More than 16 years after the Sharpville massacre, when police shot down dozens of black Africans protesting against the racial policies of the South African Government, the first stage of a new experiment to ease racial tension is underway in South Africa.
GVs Umatata town (2 shots)
CU ZOOM OUT Map showing Transkei area in South Africa
TRAVEL SHOT Umtata street
GV Modern buildings in Umtata (2 shots)
CU Transkei Chief Minister, Chief Kaiser Matanzima walking with reporter into office
CU Matanzima talks with reporter Hogan
GV & SV Umtata street with people walking (3 shots)
HOGAN: For South Africa's blacks, the road to self determination and independence passes through this town, Umtata. Six hundred kilometres south of Johannesburg, Umtata is the capital of the Transkei which will become an independent country in October of this year. For the South African Government, Transkei will be the showcase for their policies of apartheid, or separate racial development. Transkei is one of 10 Bantustans, or African homelands, where the South African Government hopes to resettle most of the country's blacks in their own independent countries. In October, Umtata will become the capital of a new country, about the size of Switzerland, which in theory will be free to pursue its own policies entirely free of any influence by South African Government. As a measure of its determination to make Transkei succeed, the south African Government will this year pour over a hundred million dollars into major public works, including a new government administrative centre, an international airport, and a major military base.
(HOGAN) The Chief Minister of the Transkei is Chief Kaiser Matanzima. To critics of the South African regime, he's stooge and a puppet, an Uncle Tom who supports apartheid by accepting the policies of the Vorster government. Not that that's a view he accepts. Nevertheless there are those who argue that the Transkei is the showpiece for the South African Government, and that if Transkei succeeds, then the South Africans can turn to the rest of the world and say, our apartheid policies are right, they work.
MATANZIMA: You can take it that way. As far as we are concerned, it is our desire to become free. We don't care how the world feels about it, and the position can not be reverted, we shall be free on the 26th of October. And our constitution will tell the world what our position is.
HOGAN: At the moment Umtata is nothing more than a small provincial city. Its level of development is a reminder that South Africa's plans for separate racial development, means that once the African homelands are set up, the bulk of the country's natural wealth plus almost 90 per cent of the land, will be in the hands of four million whites, while fifteen million blacks will have to settle for what's left.
Initials CL/1755 CL/1813
(This film is serviced with a sound commentary in English by Australian Broadcasting Commission reporter, Allan Hogan, and part of an interview in English between Hogan and Transkei Chief Minister, Chief Kaisor Matanzima, a transcript of which appears overpage.)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: More than 16 years after the Sharpville massacre, when police shot down dozens of black Africans protesting against the racial policies of the South African Government, the first stage of a new experiment to ease racial tension is underway in South Africa.
The plan is to resettle the various ethnic groups into a series of separate autonomous states or homelands within South Africa itself. The first of these homelands, the Transkei, gains a degree of independence as a sovereign state in October.
The homelands are the cornerstone of South Africa's policy of separate development and the coming independence of the Transkei is being watched closely by South Africa and by the many critics of Apartheid.
The South African Government argues that it is leading black South Africans to self determination and independence. For black South Africans that road starts in the Transkei capital of Umtata and the central showcase for the government's Apartheid policy -- or separate racial development
The Transkei is one of 10 homelands where the South African Government hopes to re-settle most of the country's black in their own independent countries. In October, Umtata becomes the capital of a new country. about the size of Switzerland. And, according to the South African Government, it will be able to pursue its own policies -- entirely free of any influence.
As a measure of its determination to make the Transkei succeed, the South African government is providing the homeland with huge amounts of cash and material aid for major public works, including new administrative offices, an international airport and military base.
However, critics of Apartheid view the Chief Minister of the Transkei, Chief Kaiser Matanzima, with suspicion. According to Reuters, some opponents of Apartheid regard him as a stooge and puppet of the South African Government. This is not a view he accepts and in an interview for Visnews, Chief Matanzima said that the Transkei constitution would tell the world what the Transkei's position was when it becomes independent on 26 October.
Meanwhile, a new controversy involving Transkei citizenship has strained relations between the South African Government and Chief Matanzima. With independence, the government plans to turn all blacks of Xhosas tribal descent into citizens of the Transkei, though they will not be forced to live there.
Many of them live in townships around South African cities, working for the country's key industries and commercial enterprises. Many of them have never been inside the Transkei and, according to Reuters, the Government's policy mans in effect, that the estimated 1.7 million Xhosas, living in "white" areas of South Africa, will be regarded as foreigners. There are nine other homelands earmarked for independence and it is expected the citizenship policy would also apply to them.
They too have the majority of their populations working in the area designated for whites, which comprise just under 87 per cent of South Africa's land mass. Reporting on the policy, Reuters said that this could leave over 8,000,000 blacks living in white areas as foreigners, deprived of South African citizenship and liable to deportation if they caused trouble.
The policy is opposed by Chief Matanzima. However, the government sees the move as a logical step in the separation of the races. The only people ultimately able to call themselves "South Africans" would be the whites who number 5,000,000 and, perhaps the coloureds (people of mixed race) and Asians, whose destiny has still to be decided.
It is a situation deplored by most blacks and many anti-apartheid whites. But the government says the urban blacks will not be forced to move to the homelands. They will be able to remain as foreigners -- a situation, according to Reuters, that could be used to justify the continual denial of political rights for them.
SYNOPSIS: Southern Africa continues to dominate the headlines with the conflict over Rhodesia and the future of Namibia. However, a third issue is attracting growing world interest as well as controversy inside South Africa itself - namely, the government's plan to give the Transkei, the first black homeland, independence in October. Allan Hogan reports: