SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA
SOUTH Africa's National Party government and the African National Congress (ANC) appear headed for their most serious confrontation since the ANC was legalized more than two years ago.
The ANC, strengthened by the adoption of its first detailed policy manifesto over the weekend, has won wide grass-roots backing for its plan to shift its demand for majority rule from the negotiating table to the country's streets and factories.
Attitudes have hardened dramatically in both camps during the past week; and Afrikaans-language newspapers, which usually reflect government thinking, are predicting that a showdown between the two major parties to the negotiations is inevitable.
At the end of a four-day policy conference Sunday, ANC President Nelson Mandela warned: "If the government does not cooperate they must be prepared for turmoil in this country."
Speaking with visible anger during his visit to the violence-wracked squatter settlement of Phola Park, south of Johannesburg, Mr. Mandela warned that it was a matter of time before the violence raging in black townships across the country spread into white neighborhoods.
"People are not dying because they are a threat to security," Mandela said. "They are dying because they are black."
He did not deny that there had been a souring of relations between himself and President Frederik de Klerk, but made clear that this was over the credibility of the government's claims of impartiality in township violence that claims an average of seven to 10 lives every day.