Stability, without domination based purely on numbers

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The government has hurt itself by failing to convey a clearly defined position for progress -- for the future. -- Fred du Plessis

Fred du Plessis is an Afrikaner success story -- the son of a Transvaal Province farmer who has become director of the giant Sanlam Corporation.

``Even if you took a magic wand and made apartheid disappear overnight,'' he says, seated in his Johannesburg office, ``we would still have a fundamental problem -- which many people abroad don't understand.''

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South Africa, he says, faces the unique challenge of ``building a modern country of two fully fledged civilizations.'' One is African, the other ``Western.'' And, ``without suggesting one is better or worse, one must face the reality that they are different.''

According to Mr. du Plessis, it is urgent to begin negotiating a ``common ground among all those, white and black, who favor peaceful change.'' He thinks the government must crack down hard on those -- white and black -- who do not support a peaceful process. A great majority on all sides, he says, favors peace over bloodshed. But his government has hurt itself by ``failing to convey a clearly defined position for progress -- for the future.''

What should a new South Africa look like? ``The most important thing is to achieve stability,'' says du Plessis. He envisages shared power -- stopping short of absolute black majority rule. ``Stability can never be achieved,'' he says, ``by a solution involving domination purely on the basis of numbers.'' Afrikaners don't know how blacks feel Rev. Beyers Naude

The Rev. Beyers Naude fears for the Afrikaners. He says the threat comes not from blacks -- but from their own leaders.

``The Afrikaners must change,'' says Reverend Naude, a Dutch Reformed minister who in 1963 tore up impeccable credentials to become a pioneer in opposing apartheid. ``But they are inhibited in this by their total lack of knowledge of what is happening in the country.''

Apartheid has separated the Afrikaner world from that of South Africa's black majority. ``And the institutions of government, church, the news media, schools, are doing nothing to prepare the Afrikaner for change.''

Naude says the future will inevitably bring black majority rule. The only question is when this will come -- and how violently.

He says the government -- ``especially the police and Army'' -- seem to feel ``they can determine the pace and direction of change.'' But, he says, their current approach guarantees ``only further tension and conflict.''

``Instead of preparing people for change,'' Naude says, ``the government has neglected the reeducation of the Afrikaner people. The great majority of Afrikaners never come into contact with how the blacks feel. They haven't got a clue!

``The fact is that the government reforms are not getting anywhere as far as the black community is concerned.'' Peaceful and concerted, but considered change The government will move on to tackle other issues concerning race discrimination.

-- Piet Koornhof

``I tried so hard to get rid of the pass laws when I was a Cabinet minister. Now you see, via the President's Council, that we've done so.''

Piet Koornhof is a linchpin in President Pieter W. Botha's strategy for change in South Africa.

A Rhodes scholar -- and longtime senior member of the Broederbond -- he began in the 1970s to advocate changes in Verwoerdian apartheid.

He now heads the President's Council. This advisory group, created under President Botha's new 1983 Constitution, drafted the policy report that led to the President's scrapping of the pass-law system in April of this year.

Though reluctant to provide a specific blueprint for future changes, he suggests that, with the council playing a similar ``preparatory'' role, the government will move on to tackle other issues concerning race discrimination.

He says the council is now studying the Group Areas Act -- which bars nonwhites from living in dozens of ``white'' cities and suburbs throughout the country -- and will draw up a report. It is in the cities that the best job markets exist for both black and white

The future of South Africa, according to Dr. Koornof, must lie along the road of peaceful and concerted, but considered, change. Such change, he says, is the core of the present government's strategy. `The Boer volk will fight for our future' Eugene Terre Blanche

``People like Botha who have abandoned the Afrikaner volk will pack and leave when the crunch comes. . . . We, the Boer volk, will fight for our future.''

So says Eugene Terre Blanche, founder of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement -- or AWB -- and hero to thousands on the Afrikaner extreme right. He says a violent Afrikaner-vs.-black fight for his nation is inevitable, and he will be on the front line.

The aim, he says, is not to reconstitute apartheid -- but to reestablish the Boer republic in Transvaal, the Orange Free State, and northern Natal. The blacks can have the rest of South Africa.

Asked whether there is a danger that some policemen and Army officers may eventually desert the President for the banner of the AWB, he replies: ``I would say it is inevitable.''

The banner itself has stirred controversy: interlinked figures of seven, resembling the Nazi swastika. He says no parallel was intended -- though he does decry past ``British-Jewish'' domination of South Africa. The origin of the flag is in the Bible's use of seven as a symbol of providence, and the swastika resemblance was raised by enemies, he says. And ``I will never change things because of our enemies.''

``Throughout history, the Afrikaner has tended to obey -- his church, his government.'' But when he loses patience, ``the Afrikaner has proven to have a lot of dynamite in him!''

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