PRESIDENT Frederik de Klerk is facing mounting political and diplomatic pressure to deal firmly with three black homeland leaders who have pulled out of negotiations.
That pressure escalated yesterday with the publication of a judicial report that censured the Pretoria-backed Ciskei homeland authorities for opening fire on protest marchers last month.
"I think the time has come for De Klerk to use the stick as well as the carrot in dealing with homeland leaders bent on disrupting negotiations," one Western diplomat says.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has gained the support of Brig. Joshua "Oupa" Gqozo of Ciskei and Chief Lucas Mangope of Bophuthatswana in opposition to the bilateral accords on violence reached Saturday between the government and the African National Congress (ANC).
Mr. De Klerk has denied that the homeland leaders had been excluded from the process and has vowed to consult them while bilateral talks with the ANC proceed. But Western and ANC sources say the president must now choose between delaying multiparty negotiations further to appease Chief Buthelezi and his allies or pushing ahead without them.
"I think the moment to choose has arrived for De Klerk," an ANC official says. If the president does not go against Buthelezi, he will "alienate the ANC and the international community."
Buthelezi canceled a scheduled meeting with De Klerk yesterday and instead launched a broadside attack on the weekend meeting between the president and ANC leader Nelson Mandela, which endorsed the concept of an elected constituent assembly/interim government, the banning of dangerous weapons, and the fencing off of township male hostels that serve as urban power-bases for the IFP. Buthelezi said the accords amounted to the sanctioning of violence against the Zulus.
There are signs De Klerk may not allow the Zulu chief to disrupt the timetable for a transition to an interim government and a new constitution. De Klerk is expected to pilot enabling legislation for an interim government through Parliament at a special session due to begin Oct. 12.
"De Klerk will not allow Inkatha to veto that process," a government official close to the talks told the Monitor.
Foreign Minister Roelof (Pik) Botha urged diplomats Tuesday to make direct contact with the homeland leaders and help Pretoria to coax them back to the negotiating table, a Western diplomat said. The new United States ambassador to South Africa, Princeton Lyman, who presented his credentials to De Klerk a week ago, is due to meet Buthelezi tomorrow for the first time.
The ANC met yesterday to consider a proposed summit with Buthelezi to rescue the negotiations process. Some ANC officials feel that the Mr. Mandela could meet Buthelezi from a position of strength. But ANC militants in Natal province are expected to oppose such a meeting.
Adding to the pressure on De Klerk, the independent Goldstone Commission, upon investigating the Sept. 7 shootings of ANC marchers in Ciskei in which 28 people were killed and nearly 200 injured, found that the Ciskei Defense Force (CDF) had opened fire deliberately with a "disregard for human life."
Judge Richard Goldstone called on the Ciskeian attorney general to investigate criminal charges against those responsible for death or injury and called on the Ciskeian authorities to acknowledge that CDF members had acted "reprehensibly."
Judge Goldstone also chided a key ANC radical, Ronnie Kasrils, for his decision to lead demonstrators through a hole in the fence surrounding the Bisho stadium. The judge called on the ANC to publicly censure Mr. Kasrils for "knowingly or negligently" exposing the demonstrators to the danger. The marchers were demanding Brigadier Gqozo's resignation.
Goldstone did not censure Pretoria authorities considered responsible for the action of homeland "governments" in terms of international law. But diplomats say they will continue to hold Pretoria accountable for actions by homeland governments.