The United Nations and the international Court at the Hague continue to argue the question of who should rule the territory of south West Africa.
The United Nations and the international Court at the Hague continue to argue the question of who should rule the territory of south West Africa. Basically the problem comes down to whether or not South Africa should be allowed to maintain the present control over the area. After World War I, South Africa took it over from the original German colonists. South Africa administered the territory in Britain's name under a mandate from the League of Nations, and South Africa continues to rule the territory.
South West Africa covers an area larger than Britain and France put together, with about two-thirds f the land covered by barren desert. It is this desert, or rather what lies beneath it, that provides the key to the desirability of the territory. The land has revealed one of the richest deposits of minerals in the world. Most importantly some of the finest diamonds are mined in South West Africa, but it is South African money that supports the mining industry. For that matter, nearly the entire economy is dependent on South Africa, which supplies 90% of South West Africa's imports. Aside from the economic control, South Africa virtually rules South West Africa politically, and recently withdrew most of the remaining power of the local administration in Windhoek.
Out of a population of something less than one million, 8 out of 10 are Africans. The remainder is primarily comprised of whites who are either descendants of German colonists or emigrants from South Africa. Under the original mandate, South Africa was required to promote the social progress and well being of all the inhabitants; but the mandate also permitted South Africa to apply its own laws. One consequence of this is that the Africans in South West Africa live with an apartheid the same as in South Africa. This means pass laws, permits, separate townships, and detention without trial. South Africa has poured a great deal of money into education programmes, but three times as much is spent per capita on the white population. Still, South Africa subsidises most of the food, rail lines, roads, and communication networks in South West Africa. So, aside from the moral question of South Africa's right to remain in The territory, the United Nations and International World Court must also face the economic realities. South Africa herself has suggested a plebiscite on the continuation of South African rule, but so far no action has been taken.