Sacrificing His Core Supporters in a Race Against Defeat
In South Africa today there exist pressures for change, superficial and potentially far-reaching, complementary and contradictory, deriving from a variety of sources: economic, political, Black, White, foreign and domestic. The dynamics of the situation suggest an image of a series of cogs whose varying and opposing motions and alternate meshing and disengagement produce erratic and undirected movement.
The task of assessing the significance and direction of change is an awkward one. Intensifying and broadening international activity, evolving internal patterns and raised Black expectations provide a shifting background. Further, radically differing perceptions and evaluations of the meaning and pace of change are bound to make both analysis and communication difficult. Nonetheless, trends of some seeming significance for the contemporary development of South African institutions are taking place in three principal areas: increasing criticism and protest by the Black leadership of the Bantustans or native reserves; activity among urban Blacks, particularly in the Black labor movement; and wide-ranging efforts by outside groups, organizations and businesses to influence South African racial policy.
Physically, things have not improved a great deal in the Bantustans since their creation, but the attitudes of their spokesmen are sharpening. Mr. Cedric Phatudi, the recently elected Chief Minister of the Lebowa Bantustan, had held office for only one day when he informed the South African government that if it really expected the Black man to take the Bantustan policy seriously, substantial tracts of territory-including a number of prosperous, small, White towns-would need to be added to the area promised to his people. If the government refused, he warned, the whole policy might as well be scrapped. Mr. Phatudi is new to the national political arena, and his name, like the names of Professor Hudson Ntswanisi of Gazankulu and Mr. Lennox Sebe of the Ciskei, would be known to few overseas observers. Yet these three men have now added their voices to those of the three more prominent "homeland" leaders-Chiefs Buthelezi, Matanzima and Mangope-to enhance the impact of their combined demands. Collectively and individually the role of these leaders deserves close scrutiny.1
A typical profile of any one of them might read as follows: Although born to a position of limited traditional authority, he nevertheless experiences some uncertainty upon appointment as Chief Minister/Councillor (a post theoretically akin to that of the prime minister of an entity intended to be considered a state). His stature rises as he comes to feel more at home in his position, and as he receives recognition beyond the circle of White government officials who surround him. The national press reports his speeches and the English-language papers emphasize any statement critical of the government. (In a country not overendowed with newsmakers, newspapers have to create them.) Next comes a form of recognition by Western governments-particularly the United States, the United Kingdom and also West Germany-who invite him on official visits. These governments see this as a method of influencing South African domestic politics by broadening the experience of these leaders and accelerating their growth in stature. In traditional international-law terms this amounts to a form of premature recognition, which could be seen as interference in the domestic affairs of the country. As with so many factors relating to the role of these leaders, this intrusion has a dual implication: on the one hand, the South African government is pleased to note a degree of acceptance for its policies; on the other, it is suspicious of the motives behind the invitations, as well as the impact of the visits on the leaders.
As his prominence grows, the leader grasps the fact that his public acceptance of separate development has given him a political platform to propagate many of his views with little chance of reprisal; and further, that the government's determination to prove its policy a success gives him some political leverage-albeit limited. He soon absorbs the economic, political, territorial and demographic facts of life of his "homeland": that the territory over which he is intended to rule is fragmented and scattered, hopelessly incapable of providing employment or even food for its growing population, almost devoid of industries, infrastructure and mineral resources, and with little hope of achieving anything approaching economic viability.2 Further, because government policy requires that he take responsibility for those of his ethnic group living outside the Bantustan (a responsibility not recognized by the urban Black), and because some of his colleagues on the "homeland's" tribal council are elected from urban constituencies, he feels it his obligation to speak on behalf of the urban Black. Increasingly he comes to criticize the low wages paid to his people, influx control measures, living conditions, discrimination, etc.
