South Africa: The Dynamics of Black Politics
South Africa: The Dynamics of Black Politics H
Informal/on available oi1 vol uied in this repot.
the South African Government's recent success in muting antjgov-crnment violence and protest, black political activity, in our judgment, has changed fundamentally during the past twoalf years of unrest. South African blacks arc dramatically more politicized, increasingly organized. and tactically more sophisticated. Some of these changes were already under way before tbe outbreak of ihc current unrest, while others are more directly the result of the continuing turmoil in the black communities. We believe thai these still evolving trends in black politics areermanent part of the South African scene, rendering as unlikely black acceptance of the government's limited reform plan* and laying the groundwork for new and more destructive outbreaks of
the next year, the momentum of black political organizations will, in all likelihood, continue to be checked by Pretoria. Government counter-measures that prohibit gatherings, detain thousands of black leaders, and divert the energy of most others by forcing them to concentrate on avoiding police actions arc likely to result in less visible turmoil than was evident during theonths preceding the impositionationwide state of emergency innherent inter/generational, ideological, and ethnic conflicts will also continue to weaken ihe cohesivencss of black political movcrncntslJ^^B
The government, however, has railed lo slow the pace of black politiciza-tion and has not derailed grassroots organizing by antiapartheidyriad of youth, civic, church, and special anion groups havein townships and. despite government elTorls to crush them, still survive in many, if not most, communities. South African security methods have also been ineffective in dealing with the more sophisticated tactics used by the black opposition, such as the use of economic leverage andtoin some cases-government-backedin ihc townships.
In our view. South Africatate of endemic violence over the next several years that will be fueled bylack labor force far outpacing the job-creation potentiallow-growth economy, white intransigence and partiality for force, and black anger and frustration. Although (he intensity of this violence will fluctuate, and the pattern will alternate between inirablack political fighting, mass security force actions in the townships, and occasional black attacks against whites, we believe blacks and whites both will be increasingly affected. Ominous demographic trends indicate that the young black population will continue to grow faster than employment opportunities, and thus be supportive of radical political causes. Many will join armed township militants some associated with ifi
ihe exile-based African National Congressarc likely lo increase attacks on civilian targets, resulting in more white casualties.
Pretoria will reactlackparticularly to attacks on whitesby employing ils security apparatus to whatever extent necessary to contain tbe violence. Although wc believe that the government it willing to use extreme measures, such as massive detention camp* or widespread lethal force, Pretoria probably will not resort to such means unless white casualties increaseevelopment ihat we believe is possible but not probable during the next three to four years.
Wc believe that black antigovernment attitudes will harden and the moderate base will shrink fartheresult of theprobablycrackdown. The growing poUticization of blacks, therefore, is almost certainly irreversible, in our view. More blacks will enter the fray in reaction to their living conditions, apartheid strictures, and pressure from township militants J
esult, weengthy but bloody stalemate between blacks and whites that will keep South Africa in the international spotlight. South African blacks will continue to believe that the United States is capable of helping blacks and of coercing Ihe while government lo share power.incd Stales can expecte rebuffed by some blacks who have an unrealistic assessment of the West's ability to influence Pretoria and who are swayed by polilical and material Soviet support to the ANC. Despite probable black frustration with US inability to fulfill their expectations, however, we believe most black leaders will want to maintain contacts with
Growing racial turmoil in South Africa will continue to offer the Soviel Union opportunities to discredit the West, both with South African blacks and international audiences. Mciscow, in our view,engthy process of change. The Soviets probably calculate (hat the ANC will be the principal vehicle for change in South Africa and view ihe banned South African Communist Party as an important means of influence within the ANC. along with ANC dependence on Soviet military support. In ihe long term, ihc Soviets clearly favor the rise to powerro-Soviet black government, but, for the present, appear primarily concerned withpolitically, especially with Third World countries, the dilemma that the Soulh African problem poses for the West in general and the United States in particular:uaatj
Years of Protest andSnapshot
ole in the Unrest
in Black Politics
of the ANC
to Organized Antigovernment Activity
From Blacks in Power
nc in car term Longer Term Outlook
for the United States
Violence ind protesioften cbaractcrired the South African political scene, but the current unrest, dating from aboutas been the longest and most widespread. The turmoil has claimed moreives (mostlyesulted in0 million worth of properly damage, and led to the detention of0 antujQvernment activists, according to government and research groupajJJI
More significant than these statistics, however, are what we view as the fundamental changes thai have occurred in Ihe black political dynamic during the patl iwoalf years. Numerous academic studies and polls have indicated tbat South African blacks today generally are more politicized, organized, and sophisticated in the tactics they employ in their aiicmpts to overthrow apartheid. Some of ihese changes wcie already under way before (he outbreak of the curreni unrest, while others are more direcilyresult of tbe continuing turmoil in the black communities Government attempts to reduce the level of violence have had some success, according to South African Government statistics, but Pretoria's efTorts to influence black political altitudes have been ineffective and in some wiiys have helped reinforce changes occurring on the black political
Attempt, tosometime* merelychanging black polttical dynamicrun into information roadblocks. Data on black political activities and organizations often arcor obscured. The black press and blackfor esamplc, typically overstate accomplishments and support for various groups. The South African Government alsoags crates theand plans of Macks in an effort to win domestic support and international sympathy for its security measures. More often, however, Pretoria use* iu control of ihe media and ils monopoly on the flow of information io hide many of ihe facts, hoping to
convince white South Africans that the government has full control of the situation, and to conceal the evidence of Mack grievances and protest from
We believe lhat. despite Ihese difficulties, irends in black politics arc discernible by observing theof black protest and government countermea-sures and by analyzing survey data and the studies of numerous South African research iBSlituiea. This paper, which builds on previously publishedwill describe and assess the significance of recent trends in blackbe impediments to organized black activiiy. from ihe government and wiihin the black movement, will be reviewedasis for evaluating the prospects for effective black protestetramined and strong white society. Finally, the paper will address the implications of the changing black political dynamic for the United Slates, including an assessment of the opportunities that growing black protest offers to the Soviet Union.
