Assassination Disclosures Increase Pressure on Pretoria to End Violence

By John Battersby, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, April 29, 1991 | Go to article overview

Assassination Disclosures Increase Pressure on Pretoria to End Violence


John Battersby, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


THE Pretoria government is facing mounting political and diplomatic pressure to meet African National Congress demands to end township violence or face a suspension of dialogue over a new constitution.

"The time has come for President (Frederik) de Klerk to be clearly told that the measures he has announced so far to solve the violence issue are not good enough," says a Western diplomat. "Most of the ANC's demands are reasonable, and the government needs to look at them more carefully."

The tougher diplomatic mood follows an ANC statement over the weekend. It detailed a campaign of violence and assassination which the ANC says has been unleashed against it by elements in government security forces working together with militants in the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party.

ANC Secretary-General Alfred Nzo said at a press conference that the government had not responded adequately to ANC proposals to end violence and that there was no possibility that the ANC would take part in Mr. De Klerk's proposed May 23 and 24 summit on violence.

Western diplomats say it appears that the ANC will go ahead and suspend further talks on a new constitution when its May 9 deadline for a government response expires. But it will continue a low-key dialogue with the government in a bid to solve the violence issue, they said.

ANC Deputy President Nelson Mandela, speaking Saturday at the annual congress of the National Union of Mineworkers, said there could be no compromise on the violence issue. "The violence ravaging our country is of such proportions that we have presented the government with a set of demands and a deadline date of May 9 or else we will not proceed with the planned All-Party Congress nor hold any discussions on the future constitution for South Africa."

The ANC demands include the sacking of Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok and Defense Minister General Magnus Malan, a law to prevent Inkatha supporters from carrying spears and axes under the guise of "cultural weapons," the dismantling of counterinsurgency units, acceptable methods of crowd control by the police, and the phasing out of men-only hostels.

LENDING credence to the ANC claims was a report in a South African newspaper Friday, in which a black military policemen claims that he was instructed by a senior security policeman of the South African Police to assassinate a popular Zulu chief who supported the ANC.

The report in the Natal Witness, an English-speaking daily in Pietermaritzburg, quoted the policeman as saying he had decided to defect and come clean after helping assassinate Chief Mhlabunzima Maphumulo in February because "it is not nice to kill an innocent person. …

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Assassination Disclosures Increase Pressure on Pretoria to End Violence
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