The South African government has launched a nation-wide drive to sell defence bonds to help pay for the country's armed forces.
The South African government has launched a nation-wide drive to sell defence bonds to help pay for the country's armed forces. At sales drives up and down the Republic's five provinces on Saturday, (1 October) Prime Minister John Vorster, President Nicolaas Diederichs, and cabinet ministers helped launch the drive with the aid of a pop song, a radio competition to choose a campaign slogan, and military parades.
SYNOPSIS: One of the biggest parades was in Pretoria, the country's capital, where President Diederichs appealed to the public to buy the bonds. He told the crowd: 'It is through our own strength, and not through onslaughts from outside, that peace will be preserved in South Africa.' He also warned of the danger of what he called "communist aggression".
The campaign comes with the South African National Party Government of Mr. Vorster embroiled in more controversial issues, both at home and abroad, then at any other time. It also follows less than two weeks after Mr. Vorster announced a surprise general election for next month (November) -- a year and a half ahead of schedule. A major public opinion poll taken before the snap election announcement indicated that the National Party will be swept back to power with an even bigger majority than the massive one it already holds.
Foreign Minister Mr. Pic Botha, was one of the cabinet members to take part in the bond sales campaign. He's perhaps more keenly aware than the others of South Africa's position abroad, being heavily involved in the international pressures over both South West Africa and Rhodesia. In addition South Africa -- which already has probably the strongest armed forces in Africa -- is facing increasing dissent within its own borders. Several major race riots and increased guerrilla activity have claimed more than two hundred lives last year and this.