Forced Unity Is a Form of Tyranny : South Africa: Black majority rule means the surrender of power--political suicide for the white man. It is totally unacceptable.

<i> Dr. Andries P. Treurnicht is leader of the Conservative Party in South Africa</i>

South Africa is at the crossroads. Either we deny the reality of various racial and ethnic groups, or peoples, for the sake of a non-existing non-racial society, or we recognize the facts of our population’s composition and take notice of the rise of various nationalisms here, in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

The reforms advocated by the government of President Frederik W. de Klerk are a departure from the principle of self-determination. What it offers as power-sharing is really a surrender of power and control. The government’s new (lack of) philosophy envisages a country in which separateness is abolished and all peoples and racial groups take part in executive and legislative functions. The government pretends to adhere to democratic principles, and promises to prevent the domination of one group by another, but it fails to say how power is to be shared between 5 million whites and 25 million blacks, or how domination of the latter over whites could be avoided in a democratic dispensation where numbers necessarily will decide.

The ethnic awakening and demand for political self-determination in Eastern Europe has been political practice in South Africa for the past four decades but is now being betrayed. We were well ahead of the perception of Rutgers University Prof. Albert Blaustein when he said: “Group rights is legal-constitutional terminology for the new ethnicity of which the world has become increasingly conscious. . . . Studying the legal-constitutional response to the new nationalism--the manifestation of the new ethnicity--is essential in understanding the evolution of modern human rights. For there is an inherent conflict between individual human rights and the rights demanded by, for and on the basis of special groups.”


The ruling party in South Africa is still paying lip service to the concept of a so-called plural society, but its “totally new South Africa” disregards the principle of self-determination for the different peoples--their right to determine their own forms of government.

The new emphasis is on negotiation and consensus. The Conservative Party maintains that our people’s claim to land and our right to govern ourselves are not negotiable. We reject the idea of consensus government because it means dictatorship, which is not acceptable anywhere, except perhaps in Third World countries. In the long run, the majority decides in any democratic dispensation.

That is why a one-man, one-vote system in a unitary South Africa, with its disparate communities or national groups, will not guarantee democratic rule, but domination of smaller nations by the numbers of the numerically stronger ones or combination of black nations. South Africa has a deeply divided population--along racial, ethnic, cultural, language and religious lines. The differences are more significant than those between, for instance, the English and the French, or the Flemish and the Walloons in Belgium. To force together such largely disparate peoples, cultures and races, will amount to a form of tyranny, the very opposite of democratic freedom.

Before the political somersault of the current government, remarkable progress had been made toward the development of separate freedoms for the various peoples, ethnic groups, in their own territories, or homelands. That is the partition policy consistently advocated by the Conservative Party. Seven black peoples--in Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Transkei, Ciskei, Bophuthatswana and Venda--accepted political independence in their own territories. Six others--Kwazulu, Qua-qua, Lebowa, Gazankulu, Kwa-Ndebels and Kangwane--accepted self-government, the final stage before independence, also in their own territories. They endorse a policy of separate freedom, or partition. We say that such development is not turning back the clock, but confirms that we are in step with modern developments elsewhere in the world.

Although white people in South Africa were formerly inclined to decide how blacks would manage their affairs and develop their communities, whites now concentrate on protection of their own freedom, political structures, economic development, land and security. We argue: If minority peoples such as the Swazi, Sotho, Tswana, Xhosa, Venda, are entitled to their own lands and forms of government, then that principle should equally apply to the Afrikaner people--Afrikaans and English speakers of South Africa, white South Africans.

This claim is contrary to the demands for black-majority rule over the whole country made by the African National Congress and Nelson Mandela, the South African Communist Party and other radical leftist organizations. And if these demands are not met, they say they will resort to “armed struggle.”


The release of Mandela and unbanning of the ANC and Communist Party have not brought peace. The unrest, violence, arson and threats of armed rebellion continue. And these people have been invited to take part in negotiations for a new constitution that also includes whites. They have demanded acceptance of the principle of majority rule even before the talks start. Majority rule and internal peace are two sides of the same coin, says Mandela.

That means the surrender of power, political suicide for the white man in this country. That, of course, is totally unacceptable to any people with self-respect and a long history of freedom and resistance against threats of domination.

Therefore, the two choices are: black majority rule over the entire country, including whites, or separate freedoms for various peoples under their own governments in their own territories. The latter is the only moral solution.