South Africa - The principal target

Mr. Tambo explained that the Lusaka communique was issued when the Smith regime was trying to give the impression that the clashes in Rhodesia were with ANC guerrillas only, not with the Rhodesian Africans. Quoting from the African National Congress-Zimbabwe African People`s Union joint communique that as "comrades-in-arms, we are facing a common enemy, fighting for a common purpose, facing a common fate, hence a combined force for a common onslaught against the enemy at every point of encounter as we march down for the liberation of our respective countries," he went on to explain:

"The communique indicated that some of the guerrillas were making for South Africa, the rest were aimed at Rhodesia itself. This, of course, was announcing not the formation, but the existence of a military alliance.

"Military alliance is a big word. But it is not as if we sat down and signed a great big document with clauses and terms. We have had close political relations with ZAPU, and these developed into relations at the military level until we were in a position to fight together.

"This close alliance is the first of its kind one can recall in the liberation movement. In no previous instance has there actually been fighting by freedom fighters drawn from different territories.

"In the case of South Africa this is important, because the South African and Rhodesian racist regimes have been working very closely, with an undeclared alliance. There were South African forces in Rhodesia. UDI Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the white minority regime has depended considerably on the support in various fields that it has received from the South African Government.

"In fact the fate of the people of Zimbabwe depends on that of the oppressed people of South Africa, and vice versa.

"Our alliance has been acclaimed by the Organisation of African Unity. The level at which we started is an indication of the skill on which we propose to tackle the racist and fascist regimes in our countries. The fighting in Wankie and Matabeleland demonstrated the determination of the people. The fighting is bound to increase and spread, not only in Rhodesia but in South Africa itself.

"South Africa is a principal target of all people who hate racism.

"The endurance of Smith and his ability to resist pressures is due to the South African Government`s support. Therefore the target of our efforts is principally South Africa itself. And South Africa is aware of this. But I don`t think they can really do anything about it. The time has come for racism and fascism and colonialism in our area to be overthrown, and this is the beginning of the end."

To the question as to what sort of reception the guerrillas had from the people, Mr. Tambo replied:

"Those who were able after the fighting to disperse to various areas, particularly rural areas and in some cases urban areas, were well-received by the masses. There were people who were willing to shelter them. Some of these people were prosecuted for sheltering guerrillas, assisting them. The fact that the fighting is still going on and that it was able to go on for so long, means that the guerrillas have had assistance from the masses, that in fact the masses are participating - that people have joined the guerrillas.

"In South Africa, the masses have been aroused. They look forward to the time when there is going to be an armed struggle on a rising scale in South Africa.

"Our struggle is more than a struggle for the liquidation of racial while supremacy. It is also a struggle against powerful economic interests from outside, imperialist interests in our country.

"At some stage, we are going to be confronted with more than the South African and Rhodesian racists. We anticipate this. One can see that already from the soft attitude of Britain towards the apartheid regime in South Africa.

"There are also American interests involved in South Africa and South West Africa.

"As our struggle develops, and as the economic structure and the power structure get threatened by the activities of the guerrillas and the masses, as the hour approaches when power seems likely to fall into the hands of the people, we expect then to see intervention by external forces."

Mr. Tambo also stressed that there was tremendous scope for pressure by British people on the British Government about its Rhodesian and South African policy.

"...Britain`s relations with South Africa enable Vorster to get away with everything: with apartheid, with reactionary laws, repressive laws, with defying the world.

"Even with sending troops into the British colony of Rhodesia and declaring that he would keep them there so long as he considered that there was a need for them to be there.

"The British people have a great deal that they can do to support the liberation movement by controlling their Government. We are fighting racism, we are fighting for acknowledged rights, against an admitted injustice as guerrillas and freedom fighters.

"British organisations - political organisations, trade unions and others - ought to support us directly, as for instance we get direct support from various organisations in the Socialist countries. Of course we do get support for limited humanitarian causes, which are important, but we need more than that."

ES Reddy