Two Years of Protest andSnapshot Striking at Authority
A review ofreporting shows
tha: the mostTiTibTcTcatiireof black politics during the past twoalf years of unrest has been the politically related violence in many of South Africa's black townships. The violence, in our judgment, was precipitated mainly by the implementation of ihe
government's new constitution granting limitedrights to Colored* and Indians but cicluding the black majority and.esser extent, by local economiche unresthe Vaal Triangle south of Johannesburg inuickly spread to the townsJiips of eastern Cape Province, reached the Johannesburg-Pretoria area bynd hnally struck western Cape Province. Although not all townships have been affectedand many were quiet for months before prntest activity erupted, few areas have avoided unrest com-pletely.|
, black protest also spread toareas and lo some small towns in the countryside where blacks staged general strikes or consumer boycotts The residents of homeland and rural areasolitical awareness that sometimes matched that of urbanevelopment wc attribute to the organizational and educational efforts of black polilicalor example, ihat blacks in land were organizing youth and civic groups similar lo trust in ihe uiban townships.ere killed during protests against ihe decision by KwaNdcbeleacceptindependence from Pretoria. Some homeland officials complained that urban students sent back to home land schools were organizing aniigovernment groups pj^pjj
The most publicized form of violence in the townships has been the attacks ontown councilors, and suspected government informants. The use of thegasoline-filled tire placed around the victim's neck and then setbecome the trademark for executions of such collaborators. According to governmentthere wereecklacinginde cannot document bow many of the killings were politically motivated In addition to the murders, militants destroyed the homes oflack policemen and government officials and subjected their families to assaults and other
Pretoria has attributed the upswing in townshipto the African National Congress (ANQ.on our reviewANC
actmtj. we believeTne^ilnce in the townships4 has beenwork of local miliums who are not under the direct control of an external group such as the ANC. However, government and academic data dooriesponding increase in insurgent violence during the past two years, moil of which Pretoria attributes lo thehe data suggest that the ANC has been scrambling lo catch up to the spontaneous, internally generated violence. According to govern-meniuerrilla incidentsthroughompared5 and only4 The South African Institute of Strategic Studies also has noted aincrease in the use ofifles over tbe past two years, as wellise in grenade attacks on police from sevenver ihe last twoalf years, la our megrrvent. many of these attacks have been the work of the ANC. but some were probably carried out by township militants with access to weapons bul probably no ties lo the ANC.
The Comnrnent'- Role in the Unreal
The government's reaction to the initial burst of black unrest in4 clearly provoked, in our view, the
quickening pace of black political acttvily.l
_Jand press reporting show thai, in iniensu *rts to suppress black political activity, the security forces have generated resentment by patrollingin armored vehicles, raiding homes, harassing citizens, and occupying schools Inorecurity personnel searched tens of thousands of houses in three townships south of Johannesburg Security forces also have frequently overreacted to black protest activity. The police in
parlicular have fired on peaceful gatherings intownships, including Wintcrveld, Mamelodi.and SoweiojjHgajkjj
The government apparently is convinced (hat its security measures, including the imposition of astate of emergency onnd near-total press blackout of reporting on blackhave reduced the overall level of violence. Reliable independent statistics on incidents of unrest arc now impossible to obtain given tbe stria governmenton in forma tion. but we believe that violence has subsided sinceeclining from its peak level of about six fatalities per day to fewer than two per day byy its own admission, however, the government has failed to eliminate attacks onand violence between black political groups. Moreover, opportunities for confrontations between blacks and security forces have grown with thepresence of police and troops in (he lownships.
TrwwK in Black Politics
Despite the government's receni success in muting antigovernmeni violence and protests, black political activity has changed fundamentally during theunrest. South African blacks are dramatically more politiaied. increasingly organized, andmore sophisticated Id out judgment, these still evolving trends in Mack politics arcermanent part of the South African scene, rendering as unlikely black acceptance of the government's limited reform plans and laying ihe groundwork for new and more destructive outbreaks of
Although black concern about basic socioeconomic needi hat long been evident, numerous research groups have-political dimension to black frustration andone lhat increasingly ascribes the source of Mack problems to the political suppression of blacks by the white minority government. For millions of blacks, the resentment and frustration growing out of security force excesses, detentions of their children, and even restrictions on burying their dead have
nurtured an ideology that is often vague and ill defined, bul is, nonetheless, distinctly aniigovernment and potentially antiwhite. Reporting from virtually all sources indicates tbat. for these politiciicd blacks, only the demise of white minority rule can end social and economic discrimination against blacks
Black protest activity during the current unrest, in our judgment, has often deliberately sought to fuel Ihe politicization of the black populations. Politicallyblacks have been forced to take sides when community groups organized rent, school, bus, and consumer boycotts. Although there arc still many "fenceommunity leaders often go from house to house socking support, and militant youth frequentlyforcing com pin nee with the boycotts. H
Fvcn tome business and homeland leaders, who in the past had been considered moderates primarilywith social and economic issues, are now advancing strong political demands. For example, individuals such as Sam Motsuenyane, presidentajor Mack business group, and Chid Galsha Bulhe* lezi, leader of the Zulus, have in the past year declared that they will not participate in Pretoria's power-sharing schemes unless Pretoria meetsdema ndl. such as releasing imprisoned ANC leader Nelson Mandela. Tbe tendency for most Mack leaders to become morewell as more radical in theirin pariesire to retain credibility in the face of pressure from township militants who reject reforms or negotiations on Pretoria's terms. In our judgment, however,ownits reliance onsecurity tactics and the refusal io accelerate the government's reformhavean even greater impetus.
