By MICHAEL O. ALLEN and GENE MUSTAIN, Daily News Staff Writers | Tuesday, April 19, 1994
JOHANNESBURG—South African leaders appear to be the on the brink of a breakthrough agreement that would bring the Inkatha Freedom Party into next week’s historic election.
During talks in Pretoria involving Inkatha leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, President F. W. de Klerk and African National Congress officials, Buthelezi dropped his demand for an election delay, a government source said. The Zulu leader conceded that a postponement was impossible because of opposition from the ANC and government.
Buthelezi and de Klerk were to discuss the proposal today with ANC leader Nelson Mandela.
Ending the Inkatha boycott would be key to ending the violence between pro and anti-election forces that have killed hundreds of people and threatened to make voting impossible in some parts of the country.
For months, Mandela and de Klerk have been trying to bring Buthelezi into the election, but Buthelezi and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelethini have been holding out for guarantees of post-election autonomy for their KwaZulu homeland.
Acceptance of the April 26-28 election dates, coupled with Buthelezi’s plan to continue talks with de Klerk and Mandela, were a signal Buthelezi has had a change of heart, perhaps because of his failure to win support from international mediators.
That left Buthelezi few options. He could continue his boycott and risk total isolation after the election, which is expected to be won by the rival ANC. Or he could enter the election at the last minute, banking on a strong showing based on his name recognition and on the sheer number of Zulus in the country.
Meanwhile in Johannesburg, police and troops in armored personnel carriers patrolled the streets and razor wire was placed around key buildings in anticipation of a march by Zulus that was postponed for at least a day.
While the last minute rally cancellation eased this jittery city, the violence shadowing the election continued to claim more victims, including Ken Oosterbroek, an award-winning photojournalist for the Johannesburg Star.
Oosterbroek was caught in a crossfire between the National Peacekeeping Force soldiers and migrant Zulu workers in Tokoza. He apparently died of a broken neck he suffered when he dived for cover. Two other photographers also were shot and were in stable conditions.
With News Wire Service.