This is a generalized scenario since these leaders differ in background, personality, purpose and style; and their "homelands" also vary considerably. Chief Gatsha Buthelezi of KwaZulu, a university-educated man, has from the outset declared his opposition to apartheid. Nevertheless he has determined to make use of its institutions to gain whatever advantages he can for his people as well as to demonstrate the emptiness of the policy.3 As the primary and most publicized critic of the government, he has acted as the pace-setter for the other leaders. His influence is often out of phase with government policy: in attacking too frequently and too vigorously he has broken the rules of Pretoria's game. His impact results rather from coverage by the opposition press, from his spreading popularity among Blacks, and from the credence given him overseas. The complexity of his role was highlighted in February of this year, when the South Africa Foundation's American Director stated that at no time has South Africa's position been as healthy; and for this he gave major credit to Buthelezi, saying that the Chief's articulate defense of peaceful change in South Africa had been most influential in sabotaging the efforts of extreme anti-apartheid groups in the United States.4
Chief Kaiser Matanzima of the Transkei, also a university graduate, had until recently been overtly a consistent supporter of separate development. In the last couple of years, however, as his hopes for more land and economic assistance have been frustrated, he has steadily developed into a vociferous critic of the government. He has a certain amount of leverage because the Transkei is the longest established of the Bantustans and has the best chance of taking on the appearance of a country-therefore Pretoria had hoped to use it as a model. Matanzima has insisted that he will not ask for independence until his land demands are satisfied. As these demands have grown more strident, he has slipped out of government favor to the extent that his criticisms no longer engage the slow-moving cogs of the White establishment.
At the moment, the Black leader who is most effective in dealing with the government is Bophuthatswana's Chief Lucas Mangope. But this is temporary. Although his style is low-key, and he is astute enough to appreciate the advantages of having the government's ear, his demands for large slices of territory in order to make geographical sense of his "homeland" grow steadily more determined.
Professor Hudson Ntsanwisi of Gazankulu-the only appointee who was not a traditional leader-took leave from his university to test the feasibility of separate development. Already he has contributed to the growing body of disapprobation by describing some land offered him recently as nothing but a staging ground for migratory laborers, a dumping ground for the dispossessed and a future breeding ground for guerrillas.
Mr. Phatudi, Chief Minister of Lebowa, and Mr. Sebe, Chief Minister of the Ciskei-both commoners-this year became the first leaders to triumph in legislatures loaded in favor of the chieftainship, and thus oust government-appointed chiefs. Mr. Phatudi's views have been noted above. Mr. Sebe has expressed similar sentiments. This leaves only two leaders, Chief Wessels Mota of Basotho Qwa-Qwa and Chief Patrick Mphephu of Venda, whose loyalty and subservience to Pretoria have not as yet wavered.
Chief Matanzima has described the coming year as crucial. The setting of deadlines is dangerous; nevertheless it is clear that South Africa's ruling National Party is being driven into a corner. Either it will have to concede on a few land demands, which will necessitate some fast talking to its supporters and establish a hazardous precedent, or it will clamp down on these leaders. The latter course could be accomplished without much difficulty, but it would bring down the final curtain on the fantasy of separate development.
So much attention is concentrated on the Bantustans and the utterances of their leaders that developments among the urban Blacks have tended to be overlooked. For all the suffering caused by apartheid, history's chief indictment of the policy may yet be that it actually succeeded in distracting attention from the conditions of the African living outside the Bantustans until it was too late. National Party orthodoxy regards Blacks living outside the "homelands" as temporary workers who will one day return, and who are therefore to be given no political or civil rights where they live. This is blatantly unrealistic. Not only have the vast majority of these people no intention of returning; and not only are their "homelands" incapable of supporting them; but in addition, the South African economy desperately needs them to remain where they are.
Their indispensability is attested to by the fact that Black workers outnumber White workers by four to one, and if the national economy is to expand at anything like the government's intended rate, then the role of the Black worker must also grow, quantitatively as well as qualitatively. The latest figures of the South African Department of Statistics illustrate this dependence: the three most vital sectors of the economy-mining, manufacturing and construction-employ 398,000 White workers and 1,847,000 Black workers. The total monthly earnings of these White workers was 203 million rand, while the five-times greater number of Blacks earned a total of 145.5 million rand.
These figures represent nothing new. What is new is that the Blacks, now more aware of the juxtaposition of their economic deprivation with their economic power, appear to have reached the conclusion that a docile acceptance of their lot is not the only alternative open to them. Beyond the borders of the country, they have found encouragement in the African reaction to the Peace Commission in Rhodesia, in the Ovambo strikes in South West Africa/ Namibia, and also in the African response to the visits of Dr. Kurt Waldheim and Dr. Albert Escher to that territory. Internally, wages and productivity have been developing into two key issues-covered by conferences, study groups and the press. This trend has to some extent been initiated, and to some extent bolstered, by the growing attention being focused on overseas firms' treatment of their Black employees.
