Former Generals Threaten Violence to Achieve Afrikaner Homeland
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA — FOUR days before the expiration of a deadline for changes to a draft constitution, white right-wing leaders say that they are planning organized violence to ensure their demands for self-determination and an Afrikaner homeland are met.
It is the first sign that former generals of the South African Defence Force (SADF), who lead the right-wing Afrikaner Volksfront (AVF), are contemplating violence to achieve their aims.
``Even if it means using violence in a limited way, we have to achieve self-determination for our country,'' said Gen. Constand Viljoen, the former SADF chief who is co-leader of the front. ``Sometimes you have to use a little bit of violence to prevent more violence at a later stage.''
Until his remarks yesterday, General Viljoen has carefully avoided advocating violence and has actively discouraged his followers from using violence to achieve their demands.
Conservative Party leader Ferdi Hartzenberg, a hard-liner in right-wing circles, told the Monitor that there was already a war raging between supporters of the African National Congress (ANC) and the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).
He predicted that a ``communist'' ANC government - referring to the ANC's alliance with the South African Communist Party - would use ``massive violence'' to crush the right wing. Afrikaners would rather turn to violence than surrender, he added.
Neither Viljoen nor Mr. Hartzenberg would elaborate on what kind of violence they had in mind, but they said they would seek a broader mandate for this strategy at an AVF conference in Pretoria on Jan. 29. This is the same day that supporters of Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi's IFP will meet to decide whether to participate in the country's first all-race elections on April 27 and cooperate with the transition to democracy.
At a Jan. 17 meeting with the Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini, President Frederik de Klerk agreed to set up joint working groups with the royal delegation to secure the Zulu monarchy and the KwaZulu kingdom after the election.
Viljoen said yesterday that there could be no political solution in South Africa unless the demand for self-determination by the Zulus and the Afrikaners was accommodated.
If negotiations fail, Viljoen said, there is one other avenue to pursue before violence: international mediation. The international community has much sympathy for the Afrikaner cause, he said, and he could arrange for mediators ``within a week.''
Viljoen did not disclose which nations would be prepared to mediate between right-wing Afrikaners and the ANC and ruling National Party (NP). But it is known that a joint AVF-ANC delegation recently visited Belgium and Switzerland to study those countries' mechanisms for ensuring the self-determination of cultural minorities.
TALKS resumed yesterday between the NP, the ANC, and the Freedom Alliance - a coalition of white-right and conservative black leaders - in a bid to accommodate alliance demands to strengthen regional government and provide for self-determination in the draft constitution.
Viljoen told the Monitor that AVF leaders believed that the government and the ANC were stalling agreement on outstanding demands for amendments to the constitution because they did not want the right-wing parties to take part in the April election.
The rejection of the AVF's amendments in December resulted in a draft accord between the ANC and AVF being called off at the last moment. The accord would have secured AVF participation in the election in return for an ANC promise to continue discussing the details of a proposed Afrikaner homeland.
But on Jan. 8, ANC President Nelson Mandela ruled out the creation of a separate Afrikaner homeland before the country's April ballot.
As a result, the AVF-ANC six-month-long talks were suspended and Viljoen, widely regarded as the moderate face of the right, has come under increasing pressure from militants in the Conservative Party and the Afrikaner Resistance Movement to quit or accept that violence is the only way forward.
In a weekend interview with the Sunday newspaper Rapport, Viljoen conceded that he might have come to the end of the road and could no longer see a useful role for himself.
But an AVF official has subsequently told the Monitor that Viljoen could be preparing to switch from a political to a military role as AVF supporters lose hope that negotiations with the ruling National Party and the ANC can achieve their demands.