Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

South Africa's De Klerk Floats Plan for Transition Concession to ANC Appears Motivated by Need for International Aid

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

South Africa's De Klerk Floats Plan for Transition Concession to ANC Appears Motivated by Need for International Aid

Article excerpt

THE Pretoria government is considering an "interim authority" to win international backing during the transition to majority rule and secure access to foreign loans and capital, a government official says.

The idea of a statutory authority to govern the country during political negotiations falls short of the sovereign "interim government" demanded by the African National Congress (ANC) but goes further than the "transitional arrangements" President Frederik de Klerk has referred to recently.

The interim authority would have to be created by legislation, according to the official, and would mean a substantial change to the existing Constitution. But it would not require the suspension of the Constitution, which Mr. De Klerk has ruled out.

The need to unlock much-needed foreign loans and investment, end remaining trade and financial sanctions, and regain access to international and African forums was the overriding factor in persuading Pretoria to edge closer to the ANC's vision of an interim government.

Commonwealth Foreign Ministers gave the green light for the lifting of travel, scientific, and cultural sanctions at a meeting in New Delhi Sept. 14. Hopes for loans

Those in government circles hope an internationally accepted interim authority would open the door to loans from the World Bank and lead to South Africa's readmission to the United Nations General Assembly and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) next year and to the 50-nation Commonwealth by 1993.

Following the signing of the National Peace Accord Sept. 14, De Klerk hinted at a shift in government thinking on the issue of an interim government.

The key question to be decided, he said, was whether the eventual system of government would be based on a winner-takes-all or a power-sharing model.

In calling for an interim government, the ANC was calling for a system of power-sharing during the transition, he said. This contrasts with the ANC's calls for eventual majority rule.

"If power-sharing can work for an interim government, why can't it work for a government?" De Klerk asked.

In an interview Sunday on state-run television, De Klerk for the first time raised the prospect of substantial changes to the Constitution to set up an interim arrangement. He said one option "would be to amend the Constitution and then make provision for whatever is agreed on {between the parties} and to implement it."

He said that any change to the Constitution would mean a national referendum including a specific mandate from whites to proceed with such changes.

De Klerk said the National Peace Accord signed last weekend was an example of how those excluded from Parliament could be given a say during the interim phase without undermining the authority of government or suspending the Constitution. The peace accord creates mechanisms that involve civilians in the monitoring and investigation of police activities and give them an equal say in formulating future policing policy. …

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