The two concepts of a poverty datum line and the less stringent minimum effective line on which the basic living expenses of a Black man and his family are calculated, have provided a useful yardstick for evaluating salaries; and their application has revealed grounds for a serious indictment of employers. This has not come as a surprise. Rather it has served to reaffirm the condition of exploitation of Black labor in a specific and less easily dismissed manner. Finally, the increasingly tense labor relations have been exacerbated by the effects of inflation on the price of staple foods.
And so it was that the Zulus of Natal came out in a series of wildcat strikes. Between January 1 and March 31 of this year, there were 160 strikes, affecting 146 industries and involving 61,410 workers. In this brief period, South Africa and the world were dramatically reminded of the meager wages and poor employment conditions of these workers. The government was shown that it could not permanently prevent labor unrest simply by outlawing strikes. The urgent need for some form of effective bargaining and communication channels for Black workers was demonstrated. Varying increases in salary were won-although in general these are not expected to satisfy the workers for long. The strikers even elicited from the Prime Minister a call to employers to recognize that their workers were not just labor units but people with souls.
The need for collective bargaining processes for Blacks has been recognized by the powerful Trade Union Council of South Africa (TUCSA) for the past 20 years. But as the TUCSA general secretary, Arthur Grobbelaar, admits, this has been determined by the need for protection of White workers, rather than by any moral considerations. First, prosperity is indivisible and unless Black wages and living standards are drastically improved, the domestic market will remain small, industrial growth will be limited and all workers will suffer. Second, unorganized Blacks could be exploited as cheap labor at more advanced levels with disastrous consequences for the more highly paid Whites.5 Unions which previously presided over a work force where skilled and semi-skilled workers were not Black have discovered that their influence is waning as increasing numbers of Blacks break through, over and around job barriers which can no longer be sustained. Further, as long as Black workers are not paid the rate for the job, the threat remains that White workers will be undercut. The thrust of these arguments has been acknowledged by some leaders of the more extreme conservative unions, but to date the unions themselves have refused to follow suit.
Although this economic power of the Black man is abundantly clear, his ability to use it effectively and to relate it to political action is yet to be determined. Even less certain is the future political impact of the urban Black. Yet two things are clear: that this group, which includes most educated, sophisticated, politicized and articulate Blacks, has tremendous political potential; and that it is warily and hesitantly beginning once again to seek a role.6
A noteworthy development has been the spread of Black consciousness, which recognizes the urgent need for Blacks to stop waiting for White political attitudes to alter, and to start organizing their own pressure groups. The South African Students' Organization (SASO) defines a Black man as anyone who is not white and who is discriminated against because of his color. Its manifesto calls on the Black man to build up his own value system and to define himself, not to accept others' definitions of him. SASO respects any contact both with Whites of whatever shade of opinion and with Blacks who operate within the government system. This includes Chief Buthelezi, whom SASO leaders see as the man who has done more than anyone else to make the world accept the Bantustan policy. Their statements are more virulently antigovernment than anything that has been heard in the country for more than a decade; and they have won substantial support on the campuses of all five government-created Black universities.
A somewhat less uncompromising, but more diffuse group is the newly formed Black Peoples' Convention. The BPC aims to build a solid Black nation including Africans, Coloreds and Indians; to promote community self-reliance and freedom from White domination; and to make the Black people aware of the economic and political power they wield. It operates outside the framework of Bantustans, Bantu authorities and Urban Bantu Councils, which it does not recognize.
