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S. Africa Disputes Vatican Study on Apartheid

February 12, 1989|From Associated Press

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — The government said Saturday that a Vatican report condemning apartheid misrepresents South Africa's racial policies.

The Foreign Affairs Department, in a statement, said it had not received a copy of the 45-page Vatican document released earlier in the day.

"On the basis of what is known to us, (the document) misrepresents South African government policy, clearly restated by the newly elected leader of the governing party in his first parliamentary statement," the statement said, referring to Education Minister F. W. de Klerk, recently elected to replace ailing President Pieter W. Botha as leader of the National Party.

In a speech Wednesday, De Klerk called for an end to white-minority domination and racial prejudice, although he reaffirmed the government's commitment to segregation and made no mention of establishing black voting rights.

The Vatican document called apartheid "institutionalized racism . . . justified by an ideology of the superiority of persons from European stock over those of African or Indian origin."

Meanwhile, the government banned all protest meetings intended to show solidarity with an estimated 300 black detainees waging a hunger strike to protest being held without charge. The order by Gen. Hendrik de Witt, commissioner of police, specifically banned a meeting in Johannesburg by lawyers from three anti-apartheid groups--the National Assn. of Democratic Lawyers, Lawyers for Human Rights and the Black Lawyers Assn.

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