By Norm Dixon
LONDON — "The South African government is responsible for the violence because it does not want to stop it ... De Klerk is lying when he says he knows nothing about it. Either his government is directly concerned or they are encouraging instability to keep the ANC out of power", Walter Sisulu, deputy president of the African National Congress, told opponents of apartheid.
Speaking on June 26 during his first official visit to Britain since his release from jail more than two years ago, the veteran leader called on existing sanctions against the de Klerk regime to be strengthened in the aftermath of the Boipatong massacre. He demanded that those sanctions already lifted by the international community without ANC endorsement be reimposed and supported Archbishop Desmond Tutu's call for South Africa to be excluded from the Olympic games.
Sisulu dismissed the claim by the apartheid regime that the ANC's campaign of mass action was responsible for the slaughter at Boipatong. That amounted to a threat of further state-directed attacks if mass action by the ANC continued.
Sisulu assured the June 26 demonstration near Trafalgar Square that mass action would be stepped up. "Mass action is the democratic right of the people ... They have no vote and must resort to mass action."
He reminded his audience that de Klerk had finally agreed to negotiations "not because of a change of heart, but because of pressure by the [anti-apartheid] forces at home and internationally". That pressure must be now reapplied to end the violence and force de Klerk to give up his dream of continued white supremacy in South Africa.
Sisulu said world opinion had been carried away by de Klerk's promise to end apartheid and failed to realise the regime was "reluctant to relinquish power". He said he would be asking the United Nations Security Council to examine the situation in South Africa.
Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, president of the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, said the leaders of the European Community bore a large measure of the responsibility for the violence by lifting economic sanctions prematurely: "You put profit and economic self-interest before freedom and democracy. History will now judge you like Pontius Pilate if you try to wash your hands of this crisis."
Walter Sisulu was also in Britain to join celebrations of the ANC's 80th birthday. He was guest of honour at gala concert in Brixton on June 28. Several thousands people, predominantly black, enjoyed performances from Linton Kwesi Johnson, Cookie Crew, U Roy, British jazz star Courtney Pine and Tracy Chapman.
Chapman interrupted her European tour to pay homage to the ANC. When she sang "Talkin' about a Revolution", the whole audience joined in. It was a moving testament to the sense of empowerment that the struggle of the ANC for freedom inspires in the oppressed from Boipatong to Brixton.