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'Witch Hunt' Launched Against Whites in ANC Talks, Tutu Says

July 10, 1987|From Reuters

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Archbishop Desmond Tutu accused the South African government Thursday of launching a witch hunt against white liberals holding talks with nationalist leaders of the African National Congress.

Tutu told reporters that the initiative by 50 Dutch-descended Afrikaners "should be welcomed by all South Africans who want the establishment of justice and the peace which will be the fruit of justice."

The group, led by former opposition leader Frederick van Zyl Slabbert, opened three days of talks with the ANC in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, on Thursday.

Tutu said the only way violence in South Africa can be ended is for the government to follow their example.

"Instead, the government and its supporters launch a McCarthy-type campaign against people who appear to be committed to dialogue," Tutu said, referring to the anti-Communist drive led by U.S. Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy in the 1950s.

"That is the sort of action which leads people to the conclusion that violence is the only way to bring about change," the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town said.

The white-led government says it wants to negotiate with black leaders but refuses to talk to the exiled ANC until it renounces violence in its campaign for majority rule.

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