What UDF group will tell Bush: Increase the pressure

A member of the five-person delegation, UDF Treasurer Azhar Cachalia, said yesterday they will tell Bush It is their view that the South African government reacts only to maximum pressure. ‘We will be asking his administration to focus on three kinds of financial pressure: no rescheduling of debts, no new loans and the denial of trade credit,” he said. The delegation, which is led by UDF President Albertina Sisulu, will also focus on human rights contraventions in South Africa - describing “all the formal and informal repression that’s taking place. “

Our emphasis will be on asking the Bush administration to use its influence to assist in creating a cli¬ mate in South Africa that is conducive to free political activity,” he said.
The delegation - which also includes Curnick Ndlovu, Titus Mofolo and Sister Bernard Ncube - will visit the White House this morning. They met Assistant Secretary of State Herman Cohen on Wednesday and were due to meet late yesterday with Secretary of State James Baker. Speaking from Washington, Cachalia said the delegation would tell Bush they believed Pretoria was involved in a sophisticated diplomatic offensive to get the world to believe things have changed - or are about to change - in South Africa.

“Our view is that, in terms of our own experiences, we’re not optimistic. We say that before (President-elect) FW de Klerk sneaks into backdoors all over the world, he must speak to the people of South Africa.” On the meeting with Cohen, who is due to visit South Africa next week, Cachalia said he showed an important grasp of the issues in South Africa. “It is clear the agenda of the US government is to see how they can assist the negotiating process,” he said. “The one issue everyone is in concord about it negotiations. We are telling them that we don’t believe the South African government has shown any intention of negotiating with representative organisations, now or in the future. “We are saying that the US government must assist by pressurising the South African government to allow for the creation of a climate that is conducive to normal political activity, which would be a pre-condition for negotiations.” 

After the meeting with the UDF delegation, the assistant secretary of state said he was pleased to hear what the UDF said about negotiations. ‘‘The UDF is thinking about how to develop negotiated positions for the inevitable time where there will be a bargaining process for a new constitution in South Africa “I was very heartened to hear Mrs Sisulu and her associates say they’re making plans to consult with their own members and their own friends on their vision for a new South Africa,” he said

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail.

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