At the United Nations, the annual debate on South Africa's policy of separate development of racial groupings, apartheid, began on Tuesday (6 November).
At the United Nations, the annual debate on South Africa's policy of separate development of racial groupings, apartheid, began on Tuesday (6 November). It comes at a time when some aspects of the policy have been changed. Under Prime Minister Pieter Botha, most sports have been integrated, and labour reforms have ended official wage disparities between races and allowed blacks to apply for jobs previously reserved for whites only. The reforms of the past few months, though modest, have raised speculation that South Africa is re-appraising a policy which has met with widescale international condemnation.
SYNOPSIS: There are nineteen million blacks in South Africa...whose place in society is determined by the policy of apartheid.. on paper separate, but equal development.
Economically, South Africa relies on black labour. For blacks, a vital element in finding work is the passbook -- a document that states where each is allowed to live, and work. For some, it represents an indispensable element of apartheid a means by which white control in exercised.
Despite moves at relaxing other parts of apartheid, the so-called 'pass laws' remain unaltered.
Some observers say that economic pressure has forced the recent changes. A million people, almost all black, are out of work, and the figure is rising. Economic growth has been slow, and the black consumer market lies largely untapped. Prime Minister Pieter Botha told a rally recently that whites will only live if blacks prosper. Critics say relaxation is aimed at curbing frustrations among the growing number of unemployed blacks.
There have been violent racial confrontations in the past. In 1960, 69 blacks were killed when police opened fire at Sharpeville on a crowd demonstrating against the law that requires blacks to carry identity passes.
Three years ago, in 1976, came the most serious racial disturbances so far.. centered in the black townships that lie on the edges of South Africa's big cities.
An estimated 260 people died. Most riots were led by young people...who according to observers resented the way their elders accepted apartheid.
The creation of independent black states, divided along tribal lines, and scattered across the country is the keystone to apartheid, and will continue. Three have so far been set up, this, Bophuthatswana was established in 1977. Seven more are envisaged. When the homelands plan is complete, all blacks 80 per cent of the population, will belong to the states, which make up 15 per cent of the land. None of the states has yet received international recognition. Most countries have denounced the plan. In the homelands, the average income is one third of that in urban areas. Economic development depends wholly on outside investment... 60 per cent from South Africa.
In International affairs and politics, South Africa stands virtually isolated because of its apartheid policies In 1974 it was excluded from the 19th session of the United Nations General Assembly: since then South Africa has taken no part in the proceedings.
Despite the recent moves, the overall concepts of racial segregation remain unaltered. Many black leaders feel fundamental changes.... equality before the law. constitutional guarantees of human rights, and one man one vote...are still a long way off.