During the 1980's P. W. Botha, the President of South Africa and leader of the National Party, launched his "Total Strategy" in response to what he saw as the "Total Onslaught" of communism within the country and from neighbouring states. An embattled Botha toured Europe in 1983 promising reforms in the face of severe pressure within the country and internationally. The actual result was severe economic destabilisation of neighbours by South Africa.
As part of this strategy he held talks with Samora Machel, the leader of the Mozambican government and Frente de Libertacao de Mozambique (FRELIMO). In turn, this led to the Nkomati Accord, signed on 16 March 1984. In this agreement both countries resolved not to harbour hostile forces or allow their countries to be used as launching pads for attacks on one another. Mozambique agreed to expel the African National Congress (ANC) from their country while South Africa agreed to cease its support of RENAMO, an anti-government guerrilla organisation in Mozambique.
This was thought to be the start of peaceful co-existence, but the Accord failed, especially from Mozambique's perspective. South Africa managed to obtain the removal of the ANC presence in Mozambique, but RENAMO activities increased as South Africa continued to clandestinely support the organisation. The country had been forced into the agreement as a result of economic dependence on South Africa. Once it became clear South Africa was not keeping its end of the agreement, the Accord collapsed.
On 26 May 1988 the two countries agreed to revive the Nkomati Accord.
Saunders, C. (ed)(1989). Reader's Digest Illustrated History of South Africa-The Real Story, Cape Town: Reader's Digest. Cameron, T. (ed)(1986). An Illustrated History of South Africa, Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball.
Click here to find out more about RENAMO.
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