Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

S. Africa Bars 2 Blacks From Politics, Drops CBS Expulsions

March 12, 1986|MICHAEL PARKS | Times Staff Writer

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — In a new effort to silence the anti-apartheid opposition, the government Tuesday banned two of South Africa's most prominent black community leaders from all political activities for the next five years.

The two are the Rev. Henry Fazzie, vice president of the United Democratic Front in eastern Cape province, and Mkhuseli Jack, president of the Port Elizabeth Youth Congress.

The action brought immediate protests not only from blacks but also from members of Parliament, businessmen and local officials who said they fear that the move could lead to violent protests in the troubled region.

"Both of these people have the status of national figures and represent genuine leadership among the majority section of our community," Andrew Savage, a Port Elizabeth member of Parliament from the liberal white opposition Progressive Federal Party, said in Cape Town. "An action like this banning can only be regarded as provocative in the extreme."

CBS Expulsion Reversed

In other surprise decisions, the government withdrew orders expelling three CBS television newsmen and agreed to allow the Rev. Allan Boesak, one of the regime's sharpest critics, to attend the funeral in Stockholm of Olof Palme, the assassinated Swedish prime minister, on Saturday.

Two schoolboys, one 14 and the other 15, were shot and killed by police Tuesday as the racial unrest spread to White River, a small town 230 miles east of Johannesburg in eastern Transvaal province. Police said they opened fire with shotguns after tear gas failed to disperse more than 2,000 black youths surrounding a magistrate's court in the black township of Kabokweni, where eight classmates were being arraigned on charges of public violence. Eighty people in the crowd were injured.

"The scene was like a battlefield," a local minister said later, asking not to be quoted by name because a formal complaint is to be filed against the police. "The ground was covered with bodies, scores of bodies. We were trying to give first aid, but everywhere we turned there were more casualties. The police kept on firing and firing, and the boys and girls kept falling. . . .

"Until the police fired, there was no disorder, just many hundreds of schoolchildren."

White Woman Named

Serious unrest was also reported outside Pretoria, in Soweto and other black townships east and west of Johannesburg, outside Cape Town and around the industrial center of Port Elizabeth.

Police headquarters in Pretoria disclosed the identity of a white woman, Marion Sparg, 27, a former journalist who was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of planting bombs at three police stations. Police said that her sister, Debbie Sparg, has also been arrested under security laws that permit indefinite detention without charge or trial.

A police spokesman said Tuesday that the police are holding 194 people, most of them for interrogation, under the security laws. They were not released when President Pieter W. Botha lifted the state of emergency last Friday.

The orders restricting the two Port Elizabeth anti-apartheid activists, Fazzie and Jack, surprised political and business leaders, for the two have won wide respect from whites and emerged as key participants in negotiations with the white community.

"We are shocked and dismayed by this banning," Tony Gilson, director of the Port Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce, said. "A carefully cultivated climate of negotiation is now in extreme jeopardy. . . .

"We have been involved in negotiations with Mr. Jack and Mr. Fazzie and the communities they represent. The consultations, we believe, were aimed at finding a solution to the problems facing the eastern Cape and South Africa."

The United Democratic Front, a multiracial coalition of 650 anti-apartheid groups with 2 million members, described the two banning orders and similar action against another front official in November as part of a government effort to destroy the organization and its affiliates.

Strong Warnings

The government action brought strong warnings from others as well that whatever stability the seven-month state of emergency brought to eastern Cape province is now at risk and that there is danger of even greater strife there.

"Such actions can only serve to fuel the already volatile passions of the people in the troubled eastern Cape and further postpone the possibility of peace in South Africa," the country's Roman Catholic bishops declared. "This is no time to choke the angry voices of the victims of apartheid. Their voices must be heard and must be heard now."

Louis le Grange, the minister of law and order, gave no reasons for his action, which is almost unchallengeable under the security laws, except that he regards Fazzie and Jack as "threats to the maintenance of law and order." Last year, the two led a successful four-month black consumer boycott of white merchants in Port Elizabeth.

The decision to permit the three CBS newsmen to stay came after intensive negotiations at four meetings Monday and Tuesday between the government and network officials, and after a pledge by CBS to obey South African laws in obtaining news film here.

CBS told the government that it had not intended to flout South African law by airing film that was shot--apparently by a free-lance cameraman, in violation of a police ban and a court order--at a mass funeral last week for 17 black victims of unrest. CBS said that in the future, it will try to "ensure that material obtained and used from whatever source is not tainted with illegality."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|