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South Africa Bans Four More Anti-Apartheid Organizations

Associated Press

The law and order minister Thursday banned four anti-apartheid groups, using state-of-emergency regulations that have shut down 28 other organizations in South Africa this year.

Two of the latest targets are teachers’ unions and a third is a student group that coordinated anti-government protests this year in mixed-race townships near Cape Town.

The fourth banned group was the National Detainees Forum, established in July to carry on monitoring work that had been conducted by the Detainees Parents Support Committee before it was banned in February.

Both watchdog groups played a major role in providing information on the thousands of activists, most of them black, detained without charge for varying periods during the 30-month-old state of emergency.

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A statement issued on behalf of Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok said the predominantly black Democratic Teachers Union and the predominantly mixed-race Western Cape Teachers Union had promoted “people’s education"--an effort by nonwhite communities to exert greater control over their schools.

The two teachers’ unions, both founded in 1985, were “politicizing education and discrediting the education system,” said spokesman Lt. Peet Bothma. “Both are involved in the broad revolutionary onslaught against South Africa which could escalate into strikes, boycotts, terror and unrest incidents.”

Bothma said the government had similar concerns about the predominantly mixed-race Western Cape Students Congress, one of a dozen youth and student groups banned this year.

The latest bannings were denounced by South Africa’s Human Rights Commission. The newly banned organizations “have never been accused in court of any illegal actions,” the commission said in a statement. “Their bannings are a result of their steadfast opposition to apartheid policies.”

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The 17 groups banned in February included the largest anti-apartheid coalition, the United Democratic Front. The main anti-apartheid labor federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, was prohibited from political activity as part of the crackdown.


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