Increasing awareness by Macks of the politicalof iheir plight bas coincided with theimposition of measured reforms, but we believe most blacks consider government moves io be loo little and too late. |
using the education issue
south africansigh value onand there is broad agreement among blacks that iheir education system is fundamentally flawed.
to various poll J| when, for example, an academic survey teamlacks what the government should do to improve their lives, the most popular response was "equalurpassing even "higherlacks generally believe, moreover, that education is the most important determinant of status andaccording to an academic study, and most parentsniversity education for their
the reality, however, is that black children tend to drop out of schoolapidafter the first year. an academic study concluded that forlack students who began schoolnlyurvived to finish secondary school4 and five of ihose failed their final exams. by contrast,ercent of whites finished secondary school for those same years. the current racial gap inexpenditure is very wide and is attributable partly to the preponderance of "lowly qualified"and poorlyteachers;ercent have university degrees and aboutercent have the equivalent of tenth-grade educations or lower. black schools also are understaffed; there werelack students per teacher in comparison withor whitesccording to government statistics. the government's promise of parity with while education6 appears extremely unlikely, in our view, based on the need to more than double the number of teachers and multiply the number who are university graduates
schoolsajor focal point for antiapartheid activity duringoweto riots, which beganrotest against government education policy for blacks. sporadic school boycotts that began0 multiplied4 as students protested the,
ence of the military in the townships, detentions of students and teachers, banning of studentand. more generally, the grossly inferior system of black education itself as the boycotts dragged into their third year in somethe government closed somebecame increasingly concernedeneration of students with already dim employment prospects
following the leadoweto parents' group inational education crisisfnecq was formed in5 ta try to end the boycotts by negotiating improvements with the government. pretoria's determination to removeactivity from the schools and to thwan the development of national antigovernmenthowever, led it6 to impose new security regulations for schooli and lighten restrictions on necc activity. by the end6 the government had detained most necc leaders. according to press repont. more0 students were participating in boycotts in trantvaal and ratteen cape province's.
i students abovenot in
school. the government closed overostlyschools in sotveto and eastern cape province in october for the remainder6 because of poor attendance Immmmmmmmmi
parent groups, the udf. and even the anc. have called for students lo return to school7 despite the continued presence of security forces and other objectionable conditions. black leaders have publicly voiced fears about the long-term consequences of the boycotts; many students have already lost two or more years of schooling. although most students appear to have returned to school ine believe that boycotts will continue to break out given the growing militancy of youth and the continuing inadequacy of the education
Distribution of Students by Grade Level
blacks reject Pretoria's conlinucd clTorl lotbe terms of their political participation. Blacks ranging from Buihcleri to leaders of tbe United Dcrnocraiic Front |UDF| insist publicly and insrilh L'S diplomats lhal they will not enter into negotiations with Pretoria unless it is willing to change the fundamental structure of apartheid. We concurecent report on black politics by tbe prestigious South African Institute of Race Relations, which concluded thai, unlike previous periods of unrest, black political demands now are centered onihan
Blacks arc skeptical of Pretoria's intentions andthai ihe government is trying to trick blacks inio accepting reforms that will further entrenchThese beliefs have been fueled by rising expecia-tiens o: upkl and genuine political changeurvey of black opinion,ercent believed that blacks would winignificant political voice" within ai teas!ears aaaaaajjj
Attitude Toward Caattaliim. Some pics* reports and academic studies of emerging black political attitudes have notedrowing antkapUalist sentiment is also part of the black potittciration process. Data frotn several public opinion surveys indicale lhat black workers arc generally antagonistic toward freethat most urban blacks arc deeply prejudiced against capitalism, and thai blacks generally identify capitalism with apartheid This sentiment is borne out in the patierns of violence in black townshipsusually target businesses in their attacks, as well as the despised black town councilors who arc often closely linked to township businessgaaj
We believe, however, lhat these survey data do not necessarilyermanent shift in blackMany black leaders argue that radical causes
Education, per Capita Expenditure by
black organizational chart is not clear-cut.Democratic Front is at the forefront ofiu
importance and effectiveness tests less with its nation-al structure than with itsocal affiliates. In our judgment, it is the hundreds of communityof which arc affiliated with theform the backbone of black organization. Further complicating the black organizational chart is the role that youth play. Although many young South African Mack militantsoften portrayed by theand without organization, black youth also lead and provide much of the membership of many mainstream community groups. Black labor unions are also an important contributor to black organizational activity. Finally, the African National Congress is attempting toole for itself with internal black groups, but we believe the ANC has only limited direcUnfluence over the activities of the Mack opposition I
attractedthebecause most are shut out of the free enterprise system. Because of the importance blacks attach to educationeans of improving their economic prospects, we believe that many, if not most, blacks probably would support free enterprise concepts if jobs or opportunities were available to them. Many black activists, in facl, work in formal and informal private enterprises such as small shops or inirade vjejjfjfjj
The pollticization of South African blacks has been accompaniedecond trend in the black politicalgrowth in organizational activiiy.much of this activity is relatively new, small in
Community Ornanimtioin. The mushrooming of antigovernment groups in townships of all sizesis the clearest evidence that blacks have become not only politicized but also more organized. Aof youth, civic, church, and special action groups have sprung up, most of which are small and have limited capabilities because they operate almostm their own communities. Nevertheless,
. pjjjjjjjjjjj^pj^pj^pj^pjj :hc groups indicate Ihat many of these communityhave considerable local support andstrengths that allow ihem to carry outif localized, protest campaigns.
