• Short Summary

    South Africa celebrates its tenth anniversary as a Republic this month. It has been a?

  • Description

    Pretoria, 1961 GV, SV AND SCU Verwoed declaring a Republic in front of massed crowds (3 shots)

    GV SASOL Plant and CU Verwoed at oil rig (3 shots)

    SV Gold smelting (2 shots)

    GV Police charging crowd and fight ensues (2 shots)

    1960: CU Verwoed bleeding after assassination attempt

    1966 CU Newspaper showing photographs of Verwoed's assassin, Tsafendas

    1966 GV ZOOM IN TO CU Vorster sworn in as Prime Minister (2 shots)

    GV Aircraft and military parade (2 shots)

    1963 GV and SV Transkei Parliament opened Tribal dancing (4 shots)

    LESOTHO, 1966: GV Princess Marina at flag-raising ceremony as Lesotho gains independence (2 shots)

    GV PAN Windhoek

    THE HAGUE, HOLLAND GV EXT Peace Palace and SV INT Judges and lawyers prepare for case (3 shots)

    SV Bram Fischer and defence lawyers prepare for Fischer's trial (4 shots)

    SV Mandela protest

    SV Christian Barnard and nurses

    GTV Cape Town

    Initials jkp:1431 jkp:1535

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: South Africa celebrates its tenth anniversary as a Republic this month. It has been a stormy and controversial decade for the white-ruled state, but an economically successful one. During this time, South Africa has clashed with the rest of the world over such issues as South West Africa, apartheid, and arms supplies. A Prime Minister was assassinated; the world's first heart transplant operation was performed in Cape Town; and South Africa retreated into isolationism in the face of international antagonism. To mark the occasion of the tenth anniversary VISNEWS has issued this production, compiled from its film library. It shows some of the events which took place in South Africa during the past decade, and their effect on the country's progress.

    SYNOPSIS: The Republic of South Africa celebrates its tenth anniversary on 31 May. In 1961 the then Prime Minister, Hendrik Verwoed, took South Africa out of the British Commonwealth after a public referendum.

    During the past decade, despite large-scale internal and external problems caused by enforced racial segregation, or apartheid, South Africa has forged ahead economically. The country only lacks natural oil - for which it is continually searching - to become economically independent. It has, however, second best - a plant to create oil from coal.

    Gold, the country's largest foreign exchange earner, has been a useful economic weapon in the face of threats of international sanctions....
    ....but it has not helped to quell occasional outbursts of violence caused by the application of apartheid and the forceable removal of Africans from their homes. A strong internal security force, including black policemen, keeps riots to a minimum.

    Dr Verwoed, who is acknowledged as the architect of apartheid, was assassinated in 1966 after surviving THIS attempt by white farmer David Pratt in 1960. Pratt shot Dr Verwoed twice, in the head, but the Prime Minister lived another six years until a successful assassination attempt by a mentally-deranged parliamentary messenger....
    Dimitri Tsafendas, who stabbed Dr Verwoed during a Parliamentary session in Cape Town. Tsafendas was later found unfit to stand trial and detained indefinitely in a mental institution.

    Shortly afterwards Johannes Vorster, a former Minister of Justice, Police and Prisons who created South Africa's rigid security laws, was sworn in as Prime Minister - a post he still holds today. Leader of the ruling Nationalist Party, he was himself interned as a Nazi sympathiser during the Second World War.

    The Republic maintains a small but comparatively strong, well-trained and well-equipped military and naval force - despite intense world pressure against the sale of arms to South Africa. For during the past decade. United Nations sanctions against such sales have been continually breached.

    Under the racial segregation policies some areas of South Africa were set aside for semi-independence as 'Bantustans' or African homelands. The Transkei, home of the Xhosa tribe on the eastern seaboard, received limited internal autonomy in 1963 and is scheduled for eventual total independence. Despite a growth of light industry, it is still heavily dependent on South Africa - for which it provides cheap labour, mainly for the gold mines.

    Lesotho, 1966 - and Princess Marina represents Britain as the country gains its independence. Like the Transkei, this former British Protectorate is surrounded by South Africa - and is another source of cheap labour for the mines.

    This is Windhoek, South West Africa, just another thorny problem faced by South Africa. In 1966 the United Nations terminated South Africa's mandate to govern South West Africa - but this termination has been steadfastly ignored by Pretoria.

    Despite insistence by the United Nations, two of whose member states took South Africa to the World Court is the Hague, Holland South Africa has continued to administrate South West Africa as just another province of the Republic .... backed by the World Courts' dismissal of a plea for United Nations rule.

    Meanwhile, internal dissidence continued throughout the decade. Abram Fischer, a leading lawyer who defended in most of the major sabotage trials, was himself arrested and tried under the Suppression of Communism Act. During the past ten years, several thousand people - black and white - were interned without trial and leading antagonists formally charged under rigid security laws.

    One such celebrated case was the Rivonia affair - in which African party leader Nelson Mandela, and several other white and coloured dependents, were sentenced to life imprisonment for alleged subversive activities.

    More welcome publicity was Dr Christian Barnard's heart transplant - the world's first.

    Today, approaching its tenth birthday, South Africa looks back on a short but already highly controversial history as a Republic .... will the next decade prove the same?

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