An end in sight

February 05, 1991

It is a time of change and hope for South Africa. Last week's peace-seeking meeting between rival black leaders Nelson Mandela of the African National Congress and Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi was followed by President F.W. de Klerk's dramatic call for the repeal of all major laws enforcing apartheid, the country's system of rigid racial discrimination.

In opening a new session of Parliament De Klerk announced that the government wants to end the country's system of segregated residential areas and regulations limiting land ownership by race. It will also abandon the country's practice of registering all South Africans by racial group. Without such a registry, apartheid simply cannot be enforced.

These momentous changes will -- and should -- bring the issue of sanctions back to the forefront in American politics. As Nelson Mandela warns, major obstacles still remain before blacks can be assured of full political rights, and it may be too soon to remove sanctions. But, however belatedly, De Klerk is attempting to put the country on a path toward some measure of justice, and the time is coming soon when the removal of some or all sanctions will be a useful way to encourage progress in South Africa.

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