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S. Africa's Ruling Party Proposal Calls for Reform

June 29, 1989|From The Washington Post

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — The governing National Party released Wednesday night a five-year plan for political reform in which it promised South Africa's 23 million blacks "democratic participation" in national government without voting rights.

The plan, in large part a compendium of reform promises made in speeches and press interviews by Education Minister Frederik W. de Klerk since he was elected party leader in February, is, in effect, a campaign manifesto for the Nationalists for the Sept. 6 parliamentary election, which is certain to elevate De Klerk to the presidency.

It commits the government to the formation of a constitutional convention in which the black majority will be represented, but reassures the white minority that no group will be permitted to dominate either the drafting of a new political system or the governing of South Africa.

The plan, which is to be formally adopted by the party's highest policy-making body, the Federal Congress, at a meeting today in Pretoria, describes its objective as creation of "a new South Africa in which every South African can live in safety, prosperity and dignity, as an individual and within a group."

The party's emphasis is on the protection of the rights of groups to safeguard their interests and govern their own affairs.

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