In ihe more poliiieired townships,groups arc oficn able lo organize protect action quickly, even under the strict regulation* imposed by the Mate of emergency. Overercent of Sowclo's workersork boycott in6 thai was staged to protest the police killing ofesidents and was ihc most successful protest by lhat communityccording to an academic monitoring group Similarly, activists in Mamelodi township near Pretoria were able to convinceercent of its residents toork boycott in November to commemorate the anniversary of ihe killing oflacks by security forces Fven when the government intensified its crackdown ingroups were able to organize relatively successful iroiest activities in Sowet
A variety ofsketchy anddescribed Ihc organization of some black community groups into street and block committees that communicate and plan activities when larger meetings are banned and leaders are in hiding. Calledlan, after Nelson Mandela wbo devised it in, the system supposedly allows forduring limes of legalecentsludy describes the organization of Lingehlihle. an eastern Cape Province townshipnio seven zones, withctivists assigned to holdin each zone. In another eastern Cape Province township, officials were elected to represent each street in the residents' association, according lo press reports. Although the stale of emergency restrictions almosl certainly have hurt many of these local groups, wc believe that this form of grassroois organizing continues. |
Youth Groups. In our judgment, the drivingihe growing politicizalion of blacks hasH
th groups make up more tlvin haltncDF affiliates. Informalion on youthis difficult to obtain because of iheir secrecy, and ihc existence of such groups often is not evident until they become involvedublicized protest incident. During6 lent boycott in Soweto, for example,Btwo
large and specialized youth groups were active in the township: one composed of students and one of the working and! J
In addition to black youth who identify with the black political mainstream, the prcssl sources consistently rcpori thai militant "comrades" frec.ucr.tly patrol ibe townships,boycotts, engaging in random violence, andadults to participate in political activity. The influence of such militant youth appears to bePress reports often describe these youth leaders as extremely radical and bordering on the anarchic, but our assessment of their activities suggests that at leasi some radical youth leaders have establishedorganizations and have attempted to rein in their more recklessjjjjjj]
A common characteristic of black youth, both those who work with the UDF and thoie who arc more militant, is their impatience and desire for rapid change. Older black political activists consistently complain to US diplomats that the young are heedless of their advice and eager to push them aside. Black leaders worry that youth will become even more radical as long as Pretoria fails to addressblack
Labor. Black labor unions, which gained inhe right to organize on workplace-related issues, have been able ta operate more openly than many other antigovernment organizations despite their growing polilicization. The formation late last year of the Congress of South African Trade Unionsultiracial but predominantly black laborthat draws togethernions claiming toover half tbe unionized work force, has produced an organizationommitted membership and hierarchical leadership recognized by both Pretoria and most black workers. Fromnception, its leaders have indicated publicly and privately that they want to use the federation's potential power to achieve broader social and political gains for blacks. The group has taken an avowedly political stance oo many issues, such as abolition of the Group Areas Act and educational reform, and has worked with the UDF in supporting consumer boycotts and one-day strikes
We believe, however. COSATU is still trying to determine its exact role in black politics, and its leaders apparently realizeigh political profile would bring government reprisals. South Africa's industrial relations were thrown into disarray during the first weeks of the state of emergency inhen union activities were sharply curtailed and up labor leaders detained We believe that the experience brought home to COSATU leaders Ihe coat oftoo politically involved and has led them to concentrate for now on workplace'related activities. We expect, however, that COSATU and other unions wil! reengage on political issues when black protest
Sourer: US Bureau of ibr Ccnnii
violenceeans of achieving political changeerious offense under South African law. and therefore the outlawed ANC and thr Pan-Afncanisi Congress IPAQ are tke only black groups that endorse violence outright. We believe most af the intense township unrest has involvedtimesby youths withoutto any group School boycotts and the high rate of unemployment, in oar view, have produced thousands of Idle and alienated youlh who lash oui at ihe system. Criminal gangs long active tn most townships have undoubtedly been involved in many unrest Incidents. Looiing delivery inieks.cars, firebombing businesses, and allocking rivals and alleged collaborators are activities that often have itraddltd the line between political protest and wanton violence. |
The increase in grenade attacks and armed assaults in the townships during the last twoalf years indicates lhat weapons are more readily available to blackg. We believe that many of these weapons came from ANC caches lhal have been distributed id township militants The press reports, however, that blacks can sometimes purchase weapons on themarket Pretoria tistlf has contributed to the proliferation af guns by arming many of Uttown councilor' |
Although most blacks personally opposeubstantial proportion of ihe township population believes violence is. nevertheless, an accepted form of protest, accordingovernment-sponsored social research group.ecent poll, moreover, almost one-fifth af the blacks surveyed thought killing black officials wasood thing" andercent of block respondents believed that, while they may notsupport violence, most other blacks do In another survey of black opinion.ercent thought Soulh Africa's problems would nol be lolved peace-
Black altitudes toward killing whites are morelo gauge. Public opinion surveys and academic studies have not addressed the issue, and most blacks have not publicly advocated targeting whiles.ANC announcements have warned of more
white casualties from attacks on civilian targets In
white urban areas, guerrilla spokesmen have nol specifically advocated allocking whites fragmentary evidence from the p,
with black aclMstt point to growing anti^-hiie menl, but mosl black leaders probably sllll look to
whiles as poieniial allies against ihe government.
