CAULDRON OF CHANGE

Text: MICHAEL O. ALLEN; Maps & Design: JIM WILLIS | Sunday, April 3, 1994

HISTORY’S LESSONS

South Africa, as it enters a world made uncertain by the end of apartheid, should look to the post-independence experiences of Namibia and Zimbabwe.

The same fears being raised today about South Africa’s stumble to democracy were raised in Zimbabwe leading up to its independence from Britain in 1980. and in Namibia a decade later when it emerged from under the thumb of South Africa.

A quick answer—if Namibia and Zimbabwe are guides—is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The liberation fighters who took power retain firm control in both nations. Power has not made blacks wealthier, however. In both instances, they are as poor today as they ever were under white domination.

Whites in both situations, retain economic power and live as well as they ever have.

Namibia, though its blacks remain dreadfully poor, is peaceful today and is much forgotten by the rest of the world.

Zimbabwe, after a brief but violent aftermath to its independence, is poised for its third election next year. It has the most vigorous press in Africa, a stable, though not vibrant, economy and a fairly content white population.

1.   IN TRANSITION

The multi-racial Transitional Executive Council shares broad governing powers with South Africa’s ruling National Party.

The predominantly black TEC—consisting of representatives from every major party running in the upcoming elections—has oversight over the police, the army and the civil service.

The government cannot make a major decision, such as the recent takeover of the black homelands, Ciskei and Bophuthatswana, without its approval.

2. PARLIAMENT AND A BILL OF RIGHTS

1994 to 1999—400-seat parliament will be in session for five years. It will serve as a constituent assembly that will set boundaries and powers of regional governments in the next two years.

The interim constitution will serve as South Africa’s supreme law until an elected assembly writes a permanent constitution. It protects these “fundamental rights”:

Every person shall have the right to freedom  and security of the person, which shall include the right not to be detained without trial.

No person shall be subject to torture of any kind, nor shall any person be subject to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Every person shall have the right to his or her personal privacy which shall include the rights not to be subject to his or her person, home or property, the seizure of private communications.

Every person shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression.

3. THE HOMELANDS

The elections mark the end of the four “independent black homelands” and the six autonomous ones that the apartheid government established on arid portion of South Africa as a way of ridding the nation of blacks. The homelands had their own armies, police and civil service.

In this campaign, leaders of the homelands have resisted the political change, even as their people have fought to participate, most notably in Bophuthatswana and Ciskei.

The outstanding question remains what to do about KwaZulu and its chief minister, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who has refused to participate in the elections.

4. ECONOMY

The African National Congress agreed to an independent central bank and pledged to guarantee most property rights, although ANC leader Nelson Mandela has not said whether he would take over diamond and gold mines if he becomes president. Political change can only mean good news to South Africa and its neighbors, many of which are moving to end their isolation of the country. Colgate-Palmolive, Kodak, International Paper, Reebok, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Ingersoll-Rand, Borden, Kimberly-Clark, and Pfizer have already moved to reinvest in South Africa.

5. SECURITY

In January, South African began training a multi-racial National Peacekeeping Force, to be called NPKF. The 10,000-strong force is make up of the South African security forces, which were the iron first of apartheid; Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC that fough those same security forces, and the armies and police of the black homelands.

WHAT’S AT STAKE FOR THE KEY PLAYERS

NELSON MANDELA, 76, is expected to be handed the poisoned chalice that is the presidency of his anguished nation. He then faces the unenviable task of telling 15 million unemployed South African blacks to be patient to taste the fruit of their long, bitter struggle against apartheid. At the same time, he has to calm the fears of whites, some of whom are already fleeing.

F.W. DE KLERK, 58, is the South African president who not only freed Mandela from prison, but presided over the dismantling of apartheid. Although many are discussing his legacy, don’t write him off from national politics yet. De Klerk will lead the National Party and, probably, become vice president to Mandela in the new government.

MANGOSUTHU GATSHA BUTHELEZI, 66, president of Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party and chief minister of the Zulu homeland. KwaZulu. He may have overplayed his hand in a quest for an autonomous KwaZulu. His opposition to the constitution and elections has already plunged the homeland into a cauldron of violence. A state of emergency was declared in Natal on Thursday.

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, 41, is African National Congress head of foreign affairs, chief negotiator of the new South Africa interim constitution and is one of the leaders of the Transitional Executive Council. Ramaphosa, the former head of the National Union of Mineworkers, is, arguably, Mandela’s heir apparent, although the old man trusts and prefers ANC Chairman Thabo Mbeki.

GEN. CONSTANDT VILJOEN showed himself to be nimble-footed in aftermath of the recent violence in the Bophuthatswana homeland when he extracted himself from the anti-election alliance of black and white right wingers. He formed the Freedom Front, a political party that will run in the election and represent a minority of whites seeking their own autonomous homeland in South Africa.