• Short Summary

    Mr. John Vorster's fifth anniversary as Prime Minister of South African has caught him on?

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    Mr. John Vorster's fifth anniversary as Prime Minister of South African has caught him on the brink of a breakthrough in his policy of dialogue with black Africa. It is ironic that the man who began his political career as an independent because he was thought too righting for his party should now, after receiving Dr. Banda of Malawi, as a state guest, be considered by many of his countrymen as too leftwing.

    This backgrounder looks at the main problems Mr Vorster has had to deal with since coming to office in 1966. In dealing with them he had earned a reputation as a tough, uncompromising man - though his search for internal unity between Afrikaners and English-speaking South Africans is still unrealised.

    SYNOPSIS: Australia, 1971 - one of the demonstration against the touring South African rugby team. Concern at South Africa's policy racial segregation - apartheid - echoes throughout the world. The effect apart has had on South Africa's place in the comity of nations is behind many of the problems Prime Minister John Vorster has faced since coming to power just five year ago.

    John Vorster was elected unanimously by the ruling national party as Prime Minister in 1966, after the assassination of his predecessor, Dr. Verwoerd. One of the first pledges the new Prime Minister made to his country was that he would promote national unity. But the domestic policy apartheid left him with few friends in world.

    One man who supported Mr. Vorster was Mr. Ian Smith, of Rhodesia. On his first official foreign tour in 1970, Mr. Vorst met the Rhodesian leader for informal t??? The two men have always sported each other's policies.

    One of these policies was to get for South Africa a viable fighting force. After the question of "Arms for South Africa" had created uproar in many parts of Europe, South Africa took delivery of her first submarine in June of this year. It was of three bought from France. Mr. Vorst insisted he needed arms to defend his country from communism - and to protect the Cape route from Soviet ships.

    Mr. Vorster;s main pre-occupation remains to reduce external pressure on South Africa. To do this, he must seem to reduce the racial tensions within his own country, and within Africa as a whole. But on his first official tour of the black African homelands in July 1971 - where his policy says the black Africans can eventually have independent status - Mr. Vorster said firmly that the problems of South Africa will be solved by South Africans. His solution to the race problem is to divide the territory between whites, coloured and Indians on the one hand, and the African majority on the other. But for most of the leaders of black Africa, the process of equality is much too slow, if they believe it will come about at all.

    One man who believes equality can come about is Dr. Banda, President of Malawi. In August his official visit to South Africa was a step towards the creation of a dialogue between South Africa and black Africa. Dr. Banda's visit, bitterly opposed by many African leader was a major diplomatic success for Mr. Vorster....increased by Dr. Banda's hint of a congress of black African leaders in favour of dialogue early next year. But it is ironic that John Vorster who began his career as an independent because of his ultra right wing views, should now be considered by many of his countrymen as too liberal.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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