Even so. government statistics dolow but perceptible increase in white casualties dunng the last two years and we expect this trend to continue.
We balleve. however,ramatic and bloody
racial incident could suddenly break ihe apparent psychological barrier blocking black attacks on
whiles and the rate of white casualties could jump
of ihe ANC. The ANC hasj
enccwflrnnicTriaT&lackut we believe lhal Pretoria's charge that tbe ANC it directing and controlling black politicaliheoverrated Although ihe ANC bat long attempted ioolitical underground in Soulh Africa, it apparently has had only limited success. VL^mihe press report that theTipinini!nt*^ippeW to lack serious affiliation with any broader group. Although there is considerable sympathy for ANC goals in such major antiaparthcid
organizations as the UDF and COSATU. and the ANC almost certainly bas influence over somemembers of these groups, wc do not believe the ANC controls these organizations. The UDF and COSATU. for example, have ofien disagreed with ihe ANC on issues such us school boycotts andwith local authorities. Nevertheless, the ANC has capitalized on the internal unrcsi to enhance its
international posiiion, lo reinvigorate Us Image inside Soulh Africa, and probably lo recruit some new members from the townsr
Despite its limited influence on black politicalthe ANC continues to be the most popular black political organization in South Africa, according to survey data. Black leaders across Ihe politicalhave called fot the release of jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela, and blacks have prominentlyANC banners at funerals and political rallies. We believe, however, that, although the widespread acclamation of Nelson Mandela--who haslack nationalt genuine, much of the support for the ANC itself derives largely from its symbolic importance as (be oldest black nationalist movement Public demonstrations of support aho are acts of defianceovernment that not only bas banned the organization and its symbols, but also consistently accuses the ANC ofajor threat to tbe stability of white rule J
Increasingly politicized and organizationally more complex. South Africa's blacks arc now employing mote sophisticated tactics, principally the increased use of economic weapons and (he effort by blacks to destroy and replace local governmeni apailheidPretoria's sweeping nationwide crackdown of6 probably reflected ils concerns mirroredoin rcpori by the South African Institute of Race Relations and an urban research group, that, bylack groups employing these tactics were beginning toreater long-term threat towhite control than did random viokocc- We believe, moreover, that Pretoria still considers these tactics as ominous Ireads lhat must be halted
VtiMg tcomomic Lertrmtrduring the past twoalf years have increasingly attempted to press for change by applying their economic power, whether it be in the form of politically motivated strikes, consumer boycotts, or rent boycotts. The Southeconomy is heavily dependent on blacks who constitute nearlyercent of the economicallylabor force, and, according to governmentaccount fot aboutcrcenl of consumer spending WWW
Black unions have been somewhat caulious about exercising this potential leverage, in part because leader* want io produce tangible, work-relatedgains lo keep and attract members, andPretoria has responded to past political activism by cracking down hard and ere banning maior unions. Nevertheless, despiteat the most strike-prone year in South African history and this trend continuedccording lo government statistics The tendency to use *ork actions for political, at well as economic, goals also inlcnsihed6 when COSATU and the UDF joined forces to organize two nationwide work boycotts Following the imposition of the state of emergency, more milium unions staged numerous sit-down strikes to protest detentions of their leaders. Local one-day general strikes also were staged during the year to protest detentions of communiiy leaders in eastern Cape Province andark (he deaths of Soweio residentslasholice. |
Utilizing black buying power as leverage bywhite-owned businessesopular local lactic. Blacks account for as much as half the consumer spending in some urban areas, accordingusiness research group, and press reports indicate that the boycoiu have hurl white business in severalther boycotts, however, lost popular support and eventually collapsed when organizers proved unable lo control milium youth, wbo "enforced" ihc boycotts by physically attacking violators. Even Ihc most successful consumer boycotts have failed to achieve their goals because Vocal white businesses and goverrsments cannot deliver onsucb as ending the sUle of emergency,iroops from the townships, and freeing Nelson Mandela Nevertheless, the boycotts have forced local white groups to recognize the legitimacy of black grievances. In Port Elizabeth, for example, one of the longest and most effective boycotts was suspended last year after ihe while chamber of commerce lobbied the government for ihe release ofetained black leaders. |
A third form of economic leverage, rent boycotts, began4 and have become more frequent since the state of emergency was declared inyent boycotts had spread to someow nships, accordingommunity research group-Rents provide most of the revenue for the town councils,ecent academic study concludes that rent boycotts have been responsible for the collapse of over Hi local governmentent and utilities Ls cosTirigTocarauihorities0 million per year as ofhe success of the boycotts reflect inejection of the government-imposed system, but. In organizing rent boycotts, activism have also found an issue lhat addresses the economic interests of township residents hit by rising unemployment and inflation H
CsWrVagiag Ammnheii /suriiarrisuu While renlhave tried to undermine local aparificidby denying them operating funds, black activists have also sought to challenge Ihc governmentin more directattacking localrepresentatives and by creating their own quasi-governmental structures. The assault on the town council system has persisted despite the currentcrackdown.ocal black governments still exist on paper, according ioinformalion. bul many of these are literally under siege and cannot carry on dailyecent academic study of eastern Capewhere the battle against township government has been mostthat well over half of theommunity councils have resigned and that there are vacancies inercent ofownship wards. In Duncan Village, the entire council has been moved out of the townshipotel in the nearby white city of Bast London, where they awaitpecially guarded
Wc believe ihe lactic that most concernedmay have driven the massive securityin6 was the effort by Wackreplace township governments wiihcivic
vices thai were previously the responsibility ofentiiies. Community groups in some lownships enhanced their support by delivering tangible benefits such as better refuse collection or school repairs. I
affiliates eastern Cape Province have established community schools in church halls. In some cases, ihese civic groups even have negotiated for services wiih local while authorities. I
iy6 as many as nail oi all urban btacKswcre living In communities where these "alternative structures"some influence. For example;
Tbe white Oudishoorn city council basearby Mack township sinceypassing the black town council and consulting directly with township community leaders onand other issues, according to press reports.
In Pot! Alfred, community groups have collected "taxes" from residents and established day-care and other
Parts of the Crossroads squatter area near Cape Town were completely under ihe control of militant community organizations earlier this year. Police would enter the set Dement* only in large numbers,he control by militantsajor reason why the government actively helped right wing vigilantes to raze the
Then Law and Order Minister Lc Grange admiltedusiness group in6 lhat Pretoria had lost several areas tofiliated civic associations, but thai the government would ensure thai the UDF would not rule any pan of Soulh Africa The stale of emergency was designed in pan to neutralize ihe civic associations, and we believe that security forces have seriously weakened the "alternative structures" in many areas. On the basis ofeporting, however, we believe thairoups, despite the detention of thousands of activists, still challenge government authorities for control of some township*.gfffJJBfJ
Impediment* to Organized Aniigoicrnment Activity
Despite increasing polilicizalion among blacks, their growing organizational capabilities, and their more sophisticated tactics, black resistance currently has clear limits. We believe lhat. while blacks have established the capacity to stymie Pretoria's plans for their political future, such as the township govern-menuroposed National Statutory Council that would allow blacks to consult with Pretoria on powcrsbaring, they have not yet been able to translate their protests into positive gains that move them closer to sharing political power with whites at the national level. Pretoria's determination to limit black protest has prevented the emergence of effective national black leaders. Sharp, enduring inlrablack divisions have presented formidable obstacles to sustained, cohesive, and effective campaigns by antigovernment organizations. These factors, moreover, have largely shaped the dimensions, intensity, nature, liming, and circumstances of black protest politics.
The government has at its disposal substantialand legal resources to suppress unrest and limit antigovernment activity. Since the security crackdown began inhe government has detained thousands of activists, banned the meetings andof dozens of antigovernment groups, stationed securily forces in schools to prohibit political activity, cut off the flow of foreign funds to the UDF, and placed severe restrictions on unrest-related inft^mationaajJJJJJJJJJJ
Government repressive actions have been particularly effective in preventing the emergence of effective national black leaders By detaining, arresting, and limiitng ihc public exposure of antigenrernrnentPretoria has prevented most of them frommore than local bases of support. Duringartial slate of emergency, for example, tbe government detainedf theembers of tbe UDF national executive and SO of itsegional executives. Someercent of the more0 detainees during ihe current stale of emergency have been UDF leaders and activists mostly community
lo UDF Copresident Archie Gumede. while many in the top leadership have gone into hiding. J
The government's success is reflected by results of numerous surveys of black opinion. Whileoercent of blacks surveyed consistently list Nelson Mandela as the most important black leader, the rest of the responses are spread among five or six others, usually including Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Zulu Chief Butbelezi, but with none normallyoverercent of the vote. Other leadeisupposed national base, such as Ihe UDF copresi-dents, the colored leader Allan Boesak, or the black consciousness Azanian People's Organization (AZAPO) president, arc rarely mentioned in such surveys.
Pretoria hasassive security apparatus geared at least as much to internal threats as to external ones. We estimate thaten and women participate at least part-lime in some aspect of South African internal security or defense. However, the government believes thatman police force is grossly inadequate to contain unrest and reduce crime in urban areas and plans lo increase ibe force0 withinears.Pretoria is relying on the South Africanwhich hasey role in tbe present security crackdown.0 troops were deployedotal ofownships, according to the South African Minister of Defense, and we believe that troop presence in the townships during the state of emergency has probably exceeded that number.orst case situation. Ptetoria would have at iu disposal as manyroops if all reservists were mobilized. However, we believethat many whiles from Ihc active labor force would have devastating effects on the economy.
