Rivals threaten S. African power-sharing pact Minor parties say ANC-government deal excludes them

February 14, 1993|By Jerelyn Eddings | Jerelyn Eddings,Johannesburg Bureau

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- A tentative power-sharing agreement between the South African government and the African National Congress sparked threats of defiance and bloodshed from smaller political parties yesterday.

The mostly Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party, the all-white Conservative Party and leftist black organizations all attacked the agreement, which is expected to be endorsed this week by President F. W. de Klerk's Cabinet and the ANC's executive committee.

If ratified by the two major parties, the pact would put South Africa on a clear and fast track toward a new constitution and post-apartheid government. But it also seems destined to put the two major players on a collision course with other parties that could jeopardize the future peace and stability of the country.

"Quite clearly, this is a recipe for civil war," said Inkatha President Mangosuthu Buthelezi, whose party is the ANC's main black rival.

He said it was "simply out of the question" that his party or the black homeland government that he heads would go along with an agreement between the government and ANC that puts his followers at a disadvantage.

"If the ANC and government are serious in proceeding along the lines described, they will have to factor into their plans the need to use the South African Defense Force and the private army of the ANC . . . to achieve compliance."

Conservative Party spokesman Tom Langley said the pact "can only exacerbate the state of turmoil which already exists in the country" and he accused the government and ANC of entering an alliance "to the exclusion of all other parties."

Both the Pan Africanist Congress and the Azanian People's Organization, left-wing black groups, rejected the agreement.

PAC President Clarence Makhwetu said it was a scheme that would extend the white government's life and delay "national liberation" until the next century.

Under the agreement, announced by government and ANC negotiators Friday, the government made significant concessions on its constitutional demands in exchange for an ANC offer to share power with Mr. de Klerk's National Party in a government of national unity.

Details are still sketchy. The government said the ANC had agreed to a five-year government of national unity, but ANC negotiators said they would prefer a shorter period.

Fanus Schoeman, deputy minister of constitutional development, said the government had dropped a number of its demands for a new constitution and agreed that the decisions should be made by an elected constitution-making body.

ANC negotiator Mohammad Valli Moosa said the government also agreed that the constitution-making body should approve all of its decisions by a two-thirds majority.

Multiparty talks on the constitution broke down nine months ago over the government's insistence that some sensitive issues should require a 75 percent majority for approval, which would give whites virtual veto power in those areas. The ANC walked out of the talks, and it has taken months of fitful negotiations to reach the point at which full multiparty talks could begin again -- unless Inkatha and other groups walk out this time.

Mr. Buthelezi is anxious to get an agreement that would guarantee him a region under his control instead of under the control of a strong central government, which presumably would be run by the ANC. Under the new pact between the government and ANC, the fate of his region would depend on the constitution-making body which would draw up regional boundaries.

Opinion polls indicate the ANC would get 60 percent to 70 percent of the black vote in a democratic election, and blacks make up the majority of the South African population.

The de Klerk government has also been concerned about how whites would fare under an ANC-dominated government, and it initially proposed a permanent power-sharing arrangement to guarantee whites veto power and positions in the post-apartheid government.

The new agreement, if the five-year timetable is accepted, would give them a role in government at least until near the end of the century.

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