The role of Black consciousness as a means of attaining power has recently been trenchantly argued by Mr. Bennie Khoapo, currently Director of the Black Community Programmes of the Study Project of Christianity in an Apartheid Society (Spro-cas). This is a world of groups, he states, and power depends on groups. The oppressor has created a situation from which the oppressed can extricate themselves only by regrouping. History has thus charged the Black man with the cruel responsibility of going to the very gate of racism (but not further) in order to destroy racism. Preoccupation with the White man and with the question of integration or separation leads to blunders and confusion in the ranks; it also obscures the issues. The question of the presence or absence of the White man is no more than a tactical matter which can be answered only in a concrete situation by reference to the interests of Blacks. The aim is not to separate or to integrate but to triumph.7
The future effectiveness of the BPC is problematic, for it still needs to shape a movement and assess the possibilities for action. Its ability to carry out the spadework essential to constructing a potent movement, to mobilize and commit a nervous, suspicious (and informer-ridden) community, to fuse the disparate interests of the educated Black elite and the mass of workers, to integrate and articulate their views and to begin applying pressure, are all questions as vital to the country's future as is that of government reaction to the movement. Although such Black groups are the inevitable consequence of apartheid, there is no nexus between them and the authorities, and initial official response holds out scant reason for optimism: a number of SASO and BPC leaders have been banned or arrested.
The voices of the Bantustan leaders and the unrest of the urban Blacks are only two of the variety of domestic pressures at work on the government. But in terms of sheer numbers and variations-though not necessarily effect-these domestic forces seem insignificant next to the mass of overseas interests bent on bringing about change in South Africa.
These interests differ in purpose, method and impact; they are aimed not only directly at the South African government, but indirectly at organizations, governments and commercial concerns which in any way serve to bolster Pretoria's policies. They vary from guerrilla activity in the Caprivi strip to calls for isolation and sanctions in the U.N. General Assembly; attacks by the OAU and individual African countries, including neighboring Botswana and Lesotho; expulsion and threats of expulsion from international agencies and organizations; legal action on South West Africa/Namibia in the International Court of Justice; donations to liberation movements by church bodies and governments; criticism by relatively friendly and important trading partners; arms embargoes by some of these countries; consistent hostility in the leading newspapers of the Western world; activities of the Black caucus in the U.S. Congress; isolation in sport; and increasing pressure on business firms to disinvest in South Africa.
Similarly, the reaction evoked by these individual pressures varies. The government may ignore a particular call or attack or threat; it may strike at the premises of the case; it may point to some weakness in the system of the accuser country or organization; it may give a detailed defense of its policies; or it may take specific action to redress or cover up a grievance, disguising it as a local initiative. In the face of the aggregate of these pressures, however, the trend appears to be toward renewed effort to accelerate the implementation of separate development. Mrs. Merle Lipton, of Chatham House, has pointed out that "possibly the main single pressure toward independence of the Bantustans is the outside world-not because it wants or is even interested in the policy, but because it requires some concessions from South Africa."8 This supports the argument that while the external agitation for change is significant, the direction of change is not necessarily influenced by this pressure. A South African commentator, Dr. Denis Worrall, takes this point further when he writes that "all the pressures notwithstanding, the thrust of change has been in the opposite direction from that demanded by the country's critics. . . . While [the critics] have overwhelmingly supported the common society alternative, official policy has steered change in the other direction."9
The consequences, however, are somewhat more equivocal than this last statement would imply. Proponents of this view would emphasize Pretoria's officially stated declaration of policy or the official terminology for a change (e.g. calling racially mixed athletic events "multinational" rather than "multiracial"), paying less heed to the change itself; they would emphasize the short-term surface reaction rather than possible long-term repercussions. They would exclude, as unimportant, responses to pressures directed in the first instance against nongovernmental bodies, such as commercial and industrial concerns, labor organizations, sports and other bodies which need international communication. And they would overlook a perceptively heightened sensitivity about discrimination against the urban Black.
The growing number of overseas scholars and church and university teams working on the role of foreign intervention in South Africa will no doubt be aware that only in a few cases will there be any connection-and then usually an ill-defined one-between an individual external pressure and resulting policy development.10 In the majority of cases it is essential, in attempting to determine any cause-effect linkage, to see each element not in isolation, but as part of a complex system of more or less unconnected external inputs, which in turn must be related to what is taking place internally.
More specifically, it may have been observed that for a particular foreign pressure or category of foreign pressures to elicit even a minor, positive short-term response, certain conditions must prevail. (This does not concern radical change.)
(1) Most significantly, the external influence must be reinforced by domestic forces working for the same end. The most dramatic example involves the working conditions of Black labor. The domestic buildup has been described above. This in turn meshed with the numerous overseas elements prevailing upon companies with interests in South Africa to disinvest or at least to improve radically the position of their Black employees. The potential of such a combination is suggested by the Natal strikes and by Adam Raphael's reports to The Guardian on the starvation wages paid by British firms in South Africa.11
(2) The specific issue raised must be one which the government itself or a vocal group in the National Party perceives as a defect; or less effectively it must be one which the opposition or the press has turned into a potentially sensitive one. For example, as soon as it was noted outside South Africa that meaningful contact between Mr. Vorster and the Bantustan leaders was almost nonexistent, the Prime Minister moved to rectify this. Any issue (even if it is not seen as a weakness) attached to an economic threat will have to be taken seriously.
(3) The pressure source must be one to which the government feels it an obligation, or an advantage, to respond. Thus when a denunciation originates from a conservative Western government or is voiced through an international body of which South Africa is still a member, Pretoria finds it necessary in the first case, and advantageous in the second, to respond.
(4) The development or alteration in its policy which the government judges would dilute criticism must also be one which it feels it can get away with, for it has to keep an eye on the electorate and on its more reactionary wing. In cases when it feels it may have overstepped the mark, it immediately takes a counter-balancing step which both demonstrates that it has not strayed from the path, and also serves to divert attention. Thus immediately after the Natal strikes which momentarily wrested the initiative from the government, it neutralized its supporters' doubts by banning 16 student leaders.
(5) For a particular foreign influence to impinge on the government requires a background of more extreme pressures linked to more threatening sanctions. A decade of war in the Portuguese-administered territories, increasing guerrilla activity in Rhodesia, sporadic incursions into the Caprivi strip, as well as the ever-present, but effectively suppressed, threat of violence inside South Africa itself, provide such a background to all peaceful inroads. But within the spectrum of nonviolent forays against apartheid the gravity of the threat also varies. Thus while Pretoria does not particularly approve of Washington posting a Black diplomat to South Africa, or of all the talk of communication-for-change, it nevertheless tolerates it in the knowledge that the policies of a Democratic administration might well be far more severe than those of the Nixon administration. Similarly, it would not really enjoy the sight of President Banda running around South Africa trying, in his words, to "kill apartheid with kindness," were it not for the almost solid wall of isolation which it confronts in the rest of Africa. So too all the pressures for improvements of Black working conditions have to be indulged, because the alternative is disinvestment.
Sport does not fit this model. For here effective sanctions have been applied and the cause-effect linkage is clear. Peter Hain and Dennis Brutus and all the other antiapartheid authorities and movements who have worked to exclude South Africa from international sport have done more to promote multiracial sport (however superficial the steps taken may appear) than any local organization could have hoped to achieve. Ironically, their success is in part due to the fact that the isolation has not been comprehensive. It is because the government believed it could find a way back to world sporting acceptance, and because there were those willing to give it a chance to prove itself, that some responses have been teased out.
A mere listing of all the local and foreign elements attempting to exert a progressive influence sounds very much like an acceptance of the evolutionary argument that meaningful and peaceful change is not only inevitable but is in fact under way. The issue is not that clear-cut, however, for the thrust of almost all of these influences is consciously or unconsciously ambivalent: while they may be exerting pressure, they are also simultaneously serving to bolster the government. The dilemma of the Bantustan leader has already been noted, but the same holds true for the White opposition parties and liberal organizations, the English-language press and the English-language universities: while they may certainly play a useful role in identifying, articulating and keeping alive some issues, they also promote the cause of the National Party by participating in the system on its terms, and by strengthening the impression of the importance of democratic processes in the country. Similarly, foreign investment has significantly facilitated the Nationalists' control of the country; yet given a continuous and conscientious application of pressure by outside investors, both within and outside of South Africa, this sector may come to have a more positive function. This is not to say that in each case the positive cancels out the negative or vice versa. Further study is required to determine in which direction a particular influence is having greater effect.
It is not surprising, therefore, that for all the numerous pressures the National Party, after 25 years in power, remains firmly in control and retains an overwhelming majority of seats in Parliament. Even if the many opposing forces were more effective, it is clear that as long as the bulk of Afrikaans-speaking South Africans (who have a clear numerical advantage over English-speaking South Africans) continue to support the National Party, attempts to trace progress in terms of the possibilities of defeat of the National Party by the opposition parties will be in vain. For the ruling party is in power not primarily because of its racial policies, but because it is the party of Afrikaner unity. As long as it remains the party in which the Afrikaner feels most at home, and which he believes is most capable of preserving his identity and protecting his political, cultural and economic interests, so long will he remain loyal to it.