Pretoria designed and located black townships to facilitate control. Townships and white areas arc separated to prevent unrest from spilling over and threatening whites By using roadblocks, security forces can quickly sealownship during periods of unrest The pattern of roads and houses inside townships also was designed lo meet securityOne academic researcher reports thatplans for black townships near Durban in thepecified that roads be wide enoughouth African armored personnel carrier tourn, andpecific distance between houses to avoid impeding police weapons fire and to make it more difficult for fugitives to evade autnoritxi ^
There arc, however, potential limits on the capacity of security forces to control townships from the inside, in our view. The increase in the urban blackto grow by overercent in the nextears, accordingovernment-funded researchcreating overcrowded townshipthat arc wreaking havoc with security designs. The shortage of black housing is forcing blacks to build squatter shacks in yards of township houses and
Tribal Dynamici Under Apartheid
Pretoria hai designatedercent of South African territory foeinguistically based black homelandsotal of aboutillion blacks reside The homelands are widely scattered throughout South Africa /see thehich helps reinforce the culture al and linguistic differences among tribal groups
Some tnbal groups long have been hostile toward each other. For example, the Zulu and the Xhosa have been at odds since. when some Xhosa warriors aided the British in battles against the Zulu, and the aggressive expansion of the Zulu empire forced the Xhosa to flee from their traditional area. The historical rivalry increases the volatility of black townships that have large Xhosa and ZuluSubtribal disputes also are common in some
The most serious Involve Zulu clans that have feuded forentury. Although Inkatha leader Gatsha Buthelezi repeatedly has deplored theeven clans headed by Inkatha members have been known to battle each other, according to the US Embassy^
As part of aniiapariheid black politics, many blacks are beginning to refect the concept afhich they see as part of Pretoria's strategy to keep blacks weak and divided Survey data fromor example, indicate thai educated urban blacks lend to Identify themselves as South African rather than as membersistinct tribal group.tudy of educated, high-income blacks in the northern Sotho homeland of Lehowaimilar pattern, followup questions revealed deep-seated fears concerning the possibilitylack government dominated by the more numerous Zulu or Xhost
on vacant land,enser settlement pattern. Moreillionaboutercent of the blackthe Durban area live in squatter shacks, accordingespected urbanorganization. The continuing urbanizationsuggests that, over the long term, the security forces will find it more difficult to operate in some townships"
Divisions among blacks along ideological, ethnic, and generational lines not only have complicated efforts at political organization but also frequently have caused violent confrontations. Government statistics indicate that by6 inlrablack conflict had surpassed security force action as the cause of most unrest-related deaths among blacks. |
Some of the bloodiest intra black clashes havebetween ethnic groups with longstandinggrievances. Although such clashes generally are unrelated to antigovernment activity, blacks daim that apartheid aggravates tribal tensions that have contributed to the fighting. For example, outbreak of fighting between the Zulus and the Pondoshich claimed overives, beganispute over Pondo settlement rightsquatter area reserved by the government for Zulus. Disputes commonly occur between township residents andof differing tribes living under apartheidin single-sex hostels. In our judgment, however, while some tribally based conflicts can be traced to the unique conditions apartheid creates, many of these disputes, particularly in the rural areas, are much like the tribally inspired conflicts in black-ruled countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.gjgffjjjffjj
Intcrgcncrational conflict, on the other hand, has been more directly associated with antigovernment activity. Tensions often surface within black communities as militant youths accuse their elders of passivelyapartheid, or force adult compliance with political actions such as boycotts. Adult resentment of youths making decisions for the community sometimes has led to open fighting. H
between supporters of Inkatha, the Zulu politicalgroup, on one side, and supporters ofand Azanian People's Organization (AZAPO)Transvaal and eastern Cape Provinces, onthe
battles over turf andlack clergyman, who has negotiated several UDF-AZAPO truces in Sowcto, believes that most attacks have beenby personal vendettas. J
Pretoria long has used divide-and-iulc tactics against its black majority and undoubtedly believes that limited intrablack violence works to its advantage. The government thus has done Utile to stop such factional fighting, in our judgment. Some township residents charge that police rarely seek out killers of apartheid opponents and that Pretoria has even hired gangsters to attack black activists. J
Resistance From Blacks in Potter. Militant attacks on blacks working within theasofficials and suspectedovct the past two years forced many such persons to flee their townships, bul beginning in the second half5 black government officials began to fight back. They have organized vigilante groups to stageon the militants and lo neutralizecommunity organizations. Vigilante leaders have exploited intcrgcncrational tensions and relied heavily on the use ofdwellers and illegal migrants. fM
Although there is evidence of governmentor support for some of the vigilante groups, we believe that many of these squads were formed in response to specific local conditions, with each group having its own peculiar history and characteristics. Nevertheless, the vigilantes, in our view, have in many cases been more successful than the security forces in subduing popular groups. We believe the vigilantes have enjoyed this success because Ihey have specific targets, know ihc community belter than the police, and can operate with fewer conslrainisH
also has flared with increased frequency between antiapartheid political groups. These clashes have occurred most frequently
Prospects Tie Near Term
During ihc next year (he momentum of black political organizations will almost certainly continue to be checked by Pretoria's willingness to flex its security muscles io suppress protest. Government counicrmea-sures that prohibit gatherings, detain thousands of black leaders, and divert the energy of most others by
forcing them to concentrate on avoiding policeare likely lo resull in less visible turmoil than was evident during theonths preceding the national state of emergency.
Nevertheless, violence will persist, as il has since Ihe imposition of ihe slate of emergency inilitants will continue lo attack blacks deemed to be
colUborators. School boycotts probably will continue in many areas as students protest the presence of security forces in the schools, the detention of student leaders, and the general conditions and content of black education. Those taking part in boycotts and the unemployed township youth are likely lo continue to engage in random violence. |
We believe the Soulh African Government recognizes that, in addition to curtailing violence, it must also attempt to reverse unfavorable trends in the black community. The state of emergency, in our judgment, has onlyacade of calm behind which black grievances continue to fester and grow. Nevertheless, ihe government probably still calculates thatblacks will step forward and support recentif the security forces promote stability by breaking the militant stranglehold in the townships. To this end. we expect Pretoria covertly to create, support, and fund various cooperative, "moderate" black organizations. At the same time, thewill try to prevent the legitimization orbased groups by discouraging local whiteand business leaders from dealing with them.
Although most blacks probably favor greater order in the townships and are fearful about Ihe uncertainties and ultimate consequences of violent black protest, they will not, in our judgment, move in great numbers to accept the government's reform proposals or"moderate" black organizations. Regardless of the doubts that ihey may entertain about their ability to force change in the near term, most blacks, in our view, harbor no illusions concerning the limited aims of Pretoria's reform strategy. We believe this distrust of government intentions will persist, and probably Intensify, as ihc politicizalion of Ihe black community.
Many community organizations will be woundedsomethe sustained security crackdown, but many black activists will continue to operate and organize antiapartheid forces in Ihe townships. Black community leaders have told the US Embassy that individuals usually emerge quickly to take the place of murdered or detained activists.
r. thai many adult leaders who have noi been detained arc lying low, in the process leaving the field to less cautious, more militant
Antigovemment tactics will focus on issues ofand material concern to blacks: living costs and education. Rent boycotts probably will be asuccessful device for stimulating polilicalbecause they combine the economic interests of township residents with antigovernment activism. These eflbrts will be largely under the direction of local organizations. At some point wc expcci Pretoria to attempt to break selected boycotts by evicting perhaps thousands from housing for which there are long waiting lists. Violence is almost certain tosuch efforts, pj
longer Term Outlook
In our view. Soulh Africatate of endemic violence over the next several years that will be fueled bylack labor force far outpacing the job-creation potentiallow-growth economy, white intransigence and partiality for brute force, and black anger and frustration. Although the intensity of this violence will Ructualc, and Ihc pattern will alternate between intrablack political fighting, mass security force actions in the townships, and occasional black attacks against whites, we believe blacks and whites both will be increasingly affected. Ominous demographic trends indicate that the young black population will continue to grow faster ihanopportunities, and thus be supportive of radical political causes. Many will join armed townshipassociated with theare likely to increase atlacks on civilian targets, resulting in more white casualt
Pretoria will reactlackparticularly to attacks onemploying its securityio whatever extent necessary to contain the violence. Although we believe that the government is willing to use extreme measures, such as massive detention camps or widespread use of lethal force. Pretoria probably will not resort lo such means unless'specifically white
How Blacks View Polilical Negotiations
has tried to devise various structures for black-white negotiations.esult of theefforts lo prevent the emergence of cohesive black political organizationsational Mack leadership, however, there is no single blackwith the probable exception af tailed ANC leader Nelsonenough stature andtoandate to negotiate for blacks. Even Chief Buthelezi has been reluctant to agree to formal talks with Pretoria lest he be seen as too close to the white regime and. therefore, irrelevant to black poli-f'tfJfffffjM
Most antiapartheid groups believe that blackswill attain political rights through negotiations because blacks appear unable to displace whites by force. Almost all black groups, however, haveconditions that Pretoria must meet before negotiations can occur.he release of Nelson Mandelaommon precondition for groups across the political spectrum In addition, the VDF and ihe ANC at times have specified thai Pretoria musi agree beforehand thai negotiations take place for "the transfer af powerthat means "unconditional surrender"to whites. At other times, however, the ANC has affirmed Its willingness to discuss merely "an extension of democracy" with Pretoria
We believe the ANC and the VDF probably would be willing to negotiate with the government if they were convinced thai Pretoria really intended lo relinquish substantial power. In our ludtrneni. however, no credible black organisation would agree to such discussions while recognised leaders are In fail and tht ANC is barred from participating. We believe that the minimum black preconditions, therefore, are the unbanning of the ANC and the release of polilical
Meanwhile. ho*rver. considerable negotiatingbetween blacks and the government at theCommunityof whichditcussed Improvement inand relayed the desires af township residentswhite officials, and have frequentlywith police on such issues asThe
Natal Province, where blacks and whites net6 toormula for joint governance of the province However, Pretoria is almost certain to veto such prop|
substantialevelopment that we believe is possible but not probable during the next three to four years. Once the government decide* that such steps are necessary, however, wc doubt that international or domestic pressure from black and white moderates will have any impact on iu decision KJ
We believe that Mack aniutovernment altitudes will harden and the moderate base will shrink furtheresult of thend probablysecurity crackdown. The growing poiiticization of blacks, therefore, is almost certainly irreversible, in our view. More blacks will enter the fray in reaction to their living conditions, apartheid strictures, and
ajor reversal in the thinking of either black or white leaders, therefore, negotiations will become less likely. Although it is possible thatdenialorum for black political activities will force black activisu to work within the governments designs, we believe thai such moderation is becoming increasingly unlikely. Judging from past patterns. Pretoria's actions ihusits repressiveor iu attempu to sellonly tended to widen the gulf between the government and the increasing numbers of angry* and frustrated blacks
Implications (or tbe United Slates
As the violent stalemate between blacks and whiles keeps apartheid in the forefront of internationaland because of Moscow's limited influence on internal developments. South African blacks willto seek Western assistance and look especially to the United Stales, in our judgment.eview of the black South African growing anti-American sentiment. |
^Jnany black ihii ihc United States is capable both of helping blacks and of coercing the white regime to share power. Blacks increasingly will petition the United States to fund social welfare and human rightsparticularly in education and legal assistance. Moderate blacks also frequently have pointed to the poorly developed black private sector as an area of opportunity for US assistance. Even under the best of Circumstances, however, the United States probably can expect to be rebuffed by antiapartbeid forces that have an unrealistic assessment of the West's ability to influence Pretoria and are impressed by the tangible Soviet support to the ANC
Growing racial turmoil in South Africa will continue to offer the Soviet Union opportunities to discredit the West, both with South African blacks andaudiences. Moscow, in our view,engthy process of change. Tbe Soviets probably calculate that the ANC will be the principal vehicle for change in South Africa and view ihe banned Soulh African Communist Party as an important means of influence within the ANC, along with ANC dependence on the Soviet Union for military support. Moscow bas treated the ANC as its "natural ally" in ihe region deserving of financial, political, andsupport. In the long term, the Soviets clearly favor the rise to powerro-Soviet blackbut for the present appear primarily concerned with exploiting politically, especially with Third World countries, the dilemma that Ihe South African problems pose for the Wcst.fji
South African Government almost certainly will not be of any help in US efforts to establish good relations wiih the black community. Wc do not expect Pretoria lo become any more receptive to Western persuasions any time soon, nor do wc anticipate any dramatic acceleration of its reform program. The government is more likely to thwart US attempts to help blacks by. for example, resiricting black groups from receiving foreign funds or denying visas to US officials involved ingni:mjHOriginal document.