The result of the General Election has brought about no real change. If anything, it has given the Nationalist Party a much firmer mandate to press ahead with its apartheid, Bantustan policy.
The result was not unexpected. White South Africa has once again rejected the hand of friendship that has been extended to it by the Non-White peoples. Once again it has withdrawn itself into the laager of white baaskap.
Even the limited programme of integration proposed by the Progressive Party has been rejected, except by a very small minority of the electorate.
Yet, thinking South Africans should realise that a blank cheque of another five years to the Nationalists means five years of strife and bitterness between the various racial groups that make up our South African population: five years of living on the brink of States of Emergencies; five years of increasing economic difficulties for both the working man and the businessman; five years of further attacks against South Africa by the democracy-loving peoples of the world.
What is more it means five years of pistol clubs for the White womenfolk and added expenditure from an already strained budget to arm almost the entire White race in South Africa.
Now that the Government has been given a further mandate to pursue its ideological programme of so-called separate development for the Non-White peoples through the establishment of Bantu Authorities, Urban Bantu Councils, Coloured Advisory Boards and Indian Affairs Departments it is inconceivable that the Non-Whites who have repeatedly stated that compartmentalisation is detrimental to their interests and, in the long run, detrimental also to the interests of South Africa as a whole, will passively allow the Government to pursue this policy, which is the very antithesis of democratic form of government.
These schemes are being offered by the Government as an alternative to full democratic rights and will never be acceptable to the people, who will reject anything less than full franchise on a common roll for all in South Africa.
South Africa cannot live in a vacuum - it cannot live in isolation from the rest of the world. In recent years we have seen the growth of a number of countries that have been granted independence, not far from our own borders. The effect of such independence must have a marked effect on the voteless majority in our own country.
This, taken together with the attitude of abhorrence to apartheid expressed clearly and unequivocally by the majority of the free nations of the world at the United Nations, must undoubtedly give rise to an increase in the political consciousness of the oppressed masses of South Africa.
In the coming period it can be expected that the Nationalists will show an arrogance and intransigence beyond anything the country has experienced in the past - and that, in the light of thirteen years of Nationalist mis-rule, is saying something. If they have paid little attention to the Parliamentary opposition in the past they will ignore them completely in the future.
For progressive South Africans - White and Non-White - there can only be one course of action. Where the official Parliamentary opposition as represented by the United Party continues on the road of dishonourable compromise, we must reaffirm our principles.
We cannot and must not look to Parliament for any redress for the many economic and political problems that beset us.
All truly anti-Nationalist Parties - and here I want to include the Progressives, but not the United Party - must make common cause with the extra-Parliamentary force as represented by the Non-Whites in the country, on a limited programme viz., that of defeating the Nationalists.
Let me re-state the fundamentals on which such a broad united front could be built:
- A National Convention to draw up a new Constitution for South Africa must be called by such a United Front with or with out the participation of the Government.
- The United Front must be based on firm and unequivocal opposition to apartheid. Bantu Councils, Bantu Authorities, Coloured and Indian Affairs Departments must me opposed.
- In order to avert an economic crisis in South Africa, job reservation, sweat shops in the reserves, colour bar in industry and the restriction on skilled jobs for Non-Whites must be opposed. As an immediate step a national minimum wage of £1-a-day must be demanded.
- Pass laws and influx control, the cornerstones of economic and political apartheid, must be fought on every front.
This short-term, four-point programme could rally the entire Non-White population and could, I am confident, win significant support from the White population as well. I use this opportunity to call on all organisations, Black and White, African and European, Indian and Coloured, who subscribe to this programme to work unceasingly for the establishment of a United Front as suggested.
Time for Action
The struggle ahead is dark and difficult but this is not the time to bemoan the fact; this is not the time to turn away from the hard road of struggle.
On the contrary, this is the time to stand firm and face the oppressor with a united and unquenchable determination to be free from apartheid slavery.
The people`s cause is just; White baaskap must be replaced with interracial co-operation. This is the century of the common man. All over the world the oppressed peoples are freeing themselves from the shackles of imperialism and exploitation. More and more African states are reaching out for independence. Many are already free.
It is Verwoerd and not the common man in South Africa who is out of step with this mighty world trend.
No minority tyranny in history ever survived the opposition of the majority. Nor will it survive in South Africa. The victory which the votes have given Verwoerd bears testimony to their fear that the end of White Supremacy is very near.
Let us take heart, therefore, in the knowledge that the Non-White peoples are not alone. There is a growing number among South Africa`s White population that realise that the Non-White cannot forever remain "the hewer of wood and the drawer of water." All over the world the common man and even governments are rallying to our cause.
Let us go forward with hope and courage and fight the Nats on every front.
FORWARD TO A NATIONAL CONVENTION!
FORWARD TO A FREE AND DEMOCRATIC SOUTH AFRICA!