Stop the fraticide

September 21, 1990|By Newsday

APARTHEID will be the victor in South Africa if the factional fighting between blacks that has left 800 dead in six weeks doesn't end.

Those who are best able to help stop the violence -- President Frederik W. De Klerk, African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela and Mangosuthu Buthelezi, chief of the Zulu people and head of its political arm, Inkatha -- must do so quickly.

In the black fratricide between the warring Zulus and Xhosas, who are aligned with the ANC, there is evidence that security forces of the de Klerk-led government have, at the very least, been guilty of complicity -- siding with the conservative Inkatha group against the ANC. De Klerk must give better assurances that his security forces aren't instigating the fighting between blacks.

Meanwhile . . . Mandela is right to dissuade his own followers from violence, even while hundreds are massacred. But a test of Mandela's leadership of blacks, and ultimately of post-apartheid South Africa, is whether he can resolve the conflict with Buthelezi and Inkatha.

He must. South Africa's 28-million black majority, after generations of suffering, had let itself hope that apartheid's era of cruel oppression was about to close. Its hopes must not be tragically dashed

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