The significant issue in White politics is therefore whether the political perspectives and racial attitudes of the Afrikaners are undergoing a change. All the elements on which a strong and exclusivist national movement are structured are present in Afrikanerdom: common language, religion and history, and an arduous and continuing struggle against external forces and threats, a struggle which has been waged at all levels, military, political, economic and cultural. Today, because of a substantial degree of success-more particularly in terms of the objectives and of the enemies as they were traditionally perceived-and through the modernizing influences of urbanization and secularization, Afrikanerdom has lost some of its coherence. Political and religious leaders and their pronouncements are no longer beyond question, and the traditional and still dominant identity is being diluted somewhat by diverging interests.
Ironically, it is the development of the policy of apartheid itself which is the source of the political manifestations of these divisions. This in turn stems from an essential contradiction in the policy initiated by Dr. Verwoerd. Though the method he enunciated for resolving these problems was as unacceptable to the Black people as it was unrealistic, his propagation of new guidelines amounted to a recognition-in theory-that a policy based on the continuing suppression of the majority of the population could not provide a peaceful and permanent solution to the country's race problems. He launched what he thought would provide a moral defense for his party's policies, giving rise to much talk about separate freedoms and separate development and to an acknowledgement of the Black man's right to self-determination. So blinded were his followers by his stature and by their own prejudice, fear and growing economic ambition that they could not (or would not) see the unacceptability of a national blueprint drawn up without consulting 80 percent of the population. The blueprint, moreover, planned to grant that 80 percent a mere 13 percent of the land, and took little account of economic realities, or of the millions of Blacks who could never live in the Bantustans, the two million people of mixed blood-the Coloreds-and the two-thirds of a million Asian people. These weaknesses and contradictions are being brought home to the Afrikaner most definitely, but not only, by the Bantustan leaders. They have resulted in off-the-cuff, confused adaptations and deviations and have begun to burrow themselves into the mind of the Afrikaner intellectual.
Dirk Richard, the editor of a loyal National Party daily, expressed these doubts earlier this year: "There is something going on in the soul of the Afrikaner, a change, an adaptation, a falling around for new conceptions. And it is happening with a feeling of uncertainty, even a slight undertone of fear about the future of Whites in Africa."12
There certainly are Afrikaners, styled "verligtes," who have realized and expressed the urgent need to forge more enlightened policies. Their number includes academics, journalists and a small number of leading businessmen and practicing politicians; and they are responsible for the relatively lively debate within Afrikanerdom about the major issues confronting the country. For the moment, however, they are outweighed by the forces of conservatism, termed "verkrampte," which are sustained by the majority of Afrikaner voters and by the representatives they elect to Parliament. These forces are fed by a host of fears-the traditional threats of the Black man and the Englishman, and the more recent perils of an antagonistic world and a hostile continent-all of which are periodically emphasized or deëmphasized as the National Party judges advantageous. Further, the more materialistic ethos which is replacing the puritanical rural attitudes does not necessarily undermine apartheid; the businessman may demand a more pragmatic policy adaptable to his needs, but so long as the policy enables him to draw satisfactory profits, he will not oppose its essentials.
Within this process of decoagulation, an informed judgment on the Afrikaner's capacity to adapt, and willingness to share, must be determined by the actions of his leaders. Applying both National Party and more universal standards, specific policy areas may serve as indicators of prevailing trends: the political and civic rights of the urban Blacks and all Blacks living outside the Bantustans; the economic rights (specifically trade union rights) and working conditions (including education and training opportunities) of the Black worker; the whole array of humiliating "petty" racial discriminations; geographical consolidation and economic development of the "homelands;" treatment of the Colored and Asian people; communication and consultation with the leaders of all race groups, not only those working within the official framework; meaningful inter-racial contact at all levels; the proportion of the national budget devoted to the socioeconomic development of all South Africans of color; and finally government conduct in the domain of arbitrary detention and punishment.
In recent months the government has been seen to be making some initial moves. It has allowed the urban Black greater mobility in job-seeking and introduced aid centers to reduce the number of arrests under the pass laws. In an address to Parliament, the Deputy Minister of Bantu Administration and Development, Mr. T. N. H. Janson, acknowledged the permanence of the Black man's presence in the urban areas and his urgent need of a new deal. Secondly, the government introduced the Bantu Labour Regulation Amendment Bill which, under circumscribed conditions, will give the Black laborer the right to strike for the first time in over 30 years. Thirdly, it has established a 19-man commission of inquiry into the future of the Colored people, which includes six Coloreds and a number of "verligte" Afrikaners. These amount to no more than an appearance of progress, and taken no further they will be meaningless; but they do testify to an official admission that orthodox apartheid cannot provide all the answers.
The noted commentator on South Africa, Ruth First, acknowledges that disequilibria in the South African economy will lead to certain adjustments; at the same time she concludes that while apartheid is capable of flexibility, this very flexibility enables it to avoid meaningful change, and does not open the way to it.13 This is the very argument the country's rulers would use to reassure their supporters that apartheid has not come adrift; and it is substantially correct insofar as it does reflect Pretoria's intention to go no faster and no further than it is forced to do. If mere symbolic gestures would placate critics or diffuse pressures, the South African government would certainly do no more. But window-dressing will not succeed, for the government's opponents are fully aware of what goes on behind the counter. Furthermore, adaptations and concessions will raise, not lower, the expectations of the Black man.
There is a tendency for analysts to concentrate on one category of influence and to discount its impact: for Ruth First, apartheid will not crack from purely economic pressures; for others, the Bantustan leaders lack the capacity to induce progress; etc. What is needed is a study of the potential effects of linkages between the sources of pressure-between the vocal Black man on the periphery of the political system and the exploited Black man at the center of the economic system, in association with whatever progressive White forces can be harnessed, and with the numerous international inputs. Taken individually, the National Party can handle them with little trouble. The essential question, however, is whether a combination of forces might have the capability of bending the various processes of urbanization and economic and industrial growth away from the prevalence of racial oppression and in the direction of a just allocation of economic resources and political power.
1 See Christopher R. Hill, "The Future of Separate Development in South Africa," in Southern Africa in Perspective-Essays in Regional Politics, ed. by Christian P. Potholm and Richard Dale, New York: The Free Press, 1972, p. 59; and Merle Lipton, "Independent Bantustans?" International Affairs, January 1972.
2 For a useful discussion of the economic potential of the nine Bantustans, and particularly of the question of economic stagnation, by two economists not unsympathetic to separate development, see J. A. Lombard and P. J. van der Merwe, "Central Problems of the Economic Development of the Bantu Homelands," Finance and Trade Review, Volkskas Limited, Pretoria, June 1972.
3 See Peter Enahoro's interview with Chief Buthelezi, "South Africa: an Inside View," Africa, London and Paris, No. 18, February 1973.
4 Sunday Times, Johannesburg, February 25, 1973.
5 Arthur Grobbelaar, "Race and Labour Relations," in South African Dialogue, ed. by N. J. Rhoodie, Johannesburg; McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1972.
6 For a valuable survey of the attitudes of young Blacks toward Afrikaners and apartheid, see Melville L. Edelstein, What Do Young Africans Think?, Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations, 1972.
7 Bennie A. Khoapo, "The New Black," in Black Viewpoint, ed. by B. S. Biko, Durban, Spro-cas Black Community Programmes, 1972.
8 Lipton, op. cit., p. 16.
10 For a useful, brief review and comparison of three differing views on developments in South Africa see George W. Shepherd, Jr., "Changing South Africa: The New Debate," Africa Today, Denver, Fall 1972, p. 78. The books reviewed are Heribert Adam, Modernizing Racial Domination: The Dynamics of South African Politics, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971; Ruth First, Jonathan Steele, Christabel Gurney, The South African Connection: Western Investments in Apartheid, London: Temple Smith, 1972; and Jim Hoagland, South Africa: Civilizations in Conflict, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1972.
11 See The Guardian Weekly (London and Manchester) for the weeks ending 17, 24 and 31 March, for Raphael's articles and the widespread response to them.
12 Die Vaderland, Johannesburg, February 19, 1973.