The United Nations deadline for action by South Africa to yield its disputed control of South West Africa, dawned on Friday (30 May) with little perceptible change in the political scene.
AERIAL VIEWS OF Partially completed dam site at Windhoek (2 shots)
AERIAL VIEWS OF Kunene River (2 shots)
GV Workers working on dam construction (3 shots)
GV Owambo Council chamber ZOOM IN TO Owambo and South African flag
GV INTERIOR OF Council chamber of Owambo Legislative Council
CU SWAPO representative, Mr. Hilundwa speaking
CU General J. De Wet being interviewed by reporter
SV Mr. Kloppers (Chairman of Coloured Federal Party) being interviewed by reporter
CU Bishop Wood speaking at news conference
HILUNDWA (SEQ 6): In order for us to attend a round table conference South Africa must show a gesture of goodwill, immediate withdrawal of South African defence and police force, the release of political prisoners in order to participate in the constitutional talks, total abolition of apartheid laws and legislation so that participants in the constitutional talks may meet amid an atmosphere of equality and harmony, lift the notorious act seventeen - that is regulation seventeen and repealing the order on our Vice President, then all Namibians, white and black, can come together and talks as equals. Those are our preconditions.
REPORTER (SEQ 7): The UN Security Council, meeting shortly, may decide to take action against South Africa in regard to South West Africa. Do you think there is any effective action it Africa. Do you think there is any effective action it can take to change the South African Government's policy?
DE WET: I see it his way. Why should they take action against South Africa, when South We ... South Africa has put it very clearly that the decision as far as the development, constitutional as well as other, lies with the peoples of South West Africa. Why should they take action against South Africa? It entirely lies with the peoples of South West Africa.
REPORTER (SEQ 8): Mr. Kloppers, you represent thirty-five thousand coloured people in South West Africa, which is one of the smallest minority groups, I believe. Can you tell me, what would be the effect from your point of view, if we had one man one vote imposed here now?
KLOPPERS: There would be bloodshed and chaos in this country.
REPORTER: Why would that be?
KLOPPERS: Because, the moment we accept majority rule in South West Africa, the Ovambos will govern this country. And being the most underdeveloped race in this country, or .. I think .. that is the reason for my answer.
WOOD (SEQ 9): I don't think that South Africa or the whites here are going to resign their position of power and privilege without a major struggle and I think the unfortunate thing is that the longer this goes on, the longer this indecision goes on I think more likely it is that there indecision goes on I think more likely it is that there is going to be ... there's going to be violence involved in it. The longer it's delayed, I think, the more chance there is of a developing violent situation.
On Friday, the deadline expired on the United Nations Security Council's demand to South Africa to relinquish its control of South West Africa. This dam on the Kunene River is a symbol of South Africa's interest in the territory, which has a population of less than a million. Before the deadline expired, reporters Mike Reed spoke to four prominent leaders - Mr. Skinny Hilundwa of the South West African People's Organisation, Mr. Jannie De Wet, the territory's Mr. Kloppers of the Coloured Federal Party, and Bishop Wood of the Anglican Church.
Initials CL/1906 CL/1930
This film contains interviews by Visnews reporter, Mike Reed, with Mr. Skinny Hilundwa, a representative of SWAPO (the South West Africa People's Organisation), Commissioner-General Jannie De Wet, Mr. Kloppers of the Coloured Federal Party, and Bishop Wood of the Anglican Church. A transcript of their statements contained on film is provided below.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The United Nations deadline for action by South Africa to yield its disputed control of South West Africa, dawned on Friday (30 May) with little perceptible change in the political scene.
Mr. Jannie De Wet, South Africa's Commissioner-General for the territory, said that he thought any intervention by the United Nations would meet with opposition from all the people of the region. The population of South West Africa is estimated to be about 850,000.
South Africa administers the territory - four times the size of Britain - under a mandate granted in 1919 by the League of Nations, but since revoked by the United Nations. It is sparsely populated, but rich in minerals.
The United Nations Security Council last December set a deadline of 30th of May for South Africa to announce its withdrawal from South West Africa. The Security Council was due to meet on Friday to review the situation and decide what measures to take. After decades of argument, the stage was set for confrontation between South Africa and the World body.
But before the deadline was reached, many people were forecasting violent developments in the situation whatever action the U.N. decided on.
South Africa maintains that it is not answerable to the United Nations on the issue. But in line with its drive for friendlier relations with black Africa, it has embarked on a campaign to loosen apartheid in the territory, and encourage the various tribes and ethnic groups towards talking about independence.
But SWAPO (the South West Africa People's Organisation), which is recognised by the U.N. and the Organisation of African Unity, is apparently unimpressed. The Chairman of SWAPO's northern region, Mr. Skinny Hilundwa, says "Whites and blacks in Namibia (the nationalist name for the territory) live in two different worlds. The blacks are the have-nots, victims of discrimination and oppression".
South Africa and the regional governments at Windhoek and in Owambo, the comparatively fertile northern region, where SWAPO draws most of its support from, consider the movement is a spent force.
As with the South African Government, the Commissioner-General, who is a prominent farmer in South West Africa, is pinning his hopes on a proposed constitutional conference. SWAPO has said it will boycott this, seeing it as a South African plot to carve up South West Africa into separate tribal home-lands. This would leave the whites, now outnumbered six to one, in a strong position.
Meanwhile the South Africans are pumping millions of rands into the industrial and agricultural development of Owambo and Kavango, the regions bordering Angola. According to some observers, the fear is that unless conditions for the populations of the two areas can be improved, there is a danger of guerrillas gaining a foothold there.