Security Council Opens Debate on S. African Crisis Envoy Likely to Be Sent to Investigate Political Violence and Impasse

By John Battersby, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, July 15, 1992 | Go to article overview

Security Council Opens Debate on S. African Crisis Envoy Likely to Be Sent to Investigate Political Violence and Impasse


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


WESTERN diplomats are confident that the United Nations Security Council will agree on a resolution July 15 to open the way for limited international mediation aimed at resolving the breakdown in interracial negotiations and halting escalating political violence in South Africa.

Seven South African political leaders who will attend the debate appear in agreement that the proceedings should be followed by the UN secretary-general sending a personal envoy to South Africa to investigate violence and the reasons for the impasse between the government and the African National Congress (ANC).

Former United States Secretary of State Cyrus Vance has been mentioned as the most likely candidate.

ANC President Nelson Mandela, who left for New York late July 13, said before his departure at the airport that the ANC would like to see the visit by a UN envoy followed by an international mission to monitor violence in South Africa.

"But we are not going to press that demand now," Mr. Mandela said. He said an international mission to monitor violence was necessary because the Goldstone Commission, a judicial commission appointed by the government, needed to be strengthened by an international presence. `Mass action' to stay

Mandela said that the ANC's program of "mass action" - sustained national protests aimed at forcing President Frederik de Klerk to accept the principle of majority rule - would continue regardless of the outcome of the Security Council debate.

"It will only be called off if the government responds to our demands to our satisfaction," Mandela said.

The interracial negotiating forum, the Convention for a Democratic South Africa, stalled in May over the issue of majority rule.

A total breakdown in relations between the ANC and Pretoria followed the massacre of at least 41 blacks in the Boipatong township last month. Alleging police collusion in the incident, the ANC put forward a list of conditions necessary for the resumption of negotiations, including international monitoring of violence, a total ban on dangerous weapons, and the closing of single-sex hostels in the townships.

The UN debate has been preceded by a flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at securing a resolution that focuses on urging all parties back to the negotiating table rather than apportioning blame for the violence. …

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