WORLD

Marching to Pretoria

Elections will change the official face of government

ANDREW BILSKI May 2 1994
WORLD

Marching to Pretoria

Elections will change the official face of government

ANDREW BILSKI May 2 1994

Marching to Pretoria

WORLD

SOUTH AFRICA

Elections will change the official face of government

ANDREW BILSKI

CHRIS ERASMUS

At one minute to midnight on April 26, South Africa’s national anthem, Die Stem (The Voice), will ring out from the capitals of the country’s nine regions as the apartheid-tainted tricolor flag is lowered for the last time. Two minutes later, a new six-color geometric flag will be raised to the strains of Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika (God Bless Africa), the country’s unofficial black anthem. It will be a symbolic beginning to South Africa’s first all-race elections, which will produce a new Government of National Unity (GNU) in which all pañíes with significant national and regional suppoñ will have a voice for the next five years.

apartheid. He played a prominent role in the ANC-aligned Mass Democratic Movement, which led huge anti-apartheid demonstrations. And by the time the Pretoria government unbanned the ANC in 1990 and allowed its exiled leaders to return, he was ready for national leadership, becoming the party’s secretary general in July, 1992.

Thabo Mbeki: The son

of veteran ANC leader Govan Mbeki, he is Mandela’s other heir apparent. Active in politics from early life, Mbeki, 51, left South Africa in 1962. He rose steadily through the % ranks of the ANC’s exiled g leadership and, in 1989, i took over its department I of international affairs. b As a leading member of the ANC’s negotiating team, Mbeki helped forge the interim constitution and the political deal that led to this week’s elections.

Should Ramaphosa become a deputy president, Mbeki is first in line for the foreign minister post. Otherwise, analysts say Mandela might call on veteran Foreign Minister Roelof (Pik) Botha to retain his cabinet post.

Should the pollsters’ predictions prove correct, the new government will be dominated by the African National Congress (ANC), whose leader, Nelson Mandela, 75, will become the country’s first black president. F. W. (Frederik) de Klerk, 58, the National Pañy leader who dismantled apañheid and freed Mandela, will likely be named a deputy president. And prospects for a smooth transition of power increased substantially last week when Zulu Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who had threatened to launch a civil war, reversed his position and agreed to take parí in the elections. The 65-year-old Buthelezi is now poised to

assume a cabinet position in the new government. Among others who are likely to shape South Africa’s future:

Cyril Ramaphosa: At 41, he is one of the ANC’s “young lions” who has risen rapidly through the ranks to become an heir apparent to Mandela. Along with de Klerk, he is likely to become a deputy president. A policeman’s son, Ramaphosa was detained in 1974 for his part in organizing a rally in support of Marxist rebels in Mozambique. After 11 months in detention, he completed his legal studies at the University of South Africa, only to be arrested again at the outbreak of the Soweto students’ uprising in June, 1976. He became involved in the trade union movement in 1981 as legal adviser to the Council of Unions of South Africa. In 1982, he became the first general secretary of the powerful National Union of Mineworkers. That position provided him with a power base from which to wage a resistance campaign against apartheid and its effects on migrant and other mine workers.

Ramaphosa grew increasingly popular and, by the mid-1980s, was one of the most powerful black voices speaking out against

Joe Slovo: A Uithuanian Jew who immigrated with his parents to South Africa in 1935, Slovo represents many conservative whites’ worst nightmare. As the longtime chief of staff of the ANC’s military wing, Spear of the Nation, he planned and ordered terrorist attacks against the apartheid state from exile in Mozambique. And as general secretary of the South African Communist Party, he called for the nationalization of industries and banks and the redistribution of land. Slovo, 67, whose wife, Ruth, was killed by a mysterious parcel bomb in 1982, holds a revered place in the ANC pantheon. He is likely to get a prominent cabinet post in the GNU.

Albertina Sisulu: A 75-year-old grandmother, she is the éminence grise of South African women activists, who constitute onethird of the ANC’s candidates at both national and regional levels. The list includes Stella Sigcau, Baleka Kgositsile, Ruth Mompati, Frene Ginwala and Naledi Pandor, women who are expected to hold ministerial or deputy ministerial posts in the GNU.

Sisulu became a political activist in the 1940s under the influence of her husband-tobe, Walter Sisulu, who was then a leader in the ANC Youth League. Separated from her husband during his repeated jail terms between 1953 and 1964, she managed to

raise five children despite constant harassment under the apartheid system. Because of her political activities, Sisulu was put under effective house arrest from 1964 to 1982. In 1989, she was part of a delegation of anti-apartheid activists that met with U.S. President George Bush. The following year, in the wake of Mandela’s release and the unbanning of the ANC, she helped re-establish the long-dormant ANC Women’s League (ANCWL), which has since emerged as one of the parent organization’s most powerful constituents.

Gertrude Shope: After an early career as a teacher and social worker, Shope joined the ANC in 1954 and became an officer in the Federation of South African Women, a position she held until she followed her husband, activist Mark Shope, into exile in 1966. In 1981, she was elected to the ANC’s national executive and was appointed head of the organization’s women’s section. Now 68, she has worked alongside Sisulu to resurrect the ANCWL and is seen as another symbol of the struggle of black women against repression and racism.

Tokyo Sexwale: A former ANC guerrilla commander and close friend of slain black liberation hero Chris Hani, Sexwale rose rapidly to prominence after Hani’s assassination in April, 1993. Among the ANC’s most popular and eloquent “young lions,” Sexwale, who is in his mid-30s, looks set to become a major leadership figure as some of the old guard see out the first five years of post-apartheid rule with the GNU before going into retirement. Sexwale is a candidate for prime minister of the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging region, which encompasses Johannesburg, where he is expected to trounce his main opponent, National Parly candidate Olaus Van Zyl.

Hernus Kriel: Bucking the reformist trend, the current minister of law and order in de Klerk’s Nationalist government is likely to win the premiership of Western Cape region, making it the singular political redoubt for white power in an otherwise dramatically altered South Africa. An unapologetic racist, who for the past three years has controlled the controversial national police, Kriel, 52, nevertheless has the support of the region’s predominantly mixed-race voters, who either believe the National Party’s avowals of reform or fear continued discrimination under black rule. His main rival is ANC mixed-race candidate Allan Boesak, 48. But the former cleric has an image problem: party workers complain of his arrogance on the campaign hustings, and he still suffers from his exposure four years ago as an adulterer, a disgrace that led to his resignation as head of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church.

ANDREW BILSKI with CHRIS ERASMUS in Cape Town