S. African party flaunts racism

South Africa's main white right-wing political party -- which is what the government says it fears most -- presented an unashamedly racist image of itself at its just-completed annual congress.

Monitor contributor Humphrey Tyler reports that Herstigte Nasionale Party delegates referred to blacks scornfully as "golliwogs" and even reveled in a certain amount of anti-Semitism at their party gathering. The "border war" in Namibia, for example, was referred to as a cover-up for "filling the moneybags of international Judaism," report delegates.

The HNP was formed 12 years ago by a small group forced out of the ruling National Party because of extreme right-wing attitudes. Its leaders claim they represent the original, true principles of the National Party, which they say has gone irretrievably soft on racial issues. The party has formidable Afrikaans support. As a whole it managed to win more than enough votes in the general election earlier this year to frighten the National Party severely, even though it failed to win a single seat in the allwhite Parliament.

Foreign Minister Pik Botha has acknowledged formally in Parliament that the Cabinet fears that if it introduced too many racial reforms too quickly, there could be a right-wing backlash among whites that might topple the National government. In this case, he declared, the new government would be the HNP, not the Progressive Federal Party, the present official white opposition party in Parliament, which is liberal on race issues by white South African standards.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.