Bloemfontein's showground motor-hall was packed to 8,000 capacity Aug 29 when South African Premier, Dr Verwoerd, opened a special congress of the Nationalist Party.
Bloemfontein's showground motor-hall was packed to 8,000 capacity Aug 29 when South African Premier, Dr Verwoerd, opened a special congress of the Nationalist Party. Loudspeakers conveyed his speech to overflow crowds outside.
Led by Dr Verwoerd, delegates adopted four resolutions. First; that the time was now opportune as never before for white voters of South Africa to declare themselves in favour of a republic. Second-introduced by Mr Louw, Minister of External Affairs - that a republic resulting from the Oct 5 referendum should continue to be a member of the Commonwealth. Third; that it was in the interests of South Africa's economic progress to become a republic now. While there were economic benefits to be gained from Commonwealth membership, the value of membership preferences should not be exaggerated. The fourth motion, introduced by Dr Donges, the Minister of Finance, extended the hand of friendship to all republicans outside the Nationalist Party ranks. He said the republic would be Christian, anti-communistic, democratic, and not a dictatorship. Justice for all colour groups would be pursued.
The latter motion is interpreted as an appeal for the support of the English-speaking South Africans, although it is expected that Dr Verwoerd will win the referendum poll by a narrow majority. This is based on the fact that Afrikaans-speaking South Africans outnumber English and non-Afrikaans-speaking by 60-40 and the majority of Afrikaners favour a republic.