US adopts wait-and-see attitude on South Africa reform. Rev. Sullivan would give S. Africa 19 more months to change its tune
Worcester, Mass. — President Pieter W. Botha of South Africa is moving in the ``right direction,'' if he invites black African leaders to join his presidential council, says the Rev. Leon H. Sullivan, the black minister who originated the Sullivan Principles to upgrade the status of the South African black worker ``But Mr. Botha must go much, much further,'' Dr. Sullivan says, referring to President Botha's address to the 60-member council on Monday. Dr. Sullivan is sticking to the deadline he has urged for the end of apartheid [racial separation] as a system in South Africa.
``If by May 7, 1987 (the 10th anniversary of the Sullivan Principles), South Africa has not dissolved its policy of apartheid and has not upgraded the education of its blacks,'' he says, ``American private enterprise, state and local governments, and nonprofit organizations should divest themselves of all financial investments in South Africa.''
``If South Africa doesn't meet this deadline, I shall ask the United States to declare a total embargo of South Africa, including all exports and imports. I'll ask for the withdrawal of all American companies from South Africa. That's where I stand.''
The Botha speech shows ``some reaction to pressure,'' Dr. Sullivan says. ``I'm asking United States companies in South Africa to form a united front with South African business leaders who are taking a stand against that nation's political system.''
He continues to ask activists in the US to put ``on hold'' current campaigns calling for American institutions to rid themselves immediately of their financial investments in South Africa.
``South Africa must be given a chance to make changes from within on its own,'' he says. ``I would like to see all South Africans work and plan together to phase out apartheid.''
Dr. Sullivan is critical of Washington. ``The American government is not taking a real stand against South Africa's racial policies under apartheid,'' he says. ``And Reagan is no worse than Carter. . . . None of our presidents, Republican or Democrat, have done enough.''
US companies, he said, cannot leave criticism of South African apartheid policies to college campuses and community activists. ``If American industry can't use its ingenuity to institute fair-employment policies in its own plants [in South Africa] after 10 years, it can do little to influence South African industry as a whole.''
He describes the Sullivan Principles as a means for American industries in South Africa to establish a fair-employment policy for black Africans, equal pay and equal opportunity for advancement. He recommends the principles as ``one piece of the action,'' not the solution to South African racial issues. He recalls meeting with leaders of various South African elements five years ago to discuss the principles. Today he advises American interests to:
``End racial discrimination in all South African operations. Permit black workers to join free, independent trade unions. Train and employ black workers to become managers and supervisory personnel. Upgrade them.''
Dr. Sullivan also recommends these steps to put South Africa in line with democratic nations:
South Africa should drop apartheid as its official policy for its peoples, whites, Coloreds (those of mixed race), and Asians. Give each South African citizenship, ``one man, one vote,'' regardless of race.
The United Nations, the United States, and all nations of the world should apply sanctions to South Africa. This must be a unified pressure on that nation, or it will not divest itself of its apartheid policy.
South Africa must permit its blacks to live and work where they choose.
``Let the mainstream of America speak out,'' Dr. Sullivan says. ``Let South Africa know that we mean business when we tell the world we stand against apartheid. Not until then will any South African government do anything about the nation's racist practices.
``Money still talks, and American disinvestment can clip the wings of apartheid.'' He said he did not think that sanctions and divestiture would turn South Africa to communism.
Dr. Sullivan was in Worcester recently to speak on South Africa at Clark University and to help the Worcester Opportunities Industrialization Center celebrate its 10th anniversary. The OIC is a program founded by Dr. Sullivan as an outreach project at his church, the Mount Zion Baptist of Philadelphia, to train community people for jobs and also for proper decorum after employment. It has become an international movement.
Asked about OIC as a tool in South Africa, Dr. Sullivan said:
``This type of program -- training people to do work that leads to jobs and preparing them for promotions -- is needed to help South African blacks to meet standards required by industry.'' Sullivan Principles: what they are designed to do
The six original Sullivan Principles were adopted May 7, 1977, by officials of 19 American corporations operating in South Africa, at a meeting with the Rev. Leon H. Sullivan at his church, Zion Baptist in Philadelphia.
Today, this number has increased to 128 of the 350 American companies doing business in South Africa. They employ 66,000 workers, 1.1 percent of South Africa's work force.
The six original principles asked companies to:
1. Desegregate all eating, rest room, and work facilities.
2. Operate a fair-employment-practices program.
3. Provide equal pay for all employees regardless of race.
4. Develop training programs to prepare nonwhites for upgrading.
5. Promote more nonwhites to managerial and supervisory positions.
6. Provide off-the-job fringe benefits such as better housing, transportation, education, recreation, and health services.
It was recently estimated that more than 90 percent of these firms have put these principles into practice.
The four new principles adopted last December ask American companies to promote more political rights for blacks. They ask firms to:
1. Give black businesses freedom to locate in urban areas of their choice.
2. Encourage South African firms to adhere to the Sullivan Principles.
3. Give blacks freedom to move to areas where jobs are available.
4. Seek the end of legal apartheid.