"Form united front now": Interview with Albert Luthuli, 5 May 1962

"The violence and terror that could be unleashed by the Government against all its opponents once it is armed with the draconian powers implicit in the Sabotage Bill may, I fear, ultimately lead to bloodshed and even open revolt by the oppressed people - a situation which we have worked so hard to avoid," said Chief A. J. Lutuli…

In an exclusive interview with New Age, Chief Lutuli said that he had already made an earnest appeal to all leaders - both black and white - to come together with a view to forming a broad united front so as to rouse the whole of South Africa against "the fascist measure."

Response

"I am pleased to state that already my appeal, which has been published in a Durban daily, has had good response. Roman Catholic Archbishop Rt. Rev. Dennis Hurley, Dr. Alan Paton, Mr. P. R. Pather, President of the South African Indian Organisation, Dr. Naicker, President of the S.A.I.C. and others have informed me that they are willing to serve on such a committee," he said.

Reiterating his appeal for a united front, Chief Lutuli asked: "In the face of this fascist measure can anyone doubt the role that democracy-loving people should play in view of this Nazi conspiracy to destroy the last vestiges of freedom in South Africa?

"Is it not time to close our ranks in the face of this threat by the Government to rule us by terror?"

Priority

"The broadest possible united front of all anti-Nationalist forces is an inescapable priority - NOW!

"Tomorrow may be too late!" he declared.

[Chief Lutuli named the people he would like on such a united front. Amongst others he said he would like to see, the following on such a joint committee: Ex-Chief Justices, Hon. Mr. Centlivers and the Hon. Mr. Fagan, Sir De Villiers Graaff and Dr. Steytler, Dr. Paton of the Liberal Party and Rev. Mahabane of IDAMF, Dr. G. M. Naicker, President of the S.A.I.C. and Mr. P. R. Pather, President of the S.A.I.O., Paramount Chief Sabata and Dr. van der Ross of the Coloured Convention Movement, Archbishop Dennis Hurley and Archbishop Jooste de Blanc, Mr. Basson, Mr. Leon Levy, President of SACTU and Mr. L. C. Scheepers, President of the T.U.C., Canon Zulu and J. N. Singh, banned Vice President of the South African Indian Congress.]

ES Reddy