State of Emergency Renewed in S. Africa : ‘Ordinary Laws Not Sufficient,’ Botha Declares
President Pieter W. Botha today renewed South Africa’s year-old state of emergency for up to another year.
“The ordinary laws of the land are still not sufficient to curb the threat” to security and public order, Botha said in an address to a joint meeting of the white, Asian and mixed-race chambers of Parliament.
“Taking account of the security of the republic and the maintainance of public order, I have therefore decided to again proclaim a state of emergency throughout the republic,” he said.
Botha imposed a nationwide state of emergency June 12, 1986, in an effort to curb two years of anti-government black violence that had claimed about 2,100 lives. The year of emergency rule ends at midnight Thursday.
Under the 1986 action, Botha granted police and soldiers virtually unlimited powers of search and arrest and imposed strict censorship, including a provision banning all reporters from being within sight of political violence.
Since then, about 500 blacks have died in continuing riots, internecine battles and clashes with black and white police and soldiers.
Botha imposed the state of emergency last year under terms of the Public Safety Act, which allows for only 12 months of suspended civil rights.
He said today that he has already signed documents authorizing the renewal of the emergency.
‘Stability and Order’
“In the midst of continuous and determined attempts to fan yet further the flames of violence and to sow chaos and disorder, it is still the government’s duty and responsibility to ensure stability and order in this country,” Botha said.
“Strict security . . . strengthens the basis from which the search for a peaceful political solution can take place,” he said.
Botha said he accepts that people within South Africa and outside will be critical of the renewed emergency rule.
“It is the opinion of the South African authorities that lifting the state of emergency under the present circumstances would quickly result in a renewed cycle of violence and unrest,” he said.
‘Anger and Aggression’
Dr. Christiaan Beyers Naude, leader of the South African Council of Churches, said the current emergency has not resolved anything.
“The unrest has been temporarily suppressed, but the root causes have been left unaddressed and the feelings of anger and aggression unresolved,” he said.
The Rev. Allan Hendrickse, leader of the dominant Labor Party in the mixed-race House of Representatives, said his people could not back security measures to support apartheid.