that this perception is coming only from a few people.''

About these ads

On the influence of world opinion: ``[World opinion] is always important to recognize, but there's a limit we know we can't step beyond where we're talking about national survival.''

On the problems of political development in other parts of Africa: ``Wars of liberation and revolutions have been fought in African countries since . . . the early 1960s, only to bring into power [in many countries] a clique or a one-man despot . . . with no improvement in the lot of the masses on whose behalf those wars and revolutions